So how easy are you to do business with? I am hoping that your answer to that question is yes, unequivocally yes.
Face it; we are living in a time when there is more happening outside of your business that can impact your ability to be successful. Your customers have more choices than they know what to do with. They can buy anything they want to, wherever they want to, whenever they want to, and they can even buy it with you.
This is a time when you are trying to grow a business, land a new deal, or build your bottom line, yet you have so little you can control, so little you can impact. So how do you succeed in a marketplace like that?
You remove as many obstacles to doing business with you as possible. See, even if you market correctly, even if you have a better marketing pitch than your competitors, even if you have done everything you can to get customers to choose you over the competition. They ultimately do; if you put an obstacle in the way for any reason, they will opt out; they will go elsewhere to buy the product they want.
You did everything right, but you can still lose the business. We are living in a time when consumers are in the driver’s seat, and if you want to get control back, you need to make sure you have every roadblock and obstacle out of the way.
Not quite convinced? Think about a buying experience you have had where you did just that. Ever get hopelessly lost in a phone tree? Ever had to repeat your challenge or desire two or three times to the same company who just keeps passing you to another customer service rep? Ever been looking endlessly on a company’s website for a phone number or email just to get to ask a simple question?
Sure you have, and what did you do? How did you respond? Well, depending on your level of frustration, if it was bad enough, you moved on. That’s right; you bought the product you wanted from someone other than your first choice.
So if you’ll do it – so will your customers. You need to be easy to do business with, ridiculously easy to do business with.
Here are the four strategies you need to implement now.
1. Ask Your Customers – begin with the natural step of asking your customers, talking with them, and asking them how easy you are to do business with. Well, not directly. Ask them things like – what do they like about doing business with you? What don’t they like? If you could do one thing to make it a better experience, what would that be and why? If you want to know how to make the customer experience better, ask the customer.
2. Take a Tour – become your customer. Nothing is more enlightening (and frightening) than being a customer in your own business. Walk through your business both online and in person to get a feel for what it is like from the other side. Get on your website and try to make an appointment or find a price. Walk in and see how well you are greeted or how easy it is to find information. When you see what your customers see and experience what they experience, you will find ways to make things easier and more accessible.
3. Pay Attention – to customer complaints, frustrations, and most importantly, when you lose a customer to your competitors. Rather than get angry about it, or make excuses, listen, really listen. When customers complain, they are telling you what they need to continue to choose you over the competition. Consider it a gift and your fastest path to growth and profitability.
4. Review & Adjust – and last but not least, never stop. Review your customers’ experience, listen to their complaints, and continue to look for ways to make it easier and easier to do business with you.
Look, these are challenging economic times, and you can’t just get a few things right; you need to do everything right. The easier you are to do business with, the more customers will choose you, and the more often you will leave your competition in the dust.