It’ll be news to nobody, but the world is continually changing. It’s a different time now, even compared to just a few months ago.
And that has had major effects on the economy, and the B2C and B2B customer experience.
One of the effects is that many businesses have generated less revenue. Therefore, less investments are done – most organizations are keeping a close eye on their cash positions.
This requires entrepreneurs, the sales organization, marketing, and operations to do things differently. However, one fact remains the same: Your customers and clients still trust you to deliver a great customer experience.
Even without any current projects, you still must deal with their non-conscious perception of you, as their supplier. Customer experience is still an important factor!
In short: How can you, in this new day and age, continually improve the customer experience of your clients and contacts?
Customer Experience tip 01: Ensure operational stability
It sounds like a no-brainer, and it is. Make sure that all current business is handled perfectly. That means that you honor your commitments, that delivery goes as planned, but also that billing and PO-numbers are handled perfectly.
You don’t want your clients to think: “Hey, wait a minute. Sure, things are in movement, but now my supplier’s operations are no longer functioning!” That does not offer any trust for future dealings.
Customer Experience tip 02: Do not give away freebies on social media
We’ve seen much of it lately, especially on social media such as LinkedIn. Every coach, consultant, trainer, and B2B supplier is throwing principles overboard and starts handing out discounts or free consultations. This has a few downsides.
Firstly: Many people will take you up on those freebies because they’ll want it quickly and for nothing. Why is that unfavorable? Well, when they become impressed with what you do and how you do that, they’ll non-consciously expect you to keep on doing it for free. You’re setting the bar. This is how the non-conscious brain deals with ‘value’: Something costs something, or something costs nothing. Any changes are very difficult to process, and free has no value.
Secondly: The customers who’ve known you before the current situation had to pay for the same products and services. They’ve done so in the past, and now, apparently, those same services are without value. What message are you sending to your current customers? What effect do you think this has on their customer experience?
Of course, you can still give away freebies on LinkedIn and other social media but let that be a standard part of your marketing efforts. Do not tie those freebies to the current situation.
Customer Experience tip 03: Keep talking to your customers!
The most insane thing you can do right now, is to start ignoring your customers and clients. Even though, in many organizations, all hands are on deck, that doesn’t mean that you can start forgetting about your customers. Sure, there is distraction everywhere. Loads of things to take care of so that your organization can keep a level head.
But if you are not investing in the relationships between your organization and the organizations of your clients, ask yourself this question: Will they be back later, for this kind of customer experience?
Keep in touch with your clients. And by the way – the conversations you have with them don’t have to be that different from before.
Talk about their business: How are things now? What’s different? What has temporarily changed? Will they expect a return to the way things were? What things will be handled differently in the future?
This is also why you should engage with them about their clients: What is different there? Structurally, or temporarily? What effects does this situation have on the delivery to their clients? How is the business going? What can you do, to improve their business to their clients?
In short: There is always something to talk about! No matter how crazy the current situation gets, every change provides the possibility to engage in conversation. Use that possibility to improve your customer experience.
Customer Experience tip 04: Surprise your customers!
This is where it gets interesting. If you can creatively surprise your clients, then you are able to differentiate from the competition! Use the changing situation to handle your business differently.
What are conversational topics that your customer does not expect from you? (It may surprise you, but Tip 03 can be quite surprising!) How can you build your personal relationship with the customers? What are new concepts to develop, that can directly provide value to your customers, without an investment up front? Are there any new books that have provided you with great insights? Send those to your customers!
Is there a personal message, a thank you note for instance, that you can send to your customers? Thank them for their continuing trust and send that message in a hand-written letter or note.
How often do you receive hand-written letters or notes? Probably never. And neither does your customer. So how surprising could that be?
Opportunities enough to surprise your customers and clients. And it doesn’t even have to be expensive or grand. A small gesture can be enough to dramatically improve the customer experience of your clients and customers.
The impact you have on the customer experience of your clients and customers can be greater than you might imagine. Especially when you consider that, during these strange times, you can surprise them. How can you further improve the customer experience? Discuss that with your tea
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Written by Stephan Annema, partner at martijnschaap.com.