Six Ways to build a Successful Business
Creating a large pool of loyal customers is extremely important to the sustainability of a business, but it is the employees that are the enabler of the products and innovations. Having loyal employees and loyal customers allow companies to sell products more successfully than average. Great products and excellent employee service are crucial to creating loyal customers and growing a business.
No matter what industry you are in, issues always arise; it is how you deal with these issues that can make or break your relationship with your customers. Customers want to find that one brand they can trust. Trust comes from employees and the marketing channel. When there is trust, customers will continue to come back for more! Check out these six tips on building customer loyalty and success for your business:
One: Start with a clear focus and purpose for the product or service and ways to achieve customer satisfaction: Follow up with the clarity of the company values, their beliefs, their behaviors and how management and innovation make decisions to improve how clients are served. Use your purpose, values, and beliefs to differentiate yourself in the marketplace and distinguish your identity and your brand. Just look to Starbucks and what their CEO Howard Schultz has achieved over the years.
Two: Fine-tune and test your Product: This might seem obvious; however, it is imperative to make sure you work out every possible kink in your product or service. Planning for any potential issues that might arise is also essential. Customers want to know that they can trust you to deliver on your promises. A positive experience with your business will keep them coming back! Bad experiences will keep them away. Don’t do what VW, Wells Fargo or Uber has done. All their clever and entertaining advertising will never instill the trust those companies once embodied. Sad.
Three: Speedy Response: As we all know, nothing is perfect. Issues come up whether we like it or not. However, it is how we deal with these issues that make the difference in establishing customer loyalty and trust. When dealing with customers, listening to their concerns is very important. Take the time to make sure you understand your customer’s issue. This even may require re-stating the problem at hand multiple times to make sure everyone is on the same page. Once you understand, deal with the issue in a timely fashion. Customers are impatient and do not enjoy waiting. Also, check social media regularly! Customers are turning to social media to complain about problems. Follow up immediately with anyone complaining about your product via social media. Reaching out in this manner will also add a personal touch to the interaction, making the customer feel special.
What Starbucks did last week when they closed all 1800 stores for training on racial bias is a perfect example of what I mean. They recognized a problem, responded to it and came up a decisive resolute action to demonstrate to customers and employees alike. The issue of racial bias was serious and unacceptable. Reports say it cost them over $12 million in lost revenue, but they didn’t care. That is what it means to do the right thing. Kudos to Starbucks.
Four: Interactive TouchPoints: From sales to training to implementation to providing customer service, there are many different touch points with a customer and with employees. Break down each aspect of interaction and find ways to fine-tune them. Create a plan to make sure that each of these touch points is strong and practically foolproof! Clarity will give the customer a sense of consistent service, which is extremely important regarding building trust. A negative experience at one single touch point can ruin the overall experience for the customer, regardless of how positive the experiences at other touch points may have been.
Five: Focus on the Journey: Once you have worked on fine-tuning each point of interaction, take a step back and look at the big picture. Focus on the overall journey of the customer and employee and see if there is anything that can be done to make the entire experience better for the customer. The experience may include adding or removing a step in the journey or even reorganizing the flow of interactions. See what can be done to make the entire experience great!
Six: Feedback: The most crucial step in keeping loyal customers and employees is asking for feedback, both on your product and in customer service. Feedback gives you the opportunity to see how things can improve from an outside perspective. When changes are made based on feedback, customers and employees feel as though they are being listened to and have a say in what is going on. Take the time to let them know they are appreciated and listened to in thank you notes, reports or advertising.
Now, take a step back and see how you can improve your business process to increase your culture and customer loyalty! If you would like to discuss specific ways to improve customer and employee engagement to sustain product development, please give me a call. We would be delighted to have a conversation.
Allan Steinmetz CEO - Inward Strategic Consulting 617-558-9770