The experience your customers have during any visit – their first or fiftieth – determines the true strength of your relationship.
Sadly, for all of us in business, one bad experience can outweigh all of the goodwill created by all prior visits. Consumers are fickle and they are more likely to forget about your business than they are to forgive you and your team for a less-than-stellar experience.
Social media sources also mean that a complaint that goes public can damage your reputation with potential customers in a manner that you will never know because these people will never call you or come in. It all means that we have to operate at our best, all of the time. The entire customer experience needs to be excellent and outstanding all of the time.
What do you do? Try to “plus” every aspect of the client’s experience. Look at it from the customers perspective. Begin with the phone, then the walk in, then the shopping and buying experience, then the checkout experience and then the follow up experience that people have when they do business with your company. No matter how good, fast, or efficient your process is, it can always be better. “Plus” it!
This is where you think completely how the customer would think. Consider space, signage, traffic patterns, price tags, discounts, customer facing signage and information, and every aspect of your layout and process. Once the physical attributes like cleanliness, organization, etc., are up to the highest possible level, consider your staff. This is where the breakdown in the customer experience usually happens. Don’t be defensive, customer service is a huge deal. You can “plus” this through the setting of policies and procedures that need to be published and explained to all customer facing employees. BUT, and it’s a big BUT, the key to an excellent customer experience is standards and training. The dress code could be “plussed,” and the words said when answering the phone can be improved. When a customer enters your place of business, what is the greeting policy? All of this can be plussed. Your author guarantees it.
Remember that the little things matter.
Welcome signs, clean windows, vacuumed floors, answering the phone in three rings or less, flowers in the ladies room, product descriptions and comparisons beside each item on the shelf, a well dressed staff, no lines, no waiting at checkout, signage that shows where things are located, a hidden employee smoking area and other such things all build to a better customer experience and can be a big deal.
Is every customer facing employee trained with product knowledge, and knowledge of the menu, as well as being able to answer questions without having to go get someone else? Consider the value in all of this as it pertains to your own experiences outside of your business. Chances are, you are a tough customer. Would your own team make you happy?
So, what is your business plus?
Once you make an effort to improve all aspects of your customer experience, you will be able to set yourself above the competition, or if you already were above the competition, you can now be even better at what you do or sell. You can use this to tell the world in all of your advertising. Customers will notice. Prospects will notice. Your staff will notice. Best of all, your cash register will notice.