chairman at Bishop-Wisecarverleveraging 70 years of success to deliver innovative motion solutions to customers around the world.
I recently wrote an article that talked about the importance of regular customer feedback for small businesses. As I’ve discussed, this can provide crucial information to help small to medium-sized businesses like mine succeed and prosper at a time when about 20% fail in the first year and 50% by the end of the year. fifth year in business. But just as it’s important to get this regular customer feedback, it’s just as important that you give them something back – and by this I mean a customer experience.
A signature experience includes all interactions with a customer before, during, and after the engagement. Some companies use the term, while others have created their own. An analyst discusses signature moments that are important in the customer experience. My company calls it a signature experience, but no matter what name you use, I encourage all small businesses to develop a customer experience program to set you apart from the competition and ensure you meet and exceed all of their expectations , so you keep them as long-term clients and brand advocates.
Not just for large companies
A true signature experience provides a valued and differentiating service experience for customers – and it’s more achievable than most small businesses think. Any company, no matter how big you are, can provide customers with a signature experience. In fact, small and medium-sized companies have an advantage over larger companies in many ways because we are agile, fast, and able to move faster to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. This allows small businesses to react instantly to changes in the market and react in a very timely manner to the ever-changing demands and demands of customers.
Create a signature experience with seven key pillars
While my company provides manufacturing services and products, I believe there are seven key pillars that every customer experience should encompass, regardless of your industry:
1. Make sure your business fits the customer. Often companies looking for more business overlook that their products and/or company may not be exactly what the customer needs. This can have negative perceptions over time when the customer doesn’t get what they want and your business doesn’t seem to deliver. If you’re not the right match, tell them in advance and direct them to a company that can meet their needs. Everyone will appreciate the time and effort saved, and you’ve gained respect and possible new customers and referrals in the future.
2. Document Processes to make sure your company listens to customer needs and monitors alignment. Documenting everything helps set expectations and ensures that everyone is clear about the scope of your mutual involvement.
3. As much as you can, offer tailor-made solutions to the customer, even if it is just one unit or one aspect of a service. Everyone likes to feel valued, and what better way to show this to your customers than by providing something special for them.
4. Make sure the customer knows you value their business at every step. There are so many ways to do this, but handwritten, personalized notes for each of our customer contacts are the key to our success. From new customers to customers who have been with us for decades, our contacts at every company receive notes from members of my team, often directly from me. Each note is not only personalized with a name, but also something specific to the work we’ve done together. This helps customers realize that you are only writing this for them and not that a form letter is going to just anyone.
5. Communicate Proactively with the customer, making sure they are aware of everything, including project schedules. Let them know if there is a delay for any reason. Or, if you can act faster, say so. This transparency is a great way to help the customer build trust in your business, and this trust will be essential for securing future business.
6. Validate the mail order that you have met and/or exceeded your customer’s definition of success. This can be done through one-on-one face-to-face interactions or through post-project surveys. At my company, we do both, but I find that short and simple surveys are a powerful tool for getting this critical information because they allow customers to provide anonymous input right after a task is completed. We send surveys after each project is completed to know immediately if the customer was satisfied or if we need to do something right to make sure it’s the result next time. But we also send out surveys once a year asking more general questions about our business and how we compare to the competition. Both provide valuable insights.
7. Make sure you do the right thing with the customers and make sure you do too!. This is a powerful way to guarantee 100% customer satisfaction. We do this after each project is completed, but we also do this in the way we contact customers for our surveys. We summarize the customer comments we receive every year and send it back to all customers to let them know we heard them and how we solved the problem.
Delivering a signature customer experience means a valued and differentiating experience for your customers based on the fundamental elements of expert guidance, confidence in the project schedule, and appreciation of their business. Using the key pillars above, take the time to create a signature experience that reflects your business, train your team members on the details and importance, then make sure your business adheres to them on every single customer transaction.
Ultimately, if your customers are happy and you solve their problems, you may be the 50% of businesses that successfully survive and thrive after five years.