The day of the hard sell is over. These days, customers are wary of companies who try the same tactics over and over again to force a product or service down their throat. With the rise of social media, consumers have become savvier, and are looking for that extra something from their shopping choice. Revenue may still be important for you as a business, but if you’re not thinking about the entire process, you are setting yourself up for a fall.
What you want to implement if you want to succeed as a company (and see your sales skyrocket) is the customer experience strategy.
What is the customer experience and why is it so important?
There used to be a time when the word “experience” was reserved for things such as high-end boutiques. Shoppers with the cash to splash would pay through the nose for a more rarefied treatment. They paid for the premium of both the product and the service. These days, however, customers expect the same rarefied treatment every time they shop, whether it is the latest hot trend in fashion products or car insurance. Experience is more important than ever in the current consumer market.
Focusing on the customer experience is one way to increase your bottom line. Think of it this way – customers have more choice than ever these days. They can get the service or item they’re looking for from a local shop, “big box” store or an online giant. And with online purchases, the product could be coming from the other side of the world. This increase in competition that has come about in the past couple of decades means that companies who are looking to gain the edge need to distinguish themselves in alternative ways.
When people make purchases today, they want the item or service they’re acquiring to make them feel a certain way. For example, they’ll choose a coffee shop where the staff are friendly and who offer them something extra with their morning coffee. Or they’ll eat at one restaurant over another one selling the same type of food down the road because the waiters look like they’re enjoying their jobs.
Clearly, it’s not the product that influences someone’s purchasing decisions; it may be pretty much the same despite the label on it. Rather, it is the experience that makes all the difference. Whilst a consumer may want to purchase the product, they want to do it in an atmosphere that feels right for them. This holds true across every sector of the market, whether it’s a local burger joint or an online fashion store – people like to shop in places that make them feel good.
Why the customer experience? Word-of-mouth marketing
There is one simple, undeniable fact in the world of marketing, and that is that you can’t beat word of mouth to spread a message. Once you get the ball rolling by putting a message out there and people start talking about it, what comes after is basically free real estate. The best word-of-mouth marketing starts with a positive customer experience. After all, who would you trust more? A pushy salesperson who’s working on commission, or a valued friend or family member who’s raving about their new cappuccino machine on social media?
Any company that chooses to focus on providing the best experience to each and every customer has a golden opportunity to earn free marketing. Customers who are satisfied with a product will usually share it with their friends and followers. In this digital age, all your company needs is one heartfelt post on social media to gain the attention and curiosity of a hundred or more potential customers.
Keeping the focus on customer experience is an effective strategy on many fronts. Not only does it cost less to retain a customer than bring on new customers (think a decrease in initial advertising, lead generation, etc), it also saves money on marketing. By creating organic “brand ambassadors” who then talk about their brand experience online, it makes it exponentially easier for your company. All you have to do is continue to provide the same level of excellent customer experience to every potential prospect or existing customer who materializes.
In conclusion: Reduce the sales pattern and concentrate on what your product gives to the customer
In today’s world, new sales don’t necessarily come from adverts and pitches. To sell more, your company’s message must adapt and move away from the sell, sell, sell mindset of yesterday’s business environment. Chances are that the consumer has already made their mind up by the time they chat to one of your representatives or click on your website. By focusing on the customer experience, you can ensure that the choice they have made is to purchase your product.
The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, we are your go-to resource for small business news, expert advice, information, and event coverage.
While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest business news know-how from Atlanta Small Business Network.