Why do your customers pick you?

It is not often enough that we ask ourselves “Why do customers pick my business?”   It is not enough to simply ask the customer how they found you.  Digging deeper gives you more of what you need in order to assess and make changes where needed.

Let’s look at a scenario.  Your phone rings, the prospective customer asks for a quote.  You ask “How did you find us?”   He says “on the internet”.  You say great and proceed to give him a quote.

In this example, he chose you because you were ranked high on the web search.  Think about it, you were there with half a dozen other companies in your same line of business.  He called you.  If you got the business, was it because you were cheaper or ranked higher in the search engine?  It could have been either, but not every customer makes their decision because the chosen business was cheaper or easier to find on the internet.

What customers say about your company is more important than any single factor in your business.  If someone is making a decision based upon price and you have a bad reputation, you probably are not going to get their business.  Your competition can probably match your price and if they have a good reputation, they are as likely as you to get the business.

Keep the term “Customer Experience” on the forefront of your mind.  According to Wikipedia:

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. From awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; the distinction is usually clear in context.

Here are a few things I have seen work to improve the customer experience:

  1. Talk to your customers when they are at your place.  Get to know them.  Thank them for coming.  Make them feel like they are the only customer you had today.  It works!
  2. Use customer satisfaction surveys.  Have some preprinted cards with a 1 to 10 rating system relating to 4 to 6 questions.  Place these cards in your lobby.  Post the results on your website and staple the cards on a wall where customers can see them.   The customer will be instantly transformed into a positive frame of mine and feel like they came to the right place.
  3. Ask customers to post a comment or review on Google Places, Bing, Yahoo or any other popular search engines.  Make sure that you ask your happy customers to do this.  If an unhappy customer submits a review, they can do irreparable damage.  This becomes viral.  People will start telling you, “did you know that you were the only ****** business with all 5 star reviews.  I have personal witness that this does happen.
  4. Call your customers and ask them if you met their expectations.  Do this within 24 hours of delivering the service or product.  After 24 hours, a call is not near as effective.  When is the last time you received a call from someone you just did business with.  How would you feel about that company after receiving that call.  Service companies .. you better pay close attention to this one.
  5. Post comments and survey results on your website.  Be sure to ask permission to use names of customers if you chose to do this.  Search engines find this stuff and it works.

Building a good reputation is not an occasional project or campaign.  It is an ongoing effort that builds a solid foundation.  Growing a business organically (naturally) is the best and least expensive way to build it.   News travels fast and can be viral.. Make sure the news about your company is good news.

Did you ever think that the customer experience can increase your profit margins?  I have found that if a business has a good reputation, their margins are actually better because they do not attract only “price shoppers”.  Price shoppers often are the hardest people to please.  If you are providing quality products and services, you can demand higher prices because you can afford to deliver consistently high quality.  I am not sure about you but I really like good customers that do not try to beat me up on price.  Those who appreciate me usually get more than they expected in quality of service provided.

Don’t waste your money on advertising until you assess and improve your customer experience.   All your advertising dollars may as well be thrown out the window if customers you have serviced are marginally satisfied.

Start building your Customer Experience today!  Schedule 30 minutes with me here.

Organic growth – saving “green” to grow your business

Have you heard the term “organic growth”?  For you that haven’t, it is growing your business naturally.  By that, you can grow your business by simply making sure that the customer experience for everyone you serve is so good that they will tell others about the positive experience.

Here are a few techniques that you can try that work:

  • Provide customer satisfaction cards on your counter for them to fill out.  Once filled out, put them on your wall.  Everyone that enters your business will see them and get an instant positive impression.
  • Ask customers to go to your Google place page and write a review.  Over time people will see these positive reviews and make a decision to buy from you because you have positive reviews and your competition does not. Give thanks to those who take the time.
  • Ask your associates in complimentary business if you can put your business cards in their place of business.  Make sure that you put their cards in your business.  Try to limit the number of people in a similar business to not more than 2 per type.
  • Get involved in community organizations like Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.  These organizations are all about integrity and give you a chance to be in the company of top local companies like yours.

Advertising dollars are hard to target.  Most advertising is geared for a one-shot message.  If you strategically target your efforts, you do not have to spend a lot of money to grow your business.  Consider organic growth as a business strategy.

If you want to know how this will work for you, send me a message.

Schedule time with me here.

 

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Without adequate information – you will FAIL

Have you ever used your debit card or written a check to find there was not enough money to cover the purchase?  It was embarrassing wasn’t it?  Made you mad probably.  “How could I have forgotten to record that last check I wrote” or “Did my wife write a check and not tell me”?

Well, the problem is much more extensive in a business.  Keeping track of vendor bills, customer deposits and invoices and customer commitments is critical.

In business circles they refer to this information as Business Process and Systems.  Are you using your computer for no than more a word processor or an email device?

It does not cost near as much developing systems and processes as it does to see all your effort of building your business go down the tubes because you avoided this basic task.

Here is a challenge – while away from your desk (at home or quiet place) write down 10 issues that occurred this week that could have been avoided if you had the information to handle it.  It might have been a lost customer order, vendor expecting payment you did not know of or something as simple as a missing customer phone number or email address.

Use your computer as a tool.  Get the right software to manage your business.  In the end, you will be more efficient, productive and profitable.

I have personally helped 1,000’s of companies with evaluating process, systems and helping select the right one(s) for their business.

Contact me, Keith at coach@makenewrules.com