In today’s highly competitive world a customer can find anything with just a few keystrokes and a click of a button. In business it only makes sense to make it EASY for your customers to do business with you.
Ask yourself these simple questions:
1. The customer experience.
A prospective client will always judge you based on their experiences of how you made them feel – whether it be the first or fifth time they have come in contact with you. Communication is a crucial part of business, and I’m not just talking about face-to-face interaction, but also the way you portray yourself through digital media (eg. Facebook, website, blog). Keep the customer front and centre in all that you do. As you design your shop/office, or online store, keep challenging yourself to go one step better for the customer. It is not necessarily what we do in business that sets us apart, it is how we do it. So let's make it as easy as possible for the customer and make their experience as smooth as possible.
2. Are your business practices convenient for your customers?
Something as simple as adjusting your business hours to suit your customers can make all the difference. Structure your opening hours around their schedule, not yours. Another key area that is often simple to adjust but often overlooked is how customers pay. Consider accepting different forms of payment, or different payment terms to suit the needs of your customers. Again, by keeping them front and centre - you will create a convenient process for them, and be more likely to get them coming back again. Alternative payment options could include third party finance. Have a look what's out there and see if it can work for your business. The cherry on the top can be easy parking, especially if you are dealing with parents. Don't make them park down the street and walk past your competitor to get to you. Ensure there is always ample parking at your shop/office. One way to clear the carpark is to encourage staff to park down the street and keep the parks out the front for customers.
3. Online interaction.
By making it easy for customers to find your website, your address, your telephone number and your trading hours - you will be making it easier for them to do business with you. By providing value online through blogs, social media and content sharing, you can demonstrate your expertise and keep them coming back for more. Again, keep your customers front and centre when designing your online presence. Make it easy for them.
4. Do you make it easy for customers to contact you?
Some customers want to pick up the phone and call, others want to message you online, others will want to pop in and say hi. Again, the point here is - make it easy for them, whatever method they prefer. Often we design our contact points around our needs, but make sure you consider your target market. There is no point investing in an online 24 hour online live chat service if your target market want to pick up the phone and speak with a real person. Listen to your customers and give them what they want.
5. Are your staff customer service gurus?
One of the clear ways to create a point of difference is exceptional customer service. Not just from the reception staff, but from the cleaners, the technicians, the managers - everyone. It is everyone's responsibility to deliver exceptional customer service. It doesn't cost any extra and can make all the difference.
Today’s business environment is far more challenging and competitive than ever before. Put yourself in a busy customers shoes… are you really that easy to do business with? If not, be honest with yourself and make some changes. It's often the little things that can make all the difference.
At the risk of repeating myself - make it easy for them!