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customer experience

How well do you know your customers?

By | Marketing Strategy, Sales Process, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Having an “outside in” approach to your business is difficult. It requires you to shift your focus from running, managing and developing your business to that of your customer. This mind shift of really stepping into the customer shoes and then developing a marketing strategy  is critical to be a successful small business (well any business really) and yet most companies are still selling a promise to customers that they can’t deliver or one they don’t want.

I hear customers I interview say all the time;”If they had only asked me what I wanted I would have told them.”

Your customer’s perceptions of you are not based just on an email, your website or going into your store to buy something. Their perceptions are formed when you live up to your promise or break it, generally after the sale. What happens when the product breaks, they are left on hold for 10 minutes, they are given the run around! It is hard to keep promises. It is hard to always treat the customer well, but that is why it is more important than ever to preempt their concerns and stay ahead of their expectations to deliver a really compelling customer experience.

It is about identifying with the customer journey that you can really ensure that your promises are kept. If you make promises that are not kept the customer will judge you as a liar and customers will tell others, as we all hate liars.

If you want to gain some customer insights and map out your customer buying path book a marketing strategy session today.

 

Related posts: Creating a customer centric culture

Podcast on creating a customer centric culture

What is your secret sauce?

By | Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Are you memorable or boring? Are you safe or unpredictable? In small business it is important that you are creating something your customers feel compelled to shout about. How do you do this? What is your secret sauce?

Well I believe it has something to do with the customer experience you provide.  The Dijuluisgroup is a company that focuses their efforts on creating world class customer service organisations.

Let’s face it; there is so much choice with products. Just look at the supermarket shelf and the choice of different sorts of bread, milk, yoghurt or tea. Everything has become commoditised. The real last point of differentiation is your service or more so the customer experience that you deliver to your customers in a consistent delightful way.

Everyone will say that they have great customer service but interestingly as John DiJuluis points out that is an internal view point and when you ask your customers you might be surprised about how they rate your service. Most people however only notice your customer service when it is bad. If you screw something up, believe me it is memorable! Customer insight is a key.

Customer experience speaks more to this secret sauce. It is about your companies culture and focus on delighting the customer at every touch point. How do we personalise their experience. How do you deliver your experience to the customer currently? If you are not sure how you stack up why not take some of the surveys on the DiJulusgroup site. They have one for the organisations customer experience aptitude and one for the individual. If nothing else it will make you think.

Two key questions to keep in mind.

  1. You can make price irrelevant. John tells the story on Jay Ehret Power to the small business of two hairdressers. One had a sign in his window “HAIRCUT ONLY $10”. The salon across from them was a totally different salon and had an average haircut cost of $50. The suggestion was to put a sign in the opposite window saying “We fix $10 haircuts”. The challenge to make price irrelevant is to create a haircut and an experience that is so different is like taking a 60 minute holiday.
  2. Create a fantastic customer experience every time. Imagine instead of charging $100 per hour for a consultation you charged $1000. Now note down what you would do differently and do it. Make the experience exceptional.

Look at how I create an exceptional experience.

Dan’s Quick tips:

Use the customer and your name a few times when on the phone.

Add some value by doing your homework before you meet a potential client, the web is an awesome tool for this

Ask your customers for feedback every chance you can and act on it, own it, improve it.

What is a brand? Key functions

By | branding | No Comments

What is a brand?

The collections of perceptions about your company.

Brand is not just a packaging, tag-line and logo. Brand is every interaction with your customers. The perceptions your customers have about your brand, influences whether they choose you over a competitor.

Brand is more than a logo

Do you have brand recognition or awareness or just a corporate identity with a logo. Many small businesses spend a lot of time on their logo or website without considering the messaging to the target audience to see if it will resonate and any time promoting their communications. A brand is not just visual, it is behavioural. Are you listening to your customers?

I bought an Apple Mac computer this week. Until then I had a Dell and had been very happy. The support was fantastic, they were proactive with their sales calls and not pushy. Despite enjoying my Dell laptop it did get viruses and I didn’t feel as cool as I might. I even stuck on a Apple logo on my Dell saying to clients ” I want to be an Apple computer”. So you get the picture. So the time had come and I ventured into their Chadstone store.

The store the atmosphere and the branding everywhere made you feel like you were somewhere special. The uniform of the staff being hip and the furniture and layout super cool. Then  I met a salesperson called Clay. He was helpful but not energetic like I imagined a Apple person to be. I felt like I got the right technical advise but the service  left me feeling ripped off. First I asked Clay if there was anything else I needed (perfect up-sell opportunity). I thought at the end of the conversation I had everything only to discover when I got home I didn’t. I didn’t have the extra software I asked for and I didn’t have a mouse which I think is key. What’s more the 1 to 1 registration that we did for extra support in the store had locked me out on my new computer at home. All of this I could live with but then I experienced more dissatisfaction when I went back into the store for the second time in 2 hours. This time Igor told me I had to bring in my old laptop with my new laptop so they could see how long the appointment time would be for support which I then had to book! Holy cow, totally rubbish support and not only that, apparently wrong. I spoke with another salesperson when getting my wireless mouse and he (Chris) said I could book the support/ lesson on line. Come on Apple what is going on. I tell this story because Apple have nailed their physical brand. The logo, tag, store and salespeople appearance, but it all is devalued the moment you experience less than satisfactory customer service. Someone needs to start training these geeks in customer service fast!!! Interesting also is there is no where on the Apple website to make a customer compliant. Not at all promoting the right image in assisting customers.

Brand attributes: for a brand to do its job well it should have the following benefits.

  • Recognition/ awareness: Does the market know you exist? Have you heard of x company?
  • Top of mind awareness: memorised your brand
  • Brand preference: choose you over others, they need what you do.  They like you.
  • Differentiation: they believe you are different to the other choices.

Remember the famous McGraw Hill ad from about 30 years ago? The one with the grumpy, old man saying, “I don’t know you. I don’t know your company. I don’t know what you stand for. Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?”

Brand can help give you sell you service by providing a level of trust and comfort in the eyes of the customer.

What does branding do?

1.Branding – draws clients to you and gives you opportunity to meet face to face with customers.

2.Brands pulls everything together in a cohesive package which gives the your business a visual identity.

3.Brand can make price less of a consideration in the buying cycle.

4.Brands increase sales effectiveness. Brands help generate leads. It makes lead generation programs work better.

5. Brands helps you beat the competition.

6. Brands facilitate repeat purchases as customers prefer to buy from you.

7. Brands attract the best candidates.

8. Brands increase value of a company.

Brands have many long term financial benefits. So as a small business think about brand as more than the physical elements and put as much effort or more into the messaging about what you stand for and delivering the brand promise to your customers.

Insight taken from Professional Service Marketing by Mike Schultz and John Doerr

What is your secret sauce?

By | small business marketing | No Comments

Are you memorable or boring? Are you safe or unpredictable? In small business it is important that you are creating something your customers feel compelled to shout about. How do you do this? What is your secret sauce?

Well I believe it has something to do with the customer experience you provide.  The Dijuluisgroup is a company that focuses their efforts on creating world class customer service organisations.

Let’s face it; there is so much choice with products. Just look at the supermarket shelf and the choice of different sorts of bread, milk, yoghurt or tea. Everything has become commoditised. The real last point of differentiation is your service or more so the customer experience that you deliver to your customers in a consistent delightful way.

Everyone will say that they have great customer service but interestingly as John DiJuluis points out that is an internal view point and when you ask your customers you might be surprised about how they rate your service. Most people however only notice your customer service when it is bad. If you screw something up, believe me it is memorable! Customer insight is a key. dijuliusgroup

Customer experience speaks more to this secret sauce. It is about your companies culture and focus on delighting the customer at every touch point. How do we personalise their experience. How do you deliver your experience to the customer currently? If you are not sure how you stack up why not take some of the surveys on the dijulusgroup site. They have one for the organisations customer experience aptitude and one for theindividual. If nothing else it will make you think.

Two key questions to keep in mind.

  1. You can make price irrelevant. John tells the story on Jay EhretPower to the small business of two hairdressers. One had a sign in his window “HAIRCUT ONLY $10”. The salon across from them was a totally different salon and had an average haircut cost of $50. The suggestion was to put a sign in the opposite window saying “We fix $10 haircuts”. The challenge to make price irrelevant is to create a haircut and an experience that is so different is like taking a 60 minute holiday.
  2. Create a fantastic customer experience everytime. Imagine instead of charging $100 per hour for a consultation you charged $1000. Now note down what you would do differently and do it. Make the experience exceptional.

Look at how I create an exceptional experience.

Dan’s Quick tips:

Use the customer and your name a few times when on the phone.

Add some value by doing your homework before you meet a potential client, the web is an awesome tool for this

Ask your customers for feedback every chance you can and act on it, own it, improve it.

Effective Marketing: It’s simple, just be helpful!

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments

Marketing your business can be really easy. You just need to be helpful. I always thought there was no real skill in being helpful, but maybe being able to think about what your customers want and need during their experience with you is a hard thing for business owners. Those businesses that are putting more energy into thinking like their customers are gaining a competitive advantage and creating or disrupting current markets for significant growth; e.g Uber.

Currently I am on holidays in sunny Gold Coast with my family and have come across a couple of great examples of how you can be helpful and leave a laSlide1sting impression. At the local Coles there was a new guide on the trolley which was a fantastic help for a shopper like me that isn’t familiar with the store layout (every Coles layout is different, right yes we hate that). In the Gold Coast I am sure that they have a lot of holiday shoppers and so adapting the trolley with this guide, a quick overview of how to find exactly what you need in this Coles store was incredibly helpful.

When we checked into our Hotel where we are staying the lovely Kaye gave us a couple of vouchers for cheaper meals at the local RSL and not only was that unexpected but very thoughtful. Today it is so much more about showing that you understand the customer you are serving or trying to serve and less about what you have as a product or service.

nivea-solar-chargerSkincare brand Nivea placed solar panelled chargers in Brazilian magazines. Lucky beach-goers can charge their phone while they sunbathe. There is nothing better than a free iphone recharge when your battery is down to 8%! Recharge Bar chargebarChargebar is a new company that has made a business by providing this service at airports, cafes and shopping centres based on the premise that being able to recharge can really be appreciated by the consumer.

Maybe it is time to map out your customer journey and see how you can provide some more helpful steps in their experience, it might just be the best marketing dollars you have ever spent!

 

Your content strategy shouldn’t be like throwing spaghetti to see what sticks

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

No doubt you are like most businesses and furiously creating content to build a connection and earn your prospects and customers attention. 90% of all businesses realise that there is value in moving some of their advertising spend from a “paid” to an “earnt content strategy“. The next step of the evolution is planning out this content strategy. Building a vision of what you hope your content strategy will achieve is a great starting point.Content framework

I have heard and felt the scramble to create content for a blog at the last minute, seen the distress as admin and marketing staff chase sales for case study leads to write up. We have all been there. I guess the opportunity is before you think about the distribution strategy, what to create and and what form is a really important step. The Content Marketing Institute have some really good resources for planning out your content strategy. There how too guides are just brilliant for the SME. Download their great workbook to get started here.How toos

It is worth watching this video where Robert Rose explains how content marketing has evolved and how to do it better. Carla and Robert have just written a book on the topic called Experiences: the 7th era of marketing. So who are doing this strategy thing well? In my book, Aussiefarmers with their blog their new magazine and education on produce not grown in Australia.Kraft with kraftreceipes.com which generates more than $1 billion impressions per year and more data on a demographic cohort than a television station with more than 3 million subscribers.

Experiences-Cover

 

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