In today’s, some would say excessively fast paced world, with a constant stream of so many choices thrust at them and with all the technology available to easily access boundless information that is now literally at your customers finger tips, competition for your customers attention and winning their business has never been so fierce!
So, what are you to do?
A good step is to reverse engineer, what do I mean by this? Well too many of us build a business around what we want to deliver and/or what we think our clients want. But have you stepped back lately and asked questions like:
- Would you buy from you, why and/ or why not?
- Are you easy to buy from?
- Do you deliver and leave your customer with a positive experience that would cause them to become a raving fan and shout it to the world?
Even if you think your answer is yes to all three, I think you should consider that working on being easy to buy should be part of your Constant and Never-ending Improvement (CANI) process. It should be part of your regular business reviews, we do regular stock takes, we do EoM financial reports and we do OH&S audits, why not “Easy to buy” surveys.
To help you with this process, here are 5 areas that you can start looking at and working on to help ensure you become the easiest and most pleasant company to do business with.
- Be easy to find.
Do you have a premises that clients can visit and is it easy to find, if not what are you doing to make it easier i.e. in your marketing material do you provide a map and or a reference if you are not in a primary location? Is your building and or street signage clearly visible and attractive? Do you have a website and are you continually working on your SEO (search engine optimisation), are you employing any pay-per-click campaigns and can you be found in local and online directories including your local council business directories?Have you considered/ do you have a Facebook page and if so, do you promote it on your building, on your vehicle signage and on your marketing material?
Be easily reached.
Can you be reached in multiple ways? In person, phone, message bank, email, online chat, contact us page, social media (i.e. twitter and facebook) and when you are busy do you have a good system of dealing with and getting back to impromptu enquiries and/or walk-ins.
In today’s business world you really do need to employ as many options as you can and find effective ways to manage them, as potential customers want to be able to talk to you when they want and in the method they feel most comfortable.
Here’s a little tip as well that we have learned the hard way. Make sure you continually scan or have someone in your business scan your spam mail, we sure do now as we know that we have missed some opportunities in the past as our existing or potential client has just chosen to email us and it has been filtered by our spam mail. Thankfully we have not missed all of them in the past as some clients have chosen to give us a chance and sent a follow-up email to see what has happened to their enquiry.
- Be fast and effective.
How quick do you or can you get back to a clients enquiry? Whether you like it or not we live in a world of instant communication and gratification. The speed and the way in which you can handle a clients enquiry these days is critical to your businesses success. Customers are getting less and less willing to wait for answers to their questions or to get resolutions to their problems because with a click of a mouse button or a touch of a finger on a screen they are off and can seek someone who can and will. I heard one online marketing professional at an event lately say that they think that if you can get back to an email enquiry within the day, you have 80% better chance of winning the client, I think it is fast becoming within the hour if not quicker…
Working from the customer perspective, look at your customer useability of all interactions and processes they need to engage with within your business and do not make your customer jump through any unnecessary hoops to deal with you. Whether this is:
- too many clicks on your website to get to the information they require or to make a purchase
- too many selections on the phone, actually I think if you can make it happen, get a human back on the other end of the phone – it could be argued that is now becoming a point of difference in some industries…
- having them fill our unnecessary questions in a form or paperwork
Where possible you need to be able to deliver your customer what they want, when and where they want it in the easiest way possible resulting with the greatest satisfaction.
Be informativeDeliver and provide valuable content and information that helps add value or provides possible solutions to your customers problems, this can be directly or indirectly related to you products and or services that you provide. By indirectly I mean, it might not have anything to do with your products or services, but it has something to do with the industry, activity or hobby that you client is in. Produce and/or supply white papers, blog articles, case studies, how to videos etc, but don’t get overwhelmed by trying to do them all at once of even all of them at all to begin with but do get started on providing some great content that your customers and prospects will find as added value. Case in point this article on business, we are in the provision of helping our clients with printing and marketing services but this article is business related.
This process does not need to be overwhelming, but you do need to be serious about it and be committed to the process and the change if you want to get ahead of your competition.
Here is some suggestions of how you can start finding out what you need to do to become easier to buy:
- Take your rose coloured glasses off and become a customer of your own business
- Look at how and what your better competitors are doing or providing in the market or the reverse and determine what they aren’t providing that your customers will find valuable and build it in to what you offer.
- Employ an outside secret customer consultant to review your business
- Ask your friends and or colleagues who you trust for a gloves off review and feedback
- Ask your suppliers
Last but I think the most important of all ask your customers shortly after they have made a purchase or better yet, when they did not purchase from you, find out why they didn’t.
Wishing you all the best for business success, and remember, if you’re not actively working on improving the way you do business there is someone else out there who is improving their business and they will potentially take your customers, so take action today and you will be on the path to have clients queuing up at your door.
Director, Same Day Printing.