Close your eyes and think about the last time you transacted with a small business, an independent hustle or a new startup.Did you open your delivery to find a personalised thankyou note? Was the last email you read from them quirky, interesting, fun?
Did the customer service person you spoke to take the time to listen, understand your needs and talk to you like a friend?
Are you smiling?
That’s the startup magic, the special something that small businesses have, that fresh-faced independent’s ooze. It’spersonality and care which creates an impactful customer experience.
When a new business springs to life it’s bustling with energy, Founders have a great passion for their product and service, they love it and they want you to love it. This means their brand is packed with personality and they will make an effort to make you, their customer, their lifeblood, feel appreciated.
Let’s take a look at a few examples:
But much like in the eyes of your childhood self, as you grow, the magic of the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny starts to fade. So does the magic of a youthful business’s special something, that very something that attracted your customer to you, that something that made them tell
their friends about you and kept them coming back for more.
Let’s look at why? And what you can do to prevent it.
One of the most wonderful things about a smaller business is its attention to detail, whether it’s a handwritten note in your delivery, a follow-up business to business call or a response to your tweet, small businesses are great at making customers feel appreciated and part of the club.
Problem: The bigger a business becomes the less time they have available to pay this kind of attention to their customers
Prevention: Recognise what makes a customer experience so great and prioritise the value this has to the businesses. Creating a positive emotion for a customer is what creates a great memory and it is this memory that ultimately surfaces as their customer experience. This creates loyalty, this creates repeat purchases…this grows your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Businesses who keep a strong focus on this will carve out the resource (people/time/money) to ensure this attention to the customer and experience isn’t lost.
Easy & Seamless
Smaller businesses are usually great to do business with because they make it easy and seamless (Ease is recognised as one of the biggest influencers of customer loyalty!). These types of businesses aren’t typically bogged down with process, they are often agile, flexible and can adapt to a customer’s needs.
Problem: Growth means that more and more processes get put in place and rigidity starts to seep in. Although process has its place, it can also start to cause problems in the customer journey, for example, once upon a time a customer may only need to have called to change something in their contract whereas now they need to fill in Form X123, send it to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ and howl at the full moon for their change request to happen.
- Design customer and employee-centric processes, start by thinking about how can the outcome be achieved in the easiest way possible for all involved? How can this be done in the fewest of steps? What’s the quickest way to do this?
- Don’t create a process for process’ sake.
- Make use of automation, but make sure you use it well! Lots of simple, yet time consuming, manual elements can and should be automated. Even simple customer transactions can be automated with the use of knowledge bases and virtual agents which frees up your team to support customers with more complex queries.
Being attentive to your customers and making their experience easy takes an active effort, you need to ensure your experience is designed with all of this in mind, and once it’s designed, your experience needs to be delivered. A great way to ensure the reality of your customer experience matches the perception of your customer experience is to quality assure your experience, which is exactly what you can build into the bespoke scorecards that Evaluagent offer.
When a business springs to life it comes into the world with the personality it’s born with. The people who become customers are the people who are attracted to this personality, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but their customers love it.
Problem: As a business starts to grow and scale it often starts to change, some of the more unusual and outlandish quirks of its personality get hidden in order to appeal to larger crowds with varying tastes. This can push their original customers away, they don’t resonate with the new brand feel.
Prevention: Be brave. Businesses need integrity, according to Inc.com 96% of modern consumers don’t trust advertising and if a business is trying to sell a facade of what it really is, customers will eventually see past it. Vitality is a great example of a large company maintaining its authenticity, it’s pink and their brand mascot is a Dachshund. Vitality could easily have shedded it’s fun, happy-go-lucky branding for a more serious insurance vibe, but vitality’s vibrancy is hopefully here to stay.
So whether you are a small business on a journey of growth or you’re already a bigger enterprise, take a look at where you can sprinkle in some of this startup magic to enhance your customer experience…and work hard not to lose it through persistent quality assurance and continual improvement.