“If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word-of-mouth is so very, very powerful.” Jeff Bezos – Founder & CEO of Amazon
The way businesses and entrepreneurs engage with their customers is the sole determinant of their future success or downfall. Majority of the owners are too fixed on opportunities that will generate them more revenue and often end up forgetting their service offering.
Customer experience is the hallmark of business success, if your customer cannot share a memorable experience your company has afforded them wither through product or service then it’s not long until another business sweeps them right from your grasp. Customers nowadays are more discerning than before, they realize the vast availability of similar businesses offering the same thing and their loyalty can easily be swayed.
There are key learnings about customer engagement that business owners or entrepreneurs must understand execute if they wish to survive this ever-growing and dynamic eco-system.
- Customer experience is the emotions businesses elicit from their customers so that they can build relationships.
- It is imperative that the person in your business who deals with customers on a daily basis understands this. They should go above and beyond the business interaction and strive to develop an interpersonal relationship with the person ‘’keeping your lights on’’. It doesn’t have to be complicated, a kind gesture can be extended to the customer by simply asking, how they are doing, and doing so with genuine concern. Many businesses handle customers while handling other tasks at the same time. Customers will never forget this.
- Business owners must identify who their customers are, they must have a niche they are serving.
- When businesses start off their operations, they make the mistake of not clearly defining the niche they wish to serve. They often get carried away by emerging trends and other lucrative opportunities and this takes them away from who they are serving ideally. This kind of an ungrounded approach leads businesses astray and they end up losing valuable customers due. There is tremendous value in serving a niche in the beginning, an entrepreneur can learn a great deal about a specific industry, this kind of mastery can open opportunities for equity ownership of the businesses they serve in the long run.
- To get quality customers, businesses must use their valuable networks.
- Social capital is a valuable tool that can springboard entrepreneurs and their businesses to new heights, the glue that holds this kind of capital together is trust, this virtue can greatly serve businesses greatly as they will be getting customers from their valuable networks. Belonging to referral organizations like business network international makes the client acquisition process easier as the same values, ideologies and beliefs are shared.
- Value addition, businesses must prepare the product/service the way the customer likes it
- A lot of times, businesses serve customers the way they see fit and not the way the customer sees fit. In order for businesses to add value, they must go above and beyond the customer’s expectations. If customer X likes their vegetables chopped a certain way and delivered every Wednesday afternoon. It is best practice for the business to do it that way so as to maintain a working relationship.
- Entrepreneurs should never ignore the most complacent customer.
- The most valued customer for any business is the one who complains the most, they will express their disappointment and in doing so the business can learn from that and improve their offering as opposed to the silent one who leaves with their disappointment and could potentially spread the news to prospective customers. Dealing with the most complacent customer also tests the strength and the skill of the customer service of the company. The way they handle and diffuse the complaints will greatly improve their customer relationships in the future.
Here are a few tips entrepreneurs and business owners can follow to further develop customer engagement and also retention. They should:
- Be reliable and consistent
- Think like the customer and get in their shoes
- Sell them unforgettable experiences
- Make their product do or die: customers won’t be able to do without it
- Mutate the product to suit other needs
- Have a solid return policy that customers can utilise