Three ways to ensure your customers have a good experience

Sacramento Business Journal  /  Publish Date: Friday, September 28, 2012, 3:00am PDT

Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to get customers to walk through the door but don’t seem to notice when customers walk out planning never to return.

Here’s a great example: I was on my way back from a late client meeting and figured frozen yogurt might be the perfect substitute for dinner. The newly opened shop looked fairly clean and modern inside, but I was astounded that the glass on the entry door was covered in grime, grease and goo from a hundred little (and not so little) hands. The self-serve yogurt machines also were caked with finger prints and yogurt residue.

After all of the human and financial capital expended to open the shop, it was astonishing to see how seemingly unimportant the customer experience was to the owners.

Companies invest so much money to build their brands with creative logos and advertisements but often forget that what truly enhances and builds a brand is the “brand experience.” The brand experience is made up of every point of brand interaction that your customer or prospect has with your company.

The points of brand interaction (or PoBI’s) are all of the brand touch points surrounding your target audience or client experience. From your website, social media, ads and press releases, to the way you answer the phone, it’s the overall experience someone has with your brand.

And a company’s brand is only as good as the weakest link or, in marketing lingo, it is only as good as every point of brand interaction your audience or prospect experiences. It’s the little things that make a huge difference to how your products and services are positioned and perceived in the marketplace. The three key tenets to remember when trying to grow and build your business are look up, clean up and pick up.

Look up

Walk through every point of brand interaction for your business. Essentially, you need to put yourself in your client’s or customer’s shoes. Approach your business like a customer would.

Or better yet, approach your business like your competitor would — and be critical. You’d be amazed at what you’ll find. Go to your website. Is it easy to navigate, does it really represent your brand? Be a secret shopper and call your store, franchise, office, etc. How is your experience?

Clean up

I went to a winery recently and the wine was great and the people were amazing! However, the outside of the place left a lot to be desired. It was cluttered and unappealing. It doesn’t cost a lot to put up some lattice and hide your clutter. Inside, the place was nice enough, yet behind the counter was a untidy and cluttered mess.

Again, if your customer can see it, it’s part of your brand experience. Are you delivering the brand experience you want?

Pick up

In addition to picking up that clutter, pick up your phone. It sounds so incredibly simple yet most — yes most —businesses don’t do this. One of the easiest ways to differentiate your business is to simply answer the phone.

Almost every business touts customer service yet dumps their clients and customers into voicemail. It’s such a simple way to differentiate a small business from other small businesses and from the big guys, too.

No, you don’t need millions of dollars to differentiate your brand. Just look up, clean up and pick up, and you’d be amazed at what that will do for your brand experience. Improve your brand experience and improve your business!

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© 2012 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved

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