“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”
The world has undergone many changes, over the years businesses have evolved with these changes; one other factor that remains constant is, customers are what make businesses remain viable.
Every customer-centric business has their own formula. Businesses go the extra mile to ensure customer-friendly interactions. Happy-clients mean returning clients (or repeat business), resulting in more business, increased revenue, and not to forget; referrals. There are standard industry practices and then there are improvised and customised versions of these standard practices.
If you want to build a sustainable business, you can start by building sustainable relationship with your customers. Many upstarts play it by the ear, ‘month-to-month’, every action is a short term solution, including customer experience.
It takes time to build a rapport and a lasting relationship with your customers. Here are a few steps to help get you started on the right direction towards building a customer-friendly experience. A lot of these are and can be applied in the accounting profession and strategic advisory as a business.
Build lasting relationships
A good first impression on your customers is only a start. Your business will come off as a customer-friendly business when you’re able to change gears to translate the good first impression into a lasting relationship.
- Be genuinely concerned about your client’s opinion and feedback.
- Understand their pain-points
- If there is a way to improve the customer experience with your service and you can find an efficient way to deliver this, your customer will appreciate this.
- If there is an additional Delivery medium/mechanism convenient to your customer or one that adds efficiency, it is totally worth it.
- Nurture conversations that can help explore underlying problems which you can help to solve.
With so little time and so much to do, one thing that interactions often miss is Humanity. Little things like, ‘thank you,’ ‘how have you been’ and actually listening to what your customer has to say means a lot. Even little things like remembering their birthdays, or anniversaries.
When customers want to open a conversation with your brand, they would prefer to engage with real people. Kindness, compassion and appreciation, is not hard and has the added benefit of making both you and your customer feel good.
Not all solutions are instant and your customers know that. These communications can be over Phone calls, text messages or emails and they can help diffuse the anxious waiting time. Regular and clear updates are appreciated more than just “we’re working on it” and left at that till there is a solution. Have a clear message, for instance, you summarise your assessment of the situation, brief course of action and how long it is expected to take to resolve the query.
Deliver the Best Value Possible
Being friendly alone isn’t friendly customer service. If the customer feels the price they are paying for the service is not worth the value of the service, they are unlikely to come back.
A product or service that can make your clients money or save them time and money is a sought after product. The market offers lot more options for customers now than ever. Competing on price is not a great long term strategy, when customers are ready to pay more for a premium service.
Delivering the best value possible equips your marketing strategy with Value demonstration and Customer success stories can help forge positive customer experience and lasting relationship.
Deliver what you promise
Like they say, Practice what you preach and do what you say (or promise). Long-standing relationships are based on trust. In a Customer friendly business, customers feel your services are indispensible for them and their business, and they value what you do. Your experience from similar customer profile can be of value to your other customer interactions. Following up with solutions to what they may need before they identify the problem can be a big plus. The value of your last interaction has a big part in your standing relationship with your customers.
While the whole list of customers are just as important. There may be a few who have been around with you in your journey, show them that extra appreciation. Loyal customers are likely to bring referrals. Little things like knowing them by their name, birthdays or their work anniversary, a small discount are some of the smallest investment with returns beyond measure.
Convenience and accessibility
From meeting your customers to the delivery channels for your service, convenience and ease of access are essential contributors to customer satisfaction.
If there is one good the Pandemic brought, it is the ability to explore and adapt to virtual services that can help with Convenience and ease of access. Businesses have adapted to provide virtual or cloud based services. This powerful interaction mechanism leaves a special “attended-to in real time” feel.
Video tutorials and webinars are great medium for face-to-face interaction and build rapport with your audience. The content you bringing through these avenues can focus on a problem and provide a viable solution for the same that is the kind of content that can build trust while showcasing convenience and accessibility.
Wait Times for Phone calls or other Virtual interactions
If you service your clientele over phones or other virtual meetings minimise the hold times or wait time in the lobby. Your customer’s time is just as important as yours if not more and customers hate the days having to call a service provider to reach out with a question or make a complaint. Hold music is just as annoying as waiting in the lobby or the waiting room of a virtual meeting.
Equip your team
Great customer service is a long-term strategy, it needs the backing of the whole team and not just the leadership team. Employees with values of great customer service instilled in them are an asset to developing a customer friendly business experience.
Right from evaluation stages to their first purchase from your company and the interactions following the purchase needs to leave a positive impact on the customer experience. Employee training is important to set an expected standard in order to achieve the objective.
The product or service in itself is not the only trigger point for your customers to choose you. Listening to your customer’s needs and the value. Time is expensive; Juggling with too many things can impair your ability to engage your customers and delivering your promise. Outsourcing some of your daily tasks can enable you to focus more time and energy on the customer experience you so desire.
Boobalan Madhavan | AccSource | www.accsource.com.au
48/237 Miller Street,
+ 61 406 727061