Computer says no
With it being now easier than ever to launch a business, it seems that the ubiquitous website or app is one of the first stages that a company takes in launching itself. whilst I agree that a website and possibly an accompanying app is important to have, I believe there are three key aspects to launching a business that are sometimes overlooked and take precedence over a fancy website or app.
- Making sure your product or service does what it says on the tin and works properly
- Helping to ensure your customer knows what they’re doing with your product/service
- Making sure that the customer experience meets and hopefully exceeds the demands of your customer
I’m constantly amazed by the assumptions that entrepreneurs and business owners/leaders allow in their businesses when it comes to these three key points. It is hard to argue that “customer and product fit” are not the keys to a successful business and yet I see and experience a constant level of disappointment when it comes to the servicing of customers.
The market is littered with examples of “how not to do it”. The majority of us have experienced products and services that don’t work, contain assumptions that you know what you’re doing and we’ve all bought products and services that fall short of our expectations. Just consider the last time you changed utility providers. Even the sketch on the TV show Little Britain, made a skit on just this subject. So why do we not learn from this?
One of the most frequent complaints I hear about is simply the absence of a published telephone number or even basic contact information, so a customer can call if they need to. I wonder what kind of mindset has led the person in charge of marketing to decide not to make a phone number or an email address available to a customer. I have my suspicions and they are mainly based around making it easier for the supplier to do business and not the customer.
I think many entrepreneurs imagine a world where customers will be breaking down the doors and stepping over each other to buy their products and services. They will simply see your website/service and decide to buy it there and then, just hand over their money, not mind waiting indefinitely for the product and never get in touch again unless they want to buy more of it or even something else. They just expect to grow the company with minimal customer contact… is this you?
If you haven’t thought through your customer experience and perhaps even walked in the shoes of your customers, then you are missing a vital component in your business. Try mystery shopping your own business and see what the experience is like. How easy is it? How can you make it better for the customer?
The results of poor customer experiences end with the customer “voting with their feet” or in the case of an online business “voting with their fingers”. Consequently, you will find it harder to grow and scale your company and hang on to your customers. On the other hand, by creating an optimal customer experience and making it easy for the customer to do business with you, this is just going to deliver growth in your business & better, happier and longer lasting customers.
I think a back-to-basics approach is what is required….