Customer experience is a powerful competitive advantage, how does yours stack up?

Here is something we all know: competition in most industries and segments is getting hotter, and many small and medium businesses (SMB) are feeling it. While once your small business may have been the only company providing a particular service or product in their area, now you may be one of several businesses doing the same thing. Competition can be local or, increasingly, it can come from overseas players. Small businesses are under pressure to differentiate and innovate.

Yet, if you are offering what is often a very similar product or service, how do you stand out? When customers are spoilt for choice it often comes down to customer experience - perhaps the most relevant competitive advantage in today’s hyper-competitive world.

Consider all the possible interactions your customers – or prospects – have with your organisation. What sort of impression are they likely to walk away with?

If your internal communications are disjointed and you are not flexible in the way you communicate with customers, then the experience your customers are getting may not be as good as it could be.

In this blog we explore a few all too common scenarios – and some ideas on how to avoid them.
 

Consider the following. Do these scenarios sound familiar?

1. ‘I left you a voicemail.’

There’s sometimes nothing worse than missing an important call. And for customers, there can at times be nothing worse than waiting for someone to respond to it.

You may have been on the road for a couple of days, showcasing your product, and using your mobile to communicate with customers. You wonder why you haven’t heard back from a potential customer after the recent demonstration. When you call them, you find out that they’ve taken their business elsewhere because you didn’t return their call. “I left you a voicemail,” the irate customer tells you. The problem is they left that voicemail in your office rather than on your mobile. And it was three days ago.

What if you could have a single number for all your devices, so you never need risk missing that important call or message ever again?

2. ‘I’ll have to get back to you’

Faster communications mean customer expectations are increasing. People expect answers in a matter of hours, not days – and often they need information quickly.

Your sales rep might be with an important client who has a question they need answered immediately. The sales rep needs to obtain that information from an expert who is back at the office – but can they get hold of them quickly? If the expert isn’t available on the phone when the sales rep calls, the rep will need to tell the customer, “I’ll have to get back to you”. This results in delays and frustration for all – most importantly the customer.

What if the sales rep can see the current status of his colleague with the right expertise? They could send an unobtrusive message and – even if the expert is busy -  have a much better chance of having it answered immediately. This would be seamless to the customer who will have a quick response to their question and a greater perception of value from the sales conversation.

3.‘I’m busy; I don’t want to fill in a form’

Are your customers limited by the way they can interact with you? Your customer feedback options might consist of filling in an online form, sending an email, or calling a landline and leaving a message. What if the customer is busy and doesn’t want to fill in a form or write an email? They just want to talk to someone in person, not leave a message.

If you offer limited communication options, some customers are likely to be frustrated. Potential customers, faced with having to fill in a form to reach you and lots of others suppliers to choose from, may give up and instead opt for a company that is easier to work with.

Just as it’s important to provide the tools so your staff can work in the way they want to, it’s also important to offer the same flexibility to your customers. Offering a video call option to customers, for example, enables a more personal interaction, which helps build relationships, trust and loyalty.

Provide better value

The technology enabling small businesses to provide a customer experience that is both personal and seamless is more accessible, reliable and secure than ever. The right tools will help you provide better value and help leave the customers with a great impression of the way you do business.

Learn more in our white paper.

Our white paper – How technology powers an agile businesses: a guide for small businesses - explores how unified communications can benefit the staff and customers of small and medium businesses. It presents a number of ways of making your small business more agile, responsive and flexible, and takes the mystery out of cloud communication solutions.

See how you can better take control, remain flexible and embrace change. Download the white paper here.

Or call us to continue the conversation.