How to Make It Easy for Customers to Do Business With You
If you make something easy to do, people are more likely to do it. They’re also more likely to come back to you in the future when they need a similar product or service. Nothing complicated about that, but it’s a point that many brands and service providers miss at a time when technology should be making things more convenient, not the other way around.
In handling the details of a recent move to another state, I’ve experienced both the good and bad of this important, fundamental aspect of customer service.
Providing a Positive Experience for Your Customers Starts with Attention to Detail
Purchasing insurance requires filling out a bunch of forms. Whether you do it online or in person, it takes some effort, even if you’re working with a helpful insurance agent. I’ve done that dance before, so I set out to find an insurance agent who would make the task as stress-free as possible.
The first agent I spoke with probably thought “the user experience” was the name of a band, rather than an important customer service consideration during a major financial transaction.
It started with lots and lots of forms, which could only be filled out manually. I was half expecting the agent’s contact info to be a fax machine number, rather than an email address.
The problem was, I still needed insurance, so I decided to let the process play out a bit more before moving on to my next option. You can probably guess where this is going.
My patience was NOT rewarded. All of those forms, all of that waiting, and I didn’t even receive a follow-up from the insurance agent. Pretty poor experience.
The next agent I spoke to almost instantly made me question why I’d spent any more than the absolute minimum of time with the first agent. This experience was the complete opposite of the first one. It included digital forms, electronic signatures, useful feedback, and an immediate follow-up to make sure that I was happy with the results. In addition to simplifying the shopping process, this agent’s attention to the little details certainly gave me confidence that they’d be able to handle the big details if I ever need to make a claim.
Make It Easy to Do, and They’re More Likely to Do It
The lesson to take from this experience is two-fold. First, no matter your industry, you can differentiate yourself by being reliable, accountable, and punctual. Those traits never go out of style, and they’re especially important when you’re dealing with financial matters. Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.
The second lesson is that if you want to win customers – online or elsewhere – you need to make it as easy as possible for those customers to accomplish their goals. If you wall off all of your best content behind extensive sign-up forms, guess what? People are less likely to read your stuff. Force people to register to make a small purchase, and they’ll just go to Amazon instead. Make it difficult to pay through the customer’s most convenient channels, and they might just skip the whole purchase. If you’re not making it easy for people, you most likely won’t even know where they fall off the process.
My insurance experience is a great example, because it was a blend of in-person and online customer service. Moving ties up a ton of mental capital, and I just wanted an agent who would streamline the process, communicate clearly, and take care of the details that I was too busy to handle myself at the time. The first agent I spoke with failed on all counts. The second passed with flying colors, and likely earned a long-term customer as a result.
How can you apply this to your business? Most importantly, don’t blindly accept status quo. Always be looking at every process in your customer’s buying journey with a critical eye. Secondly, stay on top of new technologies that can streamline your processes. Yes, it’s a fast-moving world, but that also makes it more competitive. Be open to adopting new tech that makes it easier on your customers, or watch your competition grab your market share.
Last, but not least, remember to look for opportunities to create positive relationships with your customers—whether it’s on social channels, in chat, on the phone or in person. Educate your customer-facing employees on cultivating a “making it easy” mindset, and canvas your employees for ideas! A boots-on-the-ground perspective is a great way to stay in tune with your customers. Make it easy for them, and you’ll be reaping rewards far beyond the initial transaction.
This first appeared on Ted Rubin
I Have A Brand And It Haunts Me
I was talking to my pal “Jonas” who recently decided to freelance (vs building a multi-consultant business) when he left a bigger firm to do his own thing.
Jonas is a global talent guy who works across the planet for some of the world’s most well known companies. He decided his best play—the one that would allow him to focus on what he loves most and live the life he’s planned—is to freelance for other firms.
His plan got off to a bit of a rocky start because—get this—none of the firms he approached believed he’d actually want to “just” freelance. He’d earned his rep by steadily building deep, brand name client relationships, practices and business, not by going off by himself as a solo.
Or as he put it “I have a brand and it haunts me.”
We both had a good belly laugh because he was already rolling in new projects, thrilled with his choice to freelance.
And yet, isn’t that the truth?
Good, bad, indifferent—our brands DO haunt us.
They whisper messages to those in our circle “trust him, he’s the bomb”, “hire her for anything creative as long as your deadline isn’t critical”, “steer clear—he talks a good game but doesn’t deliver”.
And thanks to social media, those messages—good and bad—can accelerate faster than you can imagine. One client, one reader, one buyer can be the pivot point that takes your consulting business to new territory.
So how do you deal with it?
Yep—you go for more of what comes naturally. In Jonas’ case, he stuck with what he’s known for—his work, his relationships, his track record for integrity—and won over any lingering skepticism about his move.
We weather the bumps in the road by staying true to who we are at our core.
So when a potential client says “Sorry, you’re just too expensive for me”, you don’t run out and change your prices. Instead, you listen carefully and realize they aren’t the right fit for your particular brand of expertise and service.
When a social media troll chooses you to lash out at, you ignore them and stay with your true audience—your sweet-spot clients and buyers.
And when your most challenging client tells you it’s time to change your business model to serve them better, you listen closely (there may be some learning here) and—if it doesn’t suit your strengths—you kiss them good-bye.
If your brand isn’t haunting you, is it really much of a brand?
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