Posted: Tue 1st Feb 2022
Michelle Spaul is a customer experience consultant and Enterprise Nation expert adviser, who touches on the benefits that can be derived from managing experiences across your business.
Big companies grow by managing customer experience (you’ll see this below in the statistics), yet many SMEs don’t claim this competitive advantage. There are many reasons why small businesses fall behind.
As a small business owner, you probably pride yourself on your customer care. I certainly do. And here’s the rub: when we put ourselves in their shoes, our customers seem more like us – even when they are not.
Furthermore, we need to do a dozen things every minute – marketing, sales, supply chain, accounting, let alone what we actually set our business up to do.
With few people saying ‘focus on customers’, it’s easy to wait until customers shout.
Finally, we work to make money. Last year, I asked people what they would do if they received a life changing sum of money. 80% replied they would cut their hours, change jobs or stop working and would volunteer instead.
To me this means 80% of people work their current jobs for money, not for love and without clear guidance on customer experience, meaning it can fall by the wayside.
Unfortunately, these reasons create accidental customer experiences.
The difference between accidental and intentional customer experience
Accidental customer experience can be hit or miss; Invoices customers don’t understand (even though your accounts team love them), products that lose out to competitors because, during their journey, customers turn away, a service customers struggle to access or understand.
We call focusing on our needs when we design our products, services and touchpoints ‘inside-out thinking’. Inside-out thinking fails to focus on customers.
By contrast, we design intentional customer experiences with the customer in mind and proactively manage them. In this way we learn from our customers and earn their loyalty.
How businesses benefit from customer experience management
Managing customer experience takes time, energy and money. So, it must pay back. Here are some benefits of managing customer experience:
Customers are willing to spend 17% more with a company that has outstanding customer service (American Express)
78% of loyal customers help to spread the word about your business (Zendesk)
93% of customers are likely to make a repeat purchase with companies who offer excellent customer service (HubSpot)
86% of customers are willing to pay extra for a better customer experience (Oracle)
Three ways to start your customer experience management
So, how can you earn these benefits?
Understand your customers – In marketing, we get to know customers to sell more. In customer experience, we understand customers to serve them better. Use customer profiles, value propositions, empathy maps and customer feedback to understand your customers.
Improve your products, services and touchpoints - I recommend starting your customer experience journey gently. As you understand customers and improve their experience, you will develop skills and change how you perceive them. So don’t over-commit in those early days; learn to manage customer experience well.
Voice of the customer, also known as using customer feedback, makes a brilliant starting point - you will reap benefits quickly and scale your ambitions as you learn more.
Engage your team - Studies show clear links between customer satisfaction and employee engagement. But don’t stop with employees. Include other people you work with. For example, do you have suppliers? Do they interact with your customers? Does their product or service enhance your customer experience?
Small steps add up to significant results. So, make managing customer experience a habit for you and your team and earn the rewards of delighting them.
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