There are a number of different aspects of a business that can be improved to help differentiate it from its competitors. Here, business coach Stuart Ross, owner of High Growth, explains how great customer service is a vital aspect of any business.
When operating in poor market conditions, a lot of companies will ‘batten down the hatches’ and reduce investment in finding new business.
If this is the case then shoring up existing customers and increasing their spend becomes vitally important.
Creating a great experience for customers is something that can cost very little, but the benefits can be felt with a real increase in top line sales.
Raising the levels of repeat business and customer retention is something that is vital if a business not only wants to survive, but also grow in a recession.
Below I have put together my five top recommendations to business owners that are looking for cost-effective methods of improving customer service levels.
1 Allow room for genuine human interaction (but don’t force it).
Some companies try to show that they care about the customer experience, but their efforts fall flat because they make employees sound disingenuous.
Pay attention to the kinds of questions your customers want you to ask them, and avoid directing employees to interact too often or too personally with customers.
Instead, let your employees’ personalities shine through, and give them enough freedom that they feel comfortable having a genuine moment with customers.
2 Know your own strengths. Trying to be all things for all people is a fast route to an undifferentiated brand that can’t attract loyal customers.
Find out what your customers already like about your company, and keep these strengths in mind when you begin planning the experience your customers will have.
3 Don’t Tune Out. While it’s important to rely on your strengths, be careful to recognise changes in the market that may lead to customer priorities changing.
If other competitors have recently entered the market with big innovations in customer experience, you may need to develop a new strategy rather than relying on your old brand image.
4 Stand For Something. The companies with the most loyal followers don’t just have great products, they have great brand integrity.
Integrity means promoting your brand’s vision aggressively and taking time to show your customers what you see as the future of your product.
5 Give Your Strategies Time To Work. If a new brand strategy doesn’t seem to be working to differentiate your customer experience, consider that you may not yet have given customers time to adjust to the “new you.”
Changing again rapidly, especially if you do this repeatedly, can give customers a case of brand whiplash and divert them to your competitors.
For more information on Stuart Ross visit www.high-growth.co.uk.