6 Tips for Creating a Customer Experience that Embodies your Unique Business Value
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: July 7, 2011, 1:46 pm
- Updated: January 9, 2013, 9:19 am
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.
- Improve Your Business with Customer Surveys
- Focus on Your Customer’s Experience Not Your Product…
- Socially Responsible Marketing in Your Community
- The "Ultimate" Small Business Marketing Guide
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General small business tips and tricks.