Do you actually care about your customers?
Allow me to rephrase: Do you care about your visitors?
Online or offline business, you will certainly have visitors, right?
And all those visitors are potential customers, right?
Now, do you care about those people?
Yes or No? Why?
I am not much of a small business owner, but I do manage a blog, and I have seen how people react to businesses – good or bad. In this blog post, I would like to remind you of the key areas of your business: Customer centric approach, attitude, use of incentives and the importance of keeping your customers happy.
Let me start off with a great example:
In 2008, several places in Mumbai, India were attacked by terrorists. One of those places was the Taj Mahal Hotel.
On the particular day, the Taj Mahal hotel had several occupants. Many of the occupants were saved. But, thirty-one people died. Out of the 31, 11 were hotel employees who worked hard to get their customers out of the hotel.
Now, no one urged the hotel staff to save those customers; they could have easily escaped and saved themselves. But, they didn’t. They helped those customers.
Customer Centric Approach
That is what I call a customer centric approach. (I also heard that Harvard Business school is studying this approach).
Now, I am not telling you to place your customers’ lives over yours. Not at all.
I am suggesting you keep a customer centric approach in your business.
Stop worrying about the silly numbers – Profits, losses.
Of course, you need to take care of them, but you don’t have to worry about them.
Start caring about your customers.
Provide the best service and value to them.
Not just to them, but also to your potential customers.
Impress your potential customers with your hospitality and experience
and you can convert them into loyal customers of your business.
I am sure that most of you guys have read all sorts of tips about improving your business.
Little Things Matter – Customer Centric Approach
But, more than everything, the small things matter.
Most times, the small things in your business are
the ones that make the biggest impact.
Let me give you an example:
Imagine yourself in a hotel. What do you hate about it?
Some hotels are just pricey. Some are just dirty – even with a high price.
For some, the TV remotes don’t work.
Or the fan.
Or the Wi-fi.
Or maybe the electric socket is broken.
Maybe the windows don’t open.
Or maybe the sofas or chairs are too dirty.
Or the tables.
That reminds me about a recent experience I had. I had bought a basketball set and it took me (and my Dad) over 3-4 hours to put it all up.
I think we could have saved a lot more time if they had a video CD along with the set on how to assemble it. (Diagrams alone are confusing.)
Several times, we had to redo stuff because it wasn’t the right screw or we assembled it incorrectly. I would have had a much better experience if they had included an instructional video (and I am sure that I am not the only one who wished for a video).
Like I mentioned earlier, little things matter.
A lot of people care about those little things.
Take care of them and I am sure that you are
going to make an impression upon your customers.
Another important thing to remember is attitude – yours, your employees’ and your customers’.
Let’s get back to the hotel example:
Lots of people don’t like noisy neighbors in hotels – or noisy employees.
As for employees, you can easily take care of them (because you are the owner).
And as for customers, it is a bit harder.
You need to try an approach that doesn’t hurt both parties. The best way to go is ask the noisy neighbor if they are willing to “stop the noise” or if they are willing to relocate to another room. (Repeat this step with the other person who complained about the noise.) If either option fails to work, offer incentives. Maybe a free breakfast or dinner to the person who is willing to relocate. (Small incentives can go a long way to resolving tough issues.)
Use positive reinforcement when dealing with your customers.
Offer incentives – this way, you could keep everyone happy
by giving something small in to the customer.
Now, this is just one example.
The same concept of customer centric approach, little things, attitude and incentives can applied to other businesses – small or large.
Let’s take an example of a mobile phone shop. The problem with most of these shops today is that you freaking have to spend an hour or so to pick / buy your phone or repair your existing one.
I would have been very grateful if these stores had sofas and TVs in them – so that I could spend my time doing something while waiting for them to get my phone fixed.
Now, for a small business owner, sofas might not be an affordable option. (We always have to think about affordability – too expensive and too cheap, both of them sucks either for you or for your customers.)
For online business owners, the same thing goes.
Offer small incentives – like demo service, free quotes or something along those lines to impress your customers. (When it comes to online, you also need to worry about website design, font, user friendliness and other kind of stuff – always remember: Little things matter).
Let me give you an example with my own blog:
A few months back, I was experimenting with my design and I had the idea to remove sidebars from my post pages. I realized that I could have all my sidebar essentials (subscribe box and share buttons) within the post itself and minimize the distractions to the reader. The result?
I got positive response from my readers (although my results got skewed because this was around the same time I used images in my posts. I got a lot of junk traffic that increased my bounce rate and decreased by visitor time.)
Like I said earlier, small things make a big impact.
In the online world, you could ask several testers (there are services which allow you to test your website – like Usertesting.com). Just give them some questions to answer about their experience (the answers can help you to identify the small things).
I don’t have much to say (I think I have said everything I have to say about customer experience and customer centric approach.)
If you have any wild thoughts, insights, criticisms or praises, just leave me a comment and let me know!
And, if you will, just share it to the world. (After all, this is a contest, and your comments and shares do certainly count towards my winning :D).