Every small business should put their “customer hat” on more often.
How often have you, as a consumer, grumbled about a not so great customer experience? Have you ever purchased a product or service that did not meet your expectations? Was the service provider a little curt during the transaction? Has it ever been difficult to locate items you wanted to purchase on an online website? Have you ever experienced an issue that was resolved in a less than timely manner?
These are just a few scenarios that can cause a customer to refrain from doing business with your company.
Now think about how you felt during these situations and then examine your company from your customer’s perspective. Here are four ways to get started:
1. Call your company.
What do customers encounter when they call your business? Is your receptionist robotic or pleasant, professional and courteous? Did you know that your receptionist or answering service serves as the face of your organization? Therefore it is important to put the right person on the front lines of initial customer interactions.
What about your interactive voice response (IVR) system? Are your call center menus user-friendly or do you become confused or worn out in the first minute of calling your offices? If it’s confusing to you, it’s probably confusing to your customer.
2. Visit your company.
Okay. So you may be thinking to yourself, “Errol, I’m already here at my organization!” Yes, but start your visit with your customer in mind … where a physical visit starts for your them.
For example, usually when a customer physically visits your business, their experience begins outside and down the street. Consider this: Can they easily spot your company’s signage? What condition is your business signage in? Is your signage visible during evening hours?If you own an online business, is your website easily searchable? Could your logo and overall branding benefit from a redesign?
The next step for most customers (if you have a physical location) is your parking lot — what condition is it in? Is your business area well-lit for evening hour customers? Depending upon your industry, the distance from the parking lot to your entrance could be problematic (e.g. inadequate parking, unkept and unclean outside areas). Consider how you can improve the exterior experience for your customer.
Now, let’s go inside. What does the customer see upon entering your front door? Is your store or office designed with your customer in mind? Is it easy to locate products or specific areas in your store (online or offline)? If it is difficult for you, it’s more than likely a headache for your customer.