For the last twenty years or so I have been lucky enough to work with a wide variety of businesses (from start-ups to multi nationals) helping them to explore and develop the way they win, keep and grow their customers.
One of the most interesting parts of the job that I do is researching the customer experience and working out how small changes to the customer experience can make a huge difference to overall profits.
There are three common themes that recur whenever and wherever we do the research regardless of the size or type of business. Companies who understand and embrace these tend to thrive those that lose sight of these tend to struggle. So whether you are a dog grooming business an IT consultant or a major bank these three principles apply.
- Customers don’t buy a product they buy a result. If someone goes to see a lawyer they are not buying the experience and knowledge of the Lawyer in the first instance they are buying the fact that they believe this Lawyer will resolve their problem satisfactorily (be it a dispute a divorce a property purchase etc,) like wise a customer in a clothing boutique is not buying a dress they are buying how they will feel when they wear the dress, how their friends or partner will react or what they think they can achieve when they look their best. If you want customers to buy from you, spend time talking about the result they want before you talk about yourself.
- Customers buy with their heart first. People like to do business with people that they like and feel they can trust. We are always more likely to buy from businesses where we are made to feel welcome, where the staff show genuine interest in the customer (not just the sale) and where they feel they belong. This is as true of a local green grocers as it is a major department store.
- Finally Customers will make their own mind up about your business based on a few small experiences (we call these moments of truth). If the small experiences are good, for example a waiter in a restaurant takes time to be nice to your children, they impact on the rest of the customer experience, they can make the customer’s day. If however the small experiences are bad, a rude response to a simple question for example this negatively affects the way the customer views the whole experience.
So if you run a business ask yourself .
Do we spend enough time talking to the customer about what they need our product to do?
Do we engage with them on a personal level?
Do we pay attention to the small stuff?
Whether you are M&S or the local village shop the answer to these questions will have a big impact on your business.