When most people go into business, they have the idea that they are the boss, and they get to decide how everything works. But in reality, your business should be designed to provide the best possible customer experience for every customer and potential customer. It’s the small things that make a huge difference to your customers, and can completely change how your customers view and talk about your business.
- Before You Start: You use social media for business.
- Learning level: 4 | Creating Solutions
- Article Last Updated: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Running Your Business
When I started my business, I had a lot of ideas about what it would be like. I thought about being my own boss, about how I wanted to run my business, and about how I would treat my clients. Some of those ideas were great, and they helped me to launch a successful business.
But a few of my ideas were just plain wrong. I discovered this the hard way, through failures and setbacks and challenges that I hadn’t been able to anticipate.
A few of my ideas were good, but they were what I wanted, and not what my clients wanted. From the start, my clients started asking me for things that were not the way I wanted to run my business.
Give Them What They Want
For example, one of my clients didn’t like my invoice format. In my invoices, I provided details about the work I completed broken out the way I think about the work. Turns out, my client thought about my work differently, and he wanted to see different details.
I fought making that change for a couple months. But once I made that change, my entire invoicing process got much easier because I no longer got follow up phone calls asking me for those details. I just got paid.
That was an a-ha moment for me. It was the first time I really looked at my business operations from my client’s perspective. Until then, I had been looking at everything from my perspective–what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I thought that was part of the benefit of running my own business–doing things how I want them done.
I was reluctant, at first, to change my operations to suit a client. I felt their request crossed some line, that they were asking too much of me. I felt like I was in a negotiation for how to run my own business, and I wasn’t going to give up control.
It took me a while to really understand that I delivered more than final products to my clients. I soon realized that I was delivering an entire client experience of my business in addition to the products they purchased. And when that happened, a light bulb went on.
The Customer Experience
Starting then, I re-evaluated my business processes to see them from the other side–from the client’s perspective. It was the start of designing my business for the customer experience.
After I started to see my own business from the customer’s perspective, I started to see everyone else’s business from the customer’s perspective. I became focused on the customer experience of every business I encountered. I started paying attention to details like:
- How I’m greeted at the front door (that includes on a website).
- Is it easy to see my choices in products and services?
- Can I complete the purchase quickly after making my choice?
- Do I feel welcome to hang out while I’m deciding if I want to make a purchase?
- Is it easy to get more information about a product or service?
- When I ask questions, do I feel like I’m an interruption?
Social Media And Customer Experience
Social media shines a spotlight on the customer experience of your business. Customers have a way to talk about their experience of your business on social media. They will tell you (and their friends) how they feel about their experience.
The savvy business owners today are asking questions about customer experience. They are asking for feedback from nearly everyone. They use this information to see their business with fresh eyes, and from the customer’s viewpoint. This way, they can proactively make small adjustments to improve the customer experience before they have a negative review on Yelp, or an angry tweet on Twitter, or a frustrated Facebook post.
Your turn: Have you seen your business from your customer’s point of view? Have you started changing your business operations to provide a better customer experience? What have you learned? Share your insights and experience here.