Customer loyalty has always been crucial for small businesses, but with today’s over-saturation of options and alternatives, you especially need an edge. Thankfully, gaining the advantage doesn’t require a rework of your product lineup or a total rebrand. Small businesses can gain a competitive advantage by prioritizing customer care and experience. Earn market share, cement loyalty, and boost satisfaction by rethinking your customers’ journey and keeping them coming back for more.
1. Make Working With You a Breeze
For all of the good that technology has created, it’s also increased customer expectations. That’s why your small business should work to eliminate anything that gets in the way of your customer’s ability to complete transactions. Compare against leaders in your category to get an idea of what your buyers may have come to expect. Consider the marketplace at a global scale, as major retailers and experiences often set the tone for all purchasing experiences.
Review your checkout process, examining any points of friction that make it disjointed. Integrate secure purchase technology like Shop Pay, which skips several steps for the customer. Add appointment scheduling software that gives customers the opportunity to book with you on their schedule. By mirroring the experience they have at work, where schedule availability is easily accessible, you increase bookings and reduce no-shows.
Enhance your customer service line experience by integrating artificial intelligence and a streamlined interactive voice response system. Condense the welcome message and use machine learning to identify callers by number and their purchase history. Use this technology to pre-route calls without unnecessary menu options or a runaround.
2. Anticipate Your Customers’ Needs and Wants
Data is your best friend when it comes to knowing what your customers want, even before they do. Dig into your company’s sales archives to identify themes and purchase histories, refining results to influence product suggestions. Use your e-commerce platform to suggest products and those that pair well with whatever is on screen. Make it easy with a quick “add to cart” option in a preview window, reducing the need to navigate away to a new screen. Doing so can reduce the risk of total cart abandonment and increase total purchases.
Utilize customer account data to send relevant reminders, information, and education that adds value. If a cosmetic product is estimated to last two months, send a repurchase campaign two weeks in advance. Provide a pre-populated cart in your message, making it easy for your customer to check off a to-do list item.
Anticipate potential questions by doing more than outfitting your website with a comprehensive FAQ page. Take customer feedback and questions into account when developing your post-purchase and nurture campaigns. Schedule your email campaign delivery to sync with standard product delivery, boosting value and relevance. Integrate product use tips, proactive education, and troubleshooting to improve product utilization and satisfaction early. By anticipating your customers’ needs, you show that you know, understand, and care about their success.
3. Act on Customer Feedback Large and Small
Your team may already have a response protocol for customer inquiries, but what would it look like to go above and beyond? Pivot from a response-based customer care approach and sync up with all points of customer feedback. Web analytics can reveal your site’s rate of page abandonment, which can indicate navigation issues. A high cart abandonment rate may show that your process is too complex or that your products — or shipping fees — are overpriced.
Be relentlessly curious about what customer-generated data may mean and get the right teams working on it. Assemble a cross-functional group of employees with representation from across the business. Charge them with presenting their findings and identifying potential strategies to improve outcomes. Get granular with the data, mining product reviews, social media chatter, and call center notes in addition to quantitative data.
Make responding to every piece of feedback the gold standard, but right-size the response for its impact. Logging a piece of feedback counts, as it helps develop a baseline for what information matters to your customers. Develop scripts for navigating challenging feedback, which supports agents on the phone and creates consistency on online platforms. Acknowledge your customers’ concerns, provide solutions when you can, and listen. When you do, you’ll underscore how much you appreciate their loyalty and add value to your customer relationship.
Making Every Customer Feel Like a VIP
Cut through the noise of a saturated marketplace by leading with customer service. When your team treats each one of your customers like a VIP, everything falls into place. Your front-line service representatives can come through with solutions to your customers’ immediate problems. Your product development team knows your buyers’ innate needs and pain points, so they’re already designing solutions. The marketing and communications departments can spend more time working on anticipating what customers might need to know than blatantly selling.
Adopt a company-wide manifesto or mantra that makes every customer think they’re your No. 1. Set aside purchase rankings, as every purchaser deserves top-level service and has the potential to become a high-value client. Ramp up your customer care, convey gratitude with every sale, and strive to deliver value for your customers each day. When you do, you’ll earn customer loyalty, respect, and market share by going the extra mile with service.