Customer buying decisions are influenced by many things, from price to productivity.
However, one point is universal - and that's a positive customer experience.
That old saying about 'the customer always being right', is as relevant today as it has ever been. While it's always nice to get a thank you or positive feedback, you shouldn't need to, because you are only delivering what you promised.
Customer experience is one of the biggest factors influencing sales, so focus on delivering a positive one in 2017.
Positive Customer Experience Can Make Or Break You
Nothing spreads faster than a bad review. If you want your business to grow and be successful in 2017, make sure every customer experience you deliver is perfect.
Sure, things sometimes go wrong but that, too, can be turned around into a positive. Be honest, be apologetic and go out of your way to put things right. That will be remembered and talked about.
Remember, good customer service isn't an add-on. It should be an integral part of your business philosophy.
Focus On Value, Not Price
When your sales are suffering, avoid the knee-jerk reaction of slashing prices. A better approach is to try adding value instead. As much as everybody loves a bargain, people also value quality.
Value-adding will enhance that positive customer experience. Research shows that customers will pay more for an item they believe to be better made, or better presented. Add value through excellent after-sales, VIP specials, email marketing and newsletters, and special offers.
Don't Be Afraid Of Customer Feedback
It's easy to think that customers will only comment when things go wrong, but that's not the case. People love to comment - and they are especially pleased when their feedback is acknowledged.
Having channels through which customers can provide feedback creates a sense of transparency and community. Customer feedback will also help you understand how they compare your products to others.
Always respond to feedback quickly, utilize ideas, and take action if the feedback is negative.
Sometimes when a customer is unhappy, they just want that acknowledged. They just need a 'sorry' and an explanation, and they will remain your customer.
Negative Customer Experiences Cost Money
Bad customer service costs businesses more than $338 billion every year. In fact, poor customer service is one of the main reasons why businesses go bust.
Simple good manners, great service, a smile and attention-to-detail costs very little. Your biggest cost will be investing in excellent staff training so that everybody understands the importance of a positive customer experience.
Drive Brand Loyalty
Putting your energy into creating positive customer experiences in 2017 will help you build brand awareness and brand loyalty. And that is the surest way to build success.
Of course, you want to build customer numbers, but retaining the ones you have is even more important. Partly because they will continue to spend money, but also because they can become your greatest ambassadors.
Nurturing customer relations is like nurturing a plant. Give it what it needs and keep it happy, and it will continue to flourish.
And remember, "customer" is a broad term. It doesn't always mean the person who walks into your shop to buy something. It also means the other stores and businesses, manufacturers and agencies with whom you work.
Identify your customer groups and regularly review your performance. This is crucial, allowing you to work towards constant improvement.
If you are serious about improving sales through creating more positive customer experiences in 2017, it's time to take action!
There are a variety of ways in which you can achieve this, from audits to mystery shoppers, and professional help will get you started.