You’ve ditched your Reebok pumps and your Nokia flip phone… So why are you still settling for a customer experience that would make Marty McFly cringe?

The problem with most companies in creating a customer service experience is that they get complacent. So why is this a problem? Well follow me here, when you walk into Verizon do you head on over to the flip phones and tube tv’s in the corner? Of course not!  Instead you walk in looking for the new latest and greatest iPhone.  Consumers are ahead of the curve and conditioned to be drawn to the hottest new thing.  So are we meeting their expectations?

Let’s say you are still doing what you did 25 years ago; this is also when gas was $1.16 a gallon, a dozen eggs were $1.00 and the average household income was $29,943.00. What happens when your customer service takes the “that’s how we’ve done it for years” model?

Can they relate to you?

It becomes old, boring and less than average.

What I am trying to accomplish in this article is to get you to look objectively at the customer experience your business offers from beginning to end.

As a good friend and public speaker in the insurance space once said

your business offers a specific experience for your customers, what happens if you are not the one in control of it?

From the moment a potential customer calls your office or walks in your store you need to have a plan for what happens.  Who greets them?

Is everyone on the same page of the message you want communicated? 

Is this following your master plan of the experience you want to create? 

Do you even have a plan?

What about after the sale?

For most people once someone buys something there is no follow up or any way to stay in touch with them.  Think about this, is it easier to find a new client or simply stay in touch with someone who already believes in you and make sure they come back next time.  Maybe the “spray and pray” marketing strategy has worked for some but I would like a little more chance in staying ahead of my competition.

shutterstock_125972219Yesterday I had someone from an insurance company call to see if we would be willing to offer their products which was low end auto insurance.  Before giving his pitch, the guy said I have looked at your website and it does not seem it would be a fit, but I will tell you what we offer just in case.  My response was “perfect, that is exactly what I would want you to take away from my website”. Do you see what happened here?  Someone who I have never met found my website and automatically knew the message I was trying to convey.

While technology is ever changing and we are forced to stay on our toes to keep up, it also has never been easier to reach the people that are your specific target audience.  A quote I always keep in mind is

“failing to plan is planning to fail”.

So in order to be successful in our customer experience I have outlined some ways to “PUMP UP THE VOLUME” (sorry went 1990’s on ya there) and change the game in customer experience.

5 Crucial yet Easy ways to impact your customer experience that you might be missing:

  1. First, do you have a business Facebook page? This is a free way to reach literally thousands of people right in your backdoor.  As I was driving by a store the other day I get a notification of a promotion they had going on?  When in history could you directly reach someone walking by your business who had no intention of stopping in to see what you offer.
  2. What is the impression someone gets within the first 3 seconds when they visit your website? Does your epic website depict the message you want to convey?  As I mentioned earlier we are drawn to the latest and greatest so your potential clients expect the same from you.  Be sure to use local pictures instead of the stock images that came with your site.  Do not hesitate to include pictures of your office and be sure to include your staff. Customers want to get to know you!!!   Last, be sure to incorporate custom videos; we are now an instant gratification society and videos are the way to meet this need.
  3. Have a formal strategy in place communicating the message that you want your customer to walk away with. Once your plan is in place (here we go with that darn plan again) you have to make sure you entire team not only knows the plan, but that they understand it and are fired up about it.
  4. Be consistent! From the way you answer your phone to the first impression of your website, be sure it follows the same theme.For example, if I am a realtor does my website or Facebook page speak to what kind of client I am looking for? Do you target buyers downtown or rural areas?  Is your perfect client someone buying a high end home or do you prefer volume by helping people find their first home. These small details matter folks. They are the difference between someone referring your digital site or finding someone that better fits their needs. Pay attention to these details.
  5. I would also recommend an automated email service to stay in touch with people. Think of it this way…if a recent client would not be a target for repeat business for another three years how are you going to stay in front of them so you are the first thing they think of when the time comes.  There are many inexpensive services such as Mail Chimp or Active Campaign that easily accomplish this. These automated services are not only helpful to communicate with your customers but they also can be a game changer when it comes to growing your business.

Be intentional and consistent about the message your client receives from you from the beginning to the end.  Also have an understanding that there is no END in your customer service experience journey.

If you are simply reactive you will NEVER be in control of your customer experience. Let that sink that in for a second, your customer’s experience could potentially be up to them, muddled, or even worse unknown.

Once you have a plan in place be sure that you can assess its effectiveness and measure results when possible.  Having a plan is only the first step, only you can make the decision to IMPLEMENT it.

Building A Brand

In our industry we are fortunate to sometimes (ok who we kidding all the time) talk shop. We discuss customer experience, ways to grow our businesses and truthfully how we can impact each other. My good friend Erin Nutting brought something to my attention last week that led me to this article.

Business owners need to know that their customer experiences are fading daily by them not making the choice to adapt and you, Elliott, need to show people how you are doing it.

Aside from being my friend, and incredibly bias, she reminded me how important it is to not only provide your customers with the experience they want but to give them the experience they don’t even know they need.