3 keys to being more customer centric
Keys to optimize customer-focus

Your customer-focus could be the biggest key to getting and retaining customers. How well you focus on the user, your customer is the most important aspect of business success today.  

Beware being business-centric

I remember the weekend I decided to do something about chronic pain. I’d had hip pain for months, stabbing with every step I took. I tried everything. That weekend I decided to try oral CBD.

I’d been getting emails for a while from a major company. What I read said they had a trustworthy reputation. That week, I’d gotten an email about a sale they were having. 

After going to the website and locating the product I wanted to try, I tried to enter the discount code from the email.  It didn’t work. It was late afternoon on Friday.  I tried to reach out to them, but with a two-hour time difference, no help was available. Maybe in the morning.

Saturday morning, I tried again.  The code still didn’t work. I tried to reach them…no one covered questions on the weekend. 

Pain and frustration soared. I finally, placed an order and in the notes section, explained that the code didn’t work. 

About a week later, I received my product – full price, no discount.

The next month, I needed some CBD chewies for my anxious dog. A discount code came in an email so I tried again. They were a highly respected company after all.

You guessed it…the code didn’t work.

Poor communications sour customer-focus

I’ve never ordered from them since. They had damaged my trust. If you can’t supply customer support, send out coupon codes that don’t work, and never respond to messages…I don’t care how big you are. 

That huge company is business-centric. They do what is convenient for them and it better be good enough for the customer. If they aren’t careful, they will run out of people willing to deal with them online. 

Having run my own e-commerce firm for 25 years, I certainly realize every business has limitations. However, there needs to be workarounds in place for customer support and to make the customer feel cared for.

The world has changed dramatically in the last three months. Many of us are staying at home and shopping online.  We depend on the websites we interact with to anticipate and take care of our needs.

A business-centric model generally fails at that. More and more people are shopping online, It works and is growing rapidly.  Online has proven to be a way for businesses to survive and thrive in the middle of a crisis. 

Retention is better than replacement

Online advertising can be expensive. It’s all about the bottom line. Cost of acquisition, sales made, and lifetime customer value.

It is eight times more expensive to replace a customer than to keep one.  That in itself is an excellent reason to get more customer-focused now.

If customers have a great experience with you/your website, they will tell their friends.  If they have a bad experience, they will tell twice as many. 

That makes a customer-focused business model that much more valuable.

3 Keys for improving your customer-focus

There are lots of ways to make your website more user friendly, but these three simple steps will help you move forward. They are all based on getting inside the client’s head. 

Think of what they might ask you? What might they want to know if they came to your booth at a Farmers Market, or visited you at a fair or other sales event?

I use the Farmers Market analogy because it strikes at the core. Sales are a person to person exchange. 

What do you want from that organic fresh produce grower? What do they grow,  how do they grow it, what makes it different from the next booth?

The same is true for online shopping. We need to remember and treat it as a one-to-one interaction.

Key 1 – Your website should focus on talking directly to your customer in a conversational tone

Going back to our Farmers Market…you walk along the sidewalk, (following social distancing) and trying to observe what is available at each stall. 

Does their signage make their product clear? Does it look good? What does it tell you about those products? And today…what efforts are being made in the arena of infection control?

If it looks interesting you make your way to the display table. How are you greeted? Do they ask if you are familiar with their offerings? Do they share their unique selling position, (USP)  in a clear and conversational manner?

The beauty of your website is the potential to share more in-depth information than may be possible at a booth where others are waiting for their turn to buy.  Layout and ease of use. 

Is the website fresh and current in appearance?

Does it look like their kid put it together on his aging tablet with out of focus images?

Are there answers to questions the customer hasn’t thought of yet?

How do customers get help?

I know you can’t be open 24/7. Help your customers by clearly addressing how they can get questions answered.  

How can they reach you?

What is your response time?

What if there is a special and your code doesn’t work or they have problem placing an order?

Company size is not an indicator of customer-focus. 

A small business-centric firm sent an e-sales letter that was intriguing and I place an order for their special.  They followed up with 5 emails then went quiet. 

No further contact.  Three weeks later, I checked and the product had never been shipped. Click-bank issued me a full refund. 

A customer-centric small local winery ran a special on their to-die-for Rosé. The discounted price worked but heavily discounted shipping didn’t kick in. They helped me solve the problem in a quick 2-minute call. 

Mindset and focus, not size. Find ways to improve customer service.

Move on past Covid19…

It’s time to give up the coronavirus excuses. Shipping is pretty much back to normal…although buyers tend to be more accustomed to delays.

Sure, some items may be out of stock and take longer than we’d like to become available.

That is the new normal.

Most businesses have found ways to get things done and work remotely. 

If your phone system doesn’t allow call-forwarding, maybe it’s time to go VOIP.  It’s inexpensive and totally customizable. Use the control settings and people can’t call you during designated “closed” hours…instead they are directed to your message system. Simple.

I know several firms where they published a list…need to reach us, we’re working remotely. Customers could contact alternative numbers/emails to get the support they needed.

Move past negative coronavirus messages. Share the positive changes you implement to make your company, product, safety, and customer care even better.

Focus on being helpful. It’s time for positives and inspiration. It’s time for connections and networking.

You and your business are the messages you send out via your website, social media, and email communications. Make them count with customer-focus.

TERMS

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