Need more sales?
How about more repeat customers?
Do you know the single area of your business that will make the biggest difference?
Hint: It’s not your sales department.
It’s not even your lead generation efforts.
While every business tries to focus its attention on attracting customers, very few go beyond that to ensure that those customers keep coming back.
Here's the secret:
Deliver a memorable experience that customers want to repeat.
It might seem simple, but If your business does not consistently keep the promise it makes to your customers and prospects, it will never thrive.
The customer experience can have the greatest impact on whether or not people buy.
No matter what you’re selling, people are paying for an experience.
Shift your focus
Too often, business owners focus only on the product, commodity, or service they are providing. While whatever is in the carton is certainly fulfilling a logical purpose, the customer expects more from the transaction – even if they don’t know it.
They will conclude their interaction with you feeling either regret, neutrality, or a positive charge. And most of the time, it’s got very little to do with whatever the product or service might be.
That critical, business-changing outcome is created by everything your business does.
All the “touch points” along your sales path – from the time someone calls you, clicks for more information, or shows up at your counter, to the point of delivery and follow up – are crucial for creating the conditions that make them happy and ready to return with their friends… or not!
Don't assume you know what they want
Most business owners are not in a good position to know what their customers really want.
They know their product well - too well - in fact, to be good judges of what will actually satisfy the person on the other side of the counter.
Put another way, you may be expertly equipped to tell someone why they should buy from you, but you’re tragically ill-equipped to tell them why they do!
But they're usually more than happy to tell you, if they think you care.
The hardest part is taking the time to focus your attention on really understanding what people want and how you can deliver it to them.
But once you make customer satisfaction your priority and shift your attention to delivering it, you can literally create a blueprint that systemizes every step of the process from beginning to end.
You should understand how every customer touch point contributes to the overall experience your customers have.
Be systematic about your delivery
It is not enough to deliver a quality experience most of the time; you must deliver that experience consistently and predictably!
Only by delivering an experience they trust can you ensure that your customers will return to you and refer others.
If you disappoint them on their return visit, or worse, fail to treat their referral to the same experience they received, they won’t risk it again.
Your job as Entrepreneur is to envision a business that creates a total customer experience that is calculated to delight and fulfill people.
Your job as Manager is to pay attention to the kind of customer experience that you’ve envisioned, and support your staff with the tools and training they need to make it happen.
Your job as Technician is to deliver that positive, quality experience consistently and predictably at every customer touch point.
Reinventing the customer experience
Step #1: Monitor the customer experience.
Find out what your customers like and appreciate about your business. Find out what they don’t like or feel could be improved. Don’t be afraid to ask them (and don’t be afraid of what you might hear).
You can also hire a market research firm to provide you with information about the drives and preferences of people in your target market.
There is no such thing as too much information, and the more you know about them, the more you’ll know what your business has to do in order to give them an experience they want to repeat.
Step #2: Identify the subtle leverage points in the customer experience.
Every point of contact should be carefully considered as part of the overall experience you want to create. For example, the way your people answer the phones will set the tone for the entire experience that follows.
Consider the basic sales flow for a doughnut shop:
- Customers walk in or call
- Customer chooses which doughnuts they want
- Customer places order
- Money is collected
- Doughnuts are delivered
- Customers consume doughnuts
These are the essential steps to selling doughnuts, but within each of these are carefully orchestrated nuances that create the experience.
Is the atmosphere disordered and noisy, or clean and relaxing? Do the smells, sounds and lighting attract or repel? Is the person answering the phone happy you called or do they treat you as an interruption? Do the doughnuts look warm and fresh, or old and stale?
The bottom line is that certain things must happen in a certain way for people to feel like they are getting what they want and deserve. Your attention needs to be focused on creating systems to produce those results.
Step #3: Manage, track and quantify how well your business is delivering a quality experience in a consistent way.
You need to keep your eye on the goal and watch it every step of the way. The goal is to ensure that each customer has the same high-quality experience as the last.
Establish systems and communicate with your employees and customers routinely in order to make sure that your business is doing just that.
If you make genuine customer satisfaction a priority, you may not need to work so hard at making sales because you’re now in the business of making customers.