In recent research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), results reveal that of businesses started four years ago, 60 percent are no longer in business. Fewer than Half of those that do surviving are profitable. The reasons for this are certainly multi-faceted. However, there's one common mistake that people as small-business owners make, and that's simply not understanding the difference between customer experience and customer service.
This one fundamental piece of knowledge can alter the trajectory of your business success. Many of us, when we wake up one day and decide, “Gosh, darn it, I will quit my job and be my own boss,” then only leave room to think about things such as what will I sell, where will I sell it and for how much will I sell it for. We convince ourselves that we're all our own version of Kevin Costner within our own version of Field of Dreams. So, we build it and we wait for the crowds to come and, when they do, we will smile, we will greet them and become helpful and they will love what we should built, and we will spend our days hitting home runs.
But this isn't business reality. We instinctively understand good customer support, but the reality is that just being friendly and helpful is not enough. No one will come just because you have good service if everything pre and post that is not equally considered, valued, or experienced.
This is where the concept of a “customer experience (CX)” is necessary. You want to make a home run? You would like the crowds? You want the adoration and also the legacy beyond 4 years of struggle town? You will want to dust off your kit and prepare to hit some balls into the park of CX.
Customer experience at its core may be the sum of all the experiences your visitors (internally and externally) experience when interacting with your business. This starts before they can know they need you to as soon as they find you, choose you, spend with you and then even beyond never using you again. It is all-encompassing and customer service plays only one part in this rendition of your Field of Dreams. A significant part? Yes, but only one part. What we should need to do is educate ourselves on what it takes to deliver a rigorous, value-driven customer experience from the outside in. “What does that even mean?” I hear you say.
- Start together with your target audience. Ask them what they want. Ask them how and when and why where they want it. Then start to build your field of dreams from there.
- What is the journey you want your visitors to go on? Map it out.
- Then listen to your team. Ask them exactly the same thing. Work with them to build an experience that takes your business and turns it into a trusted, value-driven brand.
- What do you want your visitors to feel when they hear your company name? Illicit those feelings.
- What platforms, programs and systems do you need to implement to keep them all coming back? Prioritise them.
- What culture do you need to stay ahead of the curve? Innovate them.
You see, building the concept of our dreams means
more than just being friendly and helpful. It's creating a company that is
considered, valued and in the economy of experiences. With those experiences,
you generate a business worthy of your customer's loyalty and with your
customer's loyalty, your company stays on the right side of those statistics
and you have built your real-life field of dreams.