Keeping it Customer Centric: The Benefits of Adopting a Customer-Centric Business Culture
Check out these five activities that can help you enhance your customer experience and come out stronger in the end.
You’ve heard it before. Happy customers makes for a happy business owner. It, therefore, makes sense to enhance any aspect of your business that improves the customer experience, right?
But right now with the cost of living rising and a recession looming, it’s understandable to think twice about every dollar you spend.
Consequently, your customers are more likely to be cautious about spending and less likely to take risks on new products or services, and more likely to defer non-essential spending That makes it harder to win new customers, so it's even more important to keep your existing customers happy and loyal by developing goodwill.
This means they are even more valuable than usual, as they give you a steady stream of revenue and referral. If your business is based around one-off sales those customers also serve as a source of referrals and positive word-of-mouth that can help bring in new business.
The thing is though that you must work at keeping them happy – time and focus is needed but that doesn’t mean a big marketing budget is needed. It is more important that you and all your customer-facing employees have the right mindset and you are all working toward the same goals. You need a plan and here are five activities you could build into it.
Stay in touch. That is what email and social media were invented for. Check-in, ask how that last product/service they bought worked out for them. Give some tidbits of news about your products and services and offering support and guidance if needed. I guarantee it will make people feel good about you. The process can be mostly automated – CopperFox are expert at this and we are happy to show you how.
Of course, you already offer customers great value. Now is the time to see if you can go a bit further. It might be extending a warranty period, it might be offering an upgrade or complementary piece of equipment at an existing customers only price. What about incentives as loyalty programs, discounts, or exclusive access to new products or services?
In tough times every dollar spent comes with higher expectations of service levels. Be prompt, be accurate, be polite. Make sure that you are meeting or exceeding their expectations. Solve problems quickly: If a customer has an issue, it is an opportunity not a problem, provided you address it promptly and effectively. Show that you value their business and are committed to making sure all is right for them.
Be open to adapting your offerings or pricing to meet the changing needs of your customers. This may involve offering more flexible payment terms – to customers in good credit with you - or maybe tailoring your offering to better meet their needs. Be wary of broad price discounting or rice cuts. For the obvious financial reasons but also because it can devalue how you are perceived in the market. Here CopperFox’s commercial nous is especially useful – give us a whistle if you’d like a chat about adapting your pricing.
New Zealand and the world, in general, won’t be in dire economic straits forever. The current downturn won’t last forever. Think about how you will move forward as the economy improves. Your loyal customers could be inspirational –they know more about what matters most about your products than you do because they use them. So, think about new offerings or new market sectors or about customers' own plans for next 12 months and ask some of them for their thoughts to help shape yours. They will feel good about being valued in that way.
You don’t necessarily need to involve all the above and should not take on more than you can consistently deliver on. The most important thing to remember is your business is about customers. Someone once said there is no such thing as a customer profile in this regard – it’s your Mum. look after them and the rest follows.
Lastly, remember that you too are someone’s customer. If you are not feeling the love then look to renegotiating contracts with suppliers or find more efficient ways to produce or deliver your products or services. By doing so, you may be able to reduce your costs without sacrificing quality or profitability.
By focusing on customer loyalty and developing a clear plan for the future, you can weather this challenging period and come out stronger.