The demands placed on business owners are many and varied. One minute you’re addressing a regulatory issue which will change the way you operate and the next you’re resolving a conflict between employees. You’re providing input on everything from premises to paperclips whilst balancing the books and cornering the market.
It’s quite understandable that, with all this going on, you can lose sight of what is fundamental to any business, the customer. This is why our most recent Step Forward workshop took business owners away from the office and its distractions to spend the morning putting their customers in the spotlight.
We started by reflecting on the customer experience as a source of competitive advantage and it got me thinking of how often we ignore price and buy products and services based mainly on customer service. The answer is a lot.
How many of us have gone to the same hairdresser for years and years knowing they’re not the cheapest but because they’re nicest? How many of us have eschewed the temptation of cheap flights and paid the extra for a bit of TLC? How many of us go to a particular shop just because the owner is so friendly.
A customer service USP can distinguish your business from others in the market but you have to walk the walk and that involves examining the customer journey and getting it right at every stage.
Our participants were asked to identify the encounter points people had on their journey to becoming a customer and beyond. This went from finding the company on the internet to first contact to delivery to the end of the product/service life, and all the encounter points in between. They were then asked to honestly rate how good their service was at each point.
It can be difficult to be objective at this stage in the process. A customer satisfaction survey is a good way of getting a more realistic assessment of your company’s performance. Take a look at our blog on getting the most from your customer satisfaction survey.
This meticulous approach to evaluating the customer journey exposes any weak spots that may have been overlooked. Regardless of how good you think your customer service is, a detailed and honest assessment usually reveals areas for improvement. Looking at each encounter point in isolation also helps to devise specific action points to address possible roadblocks to winning or retaining customers.
Our Step Forward participants left with goals to affect positive change in their businesses but also with tools to develop a customer experience strategy to work into their business plan so that customer service remains in focus.
If you are an entrepreneurial Herefordshire buiness owner looking for advanced business planning workshops, contact us about joining our Step Forward invitation list.