The number of entrepreneurs has grown substantially since Covid first hit, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. In 2020, the Harvard Business Review found that small businesses made up 43% of the gross domestic product (GDP), while also accounting for nearly 50% of all jobs in the United States. The Kauffman Foundation recently revealed that almost 70% of entrepreneurs who created new businesses in 2020 did so not by necessity but by choice.
These numbers are significant and signal a shift in the way small business owners must operate to gain traction in a crowded market.
For small businesses, attracting and retaining customers is far more challenging than it is for their mid-market and enterprise-level competitors. So, how can small business owners separate their products and services from the herd?
By providing a winning customer experience (CX).
Here are some immediate and long-term benefits of a great CX strategy:
- Lead generation
- Increase in sales
- Customer retention
- Word-of-mouth marketing
- Brand authority
GET TO (REALLY) KNOW CUSTOMERS
Stop obsessing over the competition. While it’s important to keep a constant pulse on the market, business leaders need to remember that what works for one company’s customer base may not hold true for another. Instead of copying a competitor, gather invaluable information from things like data analytics, customer reviews, and community forums to truly understand what customers want. Providing personalized experiences is a surefire way to help build brand trust.
DOUBLE DOWN ON DESIGN
Customers have limitless options in today’s market, and they won’t think twice before switching to a competitor if their preferred brand is no longer meeting expectations. Small businesses can differentiate themselves by taking a design-forward approach when creating customer experiences. Keeping design at the forefront allows businesses to create positive, holistic experiences that focus on humans and not just data sets.
OVERCOMMUNICATE WHEN NEEDED
Automated emails and chatbots may have their time and place, but these touchpoints won’t cut it when something goes wrong. It’s no secret that, over the last two years, the supply chain has been a nightmare for all industries, with no end to the issues in sight. When delays happen, business leaders can help keep the customer experience positive through clear, consistent, and human-focused communication. This might mean hopping on an old-fashioned phone call or sending a personalized message with helpful information, such as the reason for the delay and tracking information if/when possible. Companies should also demonstrate data history and trends, and forecast what customers might expect in the short, medium, and long term.
SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCES START WITH EMPLOYEES
Your CX is a high priority and must be constantly and consistently maintained. But customers aren’t the only driving factor behind a business’s success. While working toward improving the customer experience, it’s critical that small business leaders continue to focus on the employee experience with just as much enthusiasm. Companies that create purpose-driven experiences for their teams will help foster trust, reduce job-related stress, strengthen loyalty, and fuel growth for the organization.
Note: This article was originally published on 20Fathoms.