You know you WANT to make sure customers have a great experience, but how do you actually make this happen in a small business?

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I find it so frustrating!

Every business advisor or start up support system will state some or all of the following:

  • You need to make sure your customer gets good service
  • You need to ensure you have energetic, enthusiastic and motivated employees
  • You need to build business by asking for referrals
  • You need to make sure you get ‘good’ customers to give you reviews
  • You need to handle complaints properly
  • You need to continually build your reputation so customers are attracted to you
  • You need to build cross sales, up sales and repeat sales form existing customers
  • You need to continually innovate and grow

The problem is if you’re like me you want to shout:

YES, I KNOW THIS BUT GIVE ME A BREAK! I’M BUSY ENOUGH JUST KEEPING THE BUSINESS RUNNNG DAY TO DAY AND IT ISN’T HELPING ME TO BE TOLD ALL THESE BLOODY OBVIOUS THINGS THAT I’M STRUGGLING TO GET AROUND TO

And:

IF YOU COULD PERHAPS STOP PREACHING AT ME AND TELLING ME ALL THE THINGS I ‘SHOULD’ BE DOING BUT CAN’T SEEM TO GET ROUND TO, AND INSTEAD HELP ME BY SUPPLYING A FEW SIMPLE SYSTEMS AND STEPS TO GET ME STARTED THEN PERHAPS I MIGHT BE ABLE TO START DOING SOME OF THESE THINGS!

The trouble is that you’ll never get this help from ‘normal’ business advisers!

They’ll perhaps give you the odd tip or idea, but mostly they’ll trot out the same old same old ‘traditional’ business advice.

DON’T PUT UP WITH THIS ANY LONGER!

Here’s an outline ‘Action Plan’ from my book ‘Great or Poor’ to help you get started and actually take some #action!

(And by the way’ C&CI [email protected] means: Consistent and continually improving customer experience!’)

…………………………………………………..

If you do anything from reading this blog, consider doing the following;

  • Try clarifying your customer focused mission: start thinking about it, start discussing it in meetings and start making it work in your business.
  • Look at your systems and processes systematically. Try and say to yourself: are these exceeding (or even meeting) my customers’ REAL needs? Are these going to deliver C&CI CX? Are they going to build trust and make life easier for our customers? Do they make the customer feel valued? Will they make us systemically go the extra inch? Because if the answer to any of those is no, then C&CI CX will only ever be a distant dream.
  • Put an effective and empowering communications process in place that will help you build ’greatness’. And stick to it like glue. (And stop having some of those boring and pointless meetings that you’ve ’always had’!)
  • Try to lead by example. Whatever your role in the organisation, lead by example. Good examples are catching. You could have a huge effect. Just do it!
  • Empower people by teaching this material, . The best way to learn something is to teach it. You have everything here you need to enable you to do this. If you want extra help or to be licensed to deliver this officially, please contact us: we’ll be happy to try and help you.
  • Start measuring and having regular ’Go the Extra Inch’ sessions across the business! I think we’ve covered this enough already …

Whatever you do, going forward from here, in the same way that you employ an Accountant to ensure you get your books right,

You may need someone to make you stay on track with this,

You may need a ‘C&CI CX champion’, and perhaps even a ‘C&CI CX director’. Even if it’s just you or the dog: someone has to have this role!

Whilst C&CI CX is everyone’s responsibility, it will help to have someone responsible for promulgating it and encouraging consistent actions and improvement. It will help even more to appoint an external coach (and, of course, we can help you with this): you have to have someone to support you to make this work.

This is far too important to leave to chance and if you do leave it to chance, I can guarantee you that ’normal life’ will take over and most of this material will go out of the window.

This is a holistic approach:

  • The customer experience comes from the actions that you take.
  • Your actions derive from the processes and systems that you have in your organisation.
  • Those processes and systems derive from the strategy.
  • The strategy derives from beliefs: your personal beliefs, and the beliefs of the organisation.

Whatever your beliefs are … you’ll be right:

If you believe this is ’too hard’ or you’re ‘too busy’ or you ‘haven’t got time’, you’ll be right.

If you believe this is common sense and ’worth a try’, you’ll be right.

Let’s hope you have the 2nd belief: the essential thing is to make a start … no matter how small. Then keep reviewing and evolving.

It’s ideal to work it the whole way through and take a completely holistic approach, but this may be too much to chew to start with.

Remember the following proverbs:

  • No farmer ever ploughed his field by turning it over in his mind
  • A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step

Use the Japanese manufacturing technique of ’Kaizen’: small steps, involving all people, resulting in continuous ongoing improvement, produces huge progress over time … in fact, if you do it any other way, you’ll just lurch about and have inconsistent progress (at best).

The key is to simply start SOMEWHERE and then just keep going, using your regular ’Go the Extra Inch sessions’ as your key driver (it’s like riding a bike: you have to keep pedalling!)

Don’t worry: wherever you start, do it obsessively and with integrity because at least if you start something it will have an effect. If you don’t start it and you give up it is only you that will suffer, it’s your integrity that will take a bash.

Here are the key steps that most of our customers take:

  1. Study the principles – hooray! You’ve done this!
  2. Sign up to the weekly email and blog at www.slow-selling.org  
  3. Book a couple of hours discussion / coaching with us
  4. Get us in for a day in your business to do a ‘Business Surgery’
  5. Training and coaching and as when needed
  6. Repeat the ‘Business Surgery’ on a regular (usually annual) basis

But please don’t do nothing, because remember:

you are not in control of your business, your customers are.

Whether you like it or not, your customers are already talking about you, either directly to their friends or, and of course now much more common and infinitely more powerful, on the internet and through social media.

The internet is empowering your customer unlike anything before or anything imaginable and it happens at the speed of light.

You can either use this fact to your advantage or let it happen without you.

Your business is now completely transparent … and your CFM, and the behaviours it produces will ultimately determine what customers say about you to their friends.

Your challenge is to make sure that whatever is being said about you is ’great’ on an ongoing basis.  If you can achieve excellence in this area, word of mouth will market your business in a phenomenal way and deliver a stream of pre-sold leads and success to you.

If you don’t, then you’re skating on thin ice at best … and, at worst, your customers can ruin your reputation overnight.

And you need to do all of this whilst juggling the day-to-day pressures and dealing with people who are not superheroes, they’re just ordinary like you and me. There is no magic wand. There is no quick fix. But there IS an answer.

Remember Ray Kroc’s quote from McDonalds:

‘If you want extraordinary results from ordinary people, you need extraordinary systems’

Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.

Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … all without sacrificing principles or profits.

To find out more, please click here

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