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6 Tips for Creating a Customer Experience that Embodies your Unique Business Value

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6 Tips for Creating a Customer Experience that Embodies your Unique Business Value

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: July 7, 2011 Updated: January 9, 2013

Written by Caron Beesley

Despite the fact that we live in a budget-conscious, coupon-clipping, recession-bruised culture, customer experience still counts for a lot. A good customer experience resonates with our challenges and needs, makes us feel warm and fuzzy, and ultimately, it generates repeat customers.

For example, I’m a dog owner and I want the best for my dogs. The best food, treats, toys, and so on. I’m also practical and budget conscious.

So when it comes to purchasing products for my dogs, I have two options. I can either make a visit to the numerous national chain pet stores in my community, or I can make a stop at my local independent whole food pet store.

Nine times out of 10, I visit the independent store. Why?

It is not the cheapest option and is located in a part of town that I have no other reason to visit, however, they provide me with a customer experience that is second to none. The staff remembers me, they go out of their way to be helpful, and most importantly, they have gained my trust.

Small businesses are in a unique position to create valuable customer experiences. Their products and services are often niche, the target customer is very defined, and business operations are agile and unconstrained by corporate rules and processes. When was the last time you called a small business and got put through to an automated call center?

These seemingly small things come together to create a hugely competitive value proposition.

Here are some things you can do to focus your sales, marketing and operational efforts to create a unique customer experience and capitalize on the catalog of value that your small business embodies.

1. Understand your Differentiators

 Key to delivering a unique and memorable customer experience is understanding what differentiates you from your competition, and framing your future marketing around these differentiators.  These “5 Tips for Getting to Know Your Competition and using it to Your Advantage” offers pointers on competitive research.

Talk to your employees – what are they hearing from customers about why they do business with you? Don’t be afraid to solicit feedback from your customers too. What about your business partners?

2. Nurture your Values

What are your core values and how are you carrying these through your business operations and customer experience? This is an important one because your values steer how you do business and what your customers can come to expect of you. Whether you are a freelancer who is driven by a consistent commitment to excellence, or a restaurateur who believes every employee should participate in the success of the business, don’t underestimate the role that your values play in your customer’s experience.

3. Develop “Your” Brand as Business Owner

Your brand is so much more than your logo, signage, and font choices. Your brand is embodied by your products, services, marketing, and a body of brand advocates including you, your team and your happy customers. Don’t ignore all these elements that come into play to create your customer experience.

These insights can help: “Five Tips for Building your Small Business Brand Using its Best Advocate – You!

4. Educate your Staff

Whatever you sell, educate every single member of staff on its features and benefits.  Also train them on how to identify what a customer is looking for or needs with some basic qualification question cheat sheets. Every single time anyone in your business communicates with a prospect or customer, it counts.

5. Motivate your Staff

To ensure your team are as equally invested and publicly passionate about your business as you are, go one step further than equipping them with basic training. Consider setting employee goals that focus performance around your key business objectives and values. For example, if your goal is prove the continued agility of your business, set goals that focus individuals and teams on providing service that is “one-step-ahead” of the customer’s expectations such as delivering a service sooner than anticipated (who doesn’t love it when a job gets completed ahead of schedule).

You might also consider some basic employee incentive programs to encourage a collective participation in the success of your business.  For tips read Get More from Your Team - 5 Employee Incentive Program Ideas that Pay Off.

6. Tell the World!

While your existing customers know how great you are, don’t forget to craft a marketing message that tells potential customers about your company, what it does, and why they should do business with you. More than just an “About Us” statement, your marketing message should be about your customers and the experience they can expect when they do business with you.

Read 7 Tips for Creating a Marketing Message that Sticks for help in developing a marketing message that grabs the attention of your customers, speaks to them, and promotes action.

How do you create a positive customer experience? Share your thoughts below.

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About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

customer experiences that demonstrate the value of your unique business
Nice comments
"what a customer is looking" is a very interesting point of view only if the customer knew what he's out for... many times we have to make a detective work just to find that the client dosen't need what he is thinking he need, and flip his head to a really necesary product or service, especially in tourism industry.
You know what Caron, I just stumble on sba.gov and I’m really thankful to read your marketing post. Is there a way I can follow you on twitter and facebook? Thanks in Advance, Cliff
Well that sounds good however, in my experience it is not the values that make the difference, but rather the Perception of those values by the customer. Without a good marketing and PR effort it is very difficult to stand out, even if you do have better products and service. So I would be interested in some effective marketing and PR techniques for small business as part of the differentiation.
Thank you for this post, it's great that you support smaller, independent businesses. Here at www.whirlydogsupplies.com we do the same. We always try to buy local and from independently owned businesses.
Great Info. I started by making dog clothing. I found what is sold in Mega pet stores are often expensive and poorly designed from overseas companies. I strive to make the best dog clothes available and with the highest quality standards. Also, I started adding toys and dog supplies to the site that aren't available through big chain retailers. My website: http://www.whirlydogsupplies.com Take a look and feel free to let me know what you think! Thanks for posting this article!
Speaking of "Tell the World" I read an article recently regarding authors who self-publish their books. The quote was, "Be passively persistent." I suppose there's a fine line between being annoying and getting your message out there, especially when it comes to books to read!
Nice article. I've worked hard over the years to separate my web design and SEO company from the pack. This is done both by having my web site be up to snuff, but also by using social media and customer referrals to the maximum advantage. There are a lot of web design companies out there, both in my neighborhood and overseas, who would love to steal my customers away. We have to constantly fight to separate ourselves from the pack.
In regards to #6 on the list, we've been struggling to get people to interact on our site. We're still fairly new and haven't even gone into production yet with our cool purses, so I can see how it would be hard for our customers to have something to latch onto. We've put in a lot of effort "telling the world" but I suppose that traffic just comes with time. Thanks for all the great tips!

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