Focus on Convenience
What do we mean by a service culture? It is essentially making life easier and more pleasant for customers, and this is not something that should be restricted to sectors such as hospitality and travel, where sometimes more emphasis is placed on customer satisfaction. In this article we will break down the criteria for being convienent for your customers.
All organizations, from large to small, can benefit from an attitude which puts the customer first, and fixes its focus on convenience. While larger companies have the resources to do this at every opportunity, it is a big chance for a small business strategy to go above and beyond the call of duty by simplifying things for their customers.
For many SME owners and entrepreneurs, doing this comes down to an attitude which might seem unnatural at first - the art of putting the personal beliefs in your business strategy to one side and actually listening to your customers, becoming more convenient for them. But the good news is that these are often easy opportunities that offer great rewards.
Let's take a look at some of the ways and reasons that you should be considering every way possible to add convenience to the customer experience:
We live in a culture where businesses can live and die by the reviews and testimonials that they are given by customers online. But this doesn't mean that companies should shy away from giving customers the opportunity to leave reviews. On the contrary; businesses that collate and carefully analyze the reviews they do receive have in their hands a way to fast track their operation towards being more customer friendly. Think how feedback can work for you, not against you. (Leave your feedback for this article, in the comments section below.)
Ps & Qs:
How many times were you warned "don't forget your manners," when growing up as a child? This translates itself into every aspect of running a customer facing business. Quite simply, it pays to be polite, and common courtesy should extend into every way you communicate with customers, from verbally to marketing messaging and product information. Being courteous won't cost you a penny and says a lot about the kind of company you are.
As an SME director or owner, we can strategies and eulogize as much as we want about the importance of customer convenience, but unless this is represented in the front line of our business, it won't go far. For this reason, the training of your staff is a crucial way of ensuring widespread adoption throughout your organization. This can include techniques to make scheduling easier, video conferencing or enabling your workforce to become your marketing team when it comes to adoption of a Merchant app.
Personalization adds a caring touch that says to a customer 'we know who you are and we have thought about you'. By incorporating personalization as part of your email marketing campaigns, app notifications and face to face wherever possible, you are immediately being more welcoming to a customer and stand more chance of engendering feelings of loyalty. The easiest way you can do this is of course using their name in communication, but you can also send special birthday offers, or marketing messages based around their buying habits. The more customer data you have, the more chances to personalize will be apparent.
Encourage customers.. NO JOKE!
Sometimes customers need a little push in order to give them a better experience. This can mean helping them to help themselves. Do you have a live chat pop up on your website to offer assistance? Does your app provide a direct link to your support team? And do you encourage customers to get in touch with their questions and queries via your social media channels, before delivering fast and clear responses? Customers won't ask for help unless they know it is there, so do your best to communicate the capabilities of your support team at all times.
Don't rest on your laurels
The technology behind customer communication and support is developing at such a rapid rate, that sometimes it is a struggle to keep up. While there is a good case for keeping the same systems in place in order to avoid alienating customers with too many updates, it is also your responsibility to ensure that you are taking advantage of the latest innovations in order to improve customer experience. For online retailers, this could mean enhanced payment security or a 'one click checkout'. For SMEs in B2B, it might be initiatives such as holding webinars or delivering information packs via USB sticks at conferences.
The Omnipresence of Omnichannel support
If your business is experiencing rapid growth, a clever way to integrate your customer support is by adopting the omnichannel method. This is an integrated system that gives customers a series of choices to get in touch with your company, but allows customer service agents to manage responses from the same interface, including accessing records of previous conversations.
Utilize purchase history
In the consumer market especially, the ability to memorize and act upon a customer's product history can pay dividends when it comes to sales, but it is also making things easier for the customer. For online retailers, tailoring products displayed in sidebars, using internal search boxes that remember terms previously entered and using email marketing that is based around purchase history can make all the difference.
Don't harass your customers.. Would YOU like it?
It is all too easy in the age of pop up adverts and email marketing campaigns to overdo it. There are few things more likely to detract from the customer experience than having to take time closing or deleting unwanted marketing messages. Take a step back and consider if you are bombarding customers - could you cut down on frequency in order to increase impact?
Foresee problems before they arise
A lot of the time, the best customer service happens behind the scenes, where you are making their life easier without them even knowing. Ensuring you have the best coverage possible in terms of web hosting and support for your IT infrastructure decreases downtime, increases uptime, and ensures your customers are very rarely faced with a website that is unavailable or unresponsive, or an app that is not functioning properly. The team you choose to provide your technical support should have one eye on the future to snuff out issues before they can affect customer experience.
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So there you have it, a list of ways that can bring convenience to your customer base, and quite often it is the simple things that really count. Is it time for you to take a step back and consider if your current business strategy is really aligned with customer satisfaction?