One of the key reasons that businesses fail to generate sales or boost sales in the long term is a lack of insight on the customer experience. Understanding the customer journey and enhancing the customer experience helps inform and inspire purchasing decisions. If small businesses want to improve the sales process and generate more revenue, the best place to start is enhancing the customer experience.
Why Customer Experience Matters
The customer experience is important to any business, but this is especially true for small businesses that rely in large part upon repeat customers to build the brand and increase revenue. The sales process, from start to finish, should focus on a complete and beneficial customer experience. When customers have a favorable experience, whether buying, using, or returning a product, it's a win for the business because it offers a positive image for the brand. When any part of that experience is unfavorable, it's a loss for the company.
That one customer's experience can mushroom as the individual shares their negative impression of the brand with friends, family, and co-workers. This is particularly devastating to a brand because it creates a negative image of the company among individuals who have never even interacted with the brand themselves. So, mastering the customer experience is important to the sales process, but what steps can small businesses take to optimize that experience?
How to Optimize the Customer Experience
The customer experience is going to be different for each small business based upon both the industry it works within and the products/services it offers. However, there are concrete steps that can be implemented today to help master the customer experience and ensure that each consumer engagement with the brand results in an interaction that leaves them with a positive view of the brand. Consider the following steps:
Listen: It's important to the success of the sales process that employees are active listeners. Whether consumers are buying, returning, or simply seeking troubleshooting help, they want to know they're being heard. Staff should focus on active listening to really understand the problem point/pain of the consumer and offer solutions that fix that problem, rather than trying to sell consumers on something that doesn't provide a solution.
Inform: Whether small businesses use a website as a sole connection point in the sales process or to augment brick-and-mortar sales, it's important to maintain a site that is user-friendly and informative. In addition to optimizing the site for mobile interactions, it should be easy to navigate, appealing to the eye, and comprehensive when it comes to describing how a product/service solves consumer problems.
Invite Feedback: In truth, no company can understand how the customer experience is working without inviting feedback from customers. As a small business owner, face-to-face interactions with customers is a great way to gain feedback on what works and doesn't in the sales process. Websites and social media pages can also be used to elicit feedback from customers. Engaging with customers regarding feedback offers a means of improving the customer experience in and of itself. Timely responses show consumers the brand understands their feedback and acknowledges that inquiries are important to the company.
Be Consistent: Ensure that all employees involved in the sales process and marketing materials used in the sales process present a consistent message to the consumer. Doing so improves the customer experience by streamlining it and avoiding confusion in the mind of customers.
Read More: Optimizing Call Experience to Increase Sales
The customer experience is vital to the smooth movement and successful conclusion of any sales process. Implementing the above steps can help any small business master the customer experience and promote a positive image of the brand.