Hooray SOI finally has a new website! It’s not completely perfect yet – there are still some little tweaks to be made here and there, but it’s significantly better than our old one – which to be fair served its purpose well, but it had more than served its time.

However, our new site took a considerable length of time to get up and running.  And there were plenty of things that happened along the way that I’d have preferred had happened differently, including our customer experience.

It got me thinking about our experience as a customer vs the experience we give our customers. We, just as you probably do, like to think that we give our clients a great customer experience. But what is it that makes difference between experiences? And does it really matter? Isn’t business just a numbers game anyway?

Surely good enough, is well, good enough? Well actually no.

The kind of experience you have as a customer really matters. Bad experiences mean you not only take your business elsewhere, you’ll tell others along the way. And if your customers are having merely good, not great, experiences – that’s not too special either.

Did you know research has shown that customers who have a merely good experience are 68% more likely to drift to your competitors than those who had a great experience? That’s a big hole on your revenue line if it’s not fixed asap.

So what is it then that makes for a great customer experience?

Aside from doing what you said you’d do (which is just expected), here are my top four tips.

1.Always, Always, Always Look At What They’re Buying From You From Your Customer’s Viewpoint

That way you can deliver what they really need. For example, a customer doesn’t buy shoes per se – otherwise any shoes would do, they’re buying foot protection, speed, comfort or feeling stylish. The type, brand and price varies widely depending on which of those you’re focusing on and which the client is most willing to pay for.

Our ‘product’ is office space, admin services and phone answering. Yet our clients actually buy, among other things, sanctuary, work-overload sanity and professional polish. If we know they’re buying professional polish – that’s what we have to deliver – every single time, without fail. Even better, if it’s all delivered with a smile and a little interested conversation on the side too. For our website – we bought speedy help to inform and help us get a bit of a tough scary project up – we got hard work and lots of blame.

2.Treat Your Customer Like A Friend

After all, people buy (and keep buying) from people they know, like and trust – in other words someone they know has their best interests at heart. If a friend asked for help, you’d give it. If you had to have a hard conversation with a friend, you’d do it respectfully, with the best of intentions and a real interest in the outcome. If you need to apologise, you do it quickly. Do the same with your clients and they’ll love you for life.

Sometimes a client might overstep the mark – often times unwittingly. Don’t get ‘het up’, advise them – respectfully, with the intention of bettering the relationship and an interest in the outcome. Of course there may be some who take the mickey repeatedly – but they’re not really a friend now are they.

3.Take The Initiative And Make It Easy For Them

When clients or customers hire you, especially when it’s around some kind of service provision – they’re expecting you’re going to make their lives, business or personal, easier in some way.

So why is it that some businesses expect the client to do all the work to kick-start or drag a project across the finish line.

Really, if the client had the level of expertise they’ve hired you for – they’d likely do it themselves. So why on earth would you expect the customer to guide the process you’re an expert in or wait for them to get your process started or finished for that matter. Have it be easy – right from the start.

4.As Often As You Can, Go A Step Beyond What They Expect

and watch how surprised and delighted they’ll be. Not only will your client think you’re great, they’ll often share their surprise with others too. Best of all, you’ll probably have an even better day basking in the warm glow of delighted customers.

At SOI, we have lots amazing wonderful clients and frankly I’m thankful that I get to help and learn from such great people each day.

I’m sure there are plenty more tips that you can think of that take customers’ experience from okay to amazing. Please feel free to share below. I’d love it if you followed me on twitter or you can connect with me via LinkedIn