Contrary to popular belief, successfully growing a business requires more than social media updates and delegation. Magical thinking is replacing proven growth strategies as the path to success. Every established company began with an idea and people willing to do whatever it took to turn that idea into reality. No task was too small or dirty for the founder to do. The hard work and long hours eventually evolved into a successful company.
Things change. New technology emerges and people adapt accordingly. We may have moved into the digital age but the adage, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” remains true. Our digital world makes connecting with people quicker and easier than ever before. The only problem is those fast and easy connections have little value without some relationship heavy lifting. Communication methods have changed. The requirements for strong relationships have not.
Shrinking attention, response rates, and conversions are attributed to the fickleness of customers instead of the company’s failure to take care of business. Successfully growing a company requires a willingness to take care of every detail no matter how small. This means that all employees must be willing to go the extra step required for positive customer experiences. The motivation has to come from the top. Leadership by example is mandatory.
Company growth is directly tied to customer satisfaction
The battle cry for exceptional customer experiences is loud across all channels. Competition is fierce with companies trying to outdo each other with new technology, viral content, and over the top events. The winners may get kudos from bloggers and some mainstream media publicity but they miss the opportunity to really connect with their customers.
Building customer relationships requires hands on analysis, one-to-one communication, and delivering on the promise. The activities that make strong relationships possible aren’t glamorous. They include digging through volumes of data, reaching out to disgruntled customers, and creating processes that expedite service. Somewhere along the digital highway, these activities became dirty jobs that are ignored, delegated, or outsourced. It’s little wonder that growth stagnates when companies stop focusing on business fundamentals.
The companies that dominate the marketplace tomorrow will be the ones that are focusing on creating a strong customer based foundation today. That foundation has to include timely and accurate service, interactive communication, and an understanding of what people really want from the company. (Hint: it’s not friendship.) Foundations aligned with expectations create a sustainable growth environment.
Learning from the failures of others
The retail market provided a classic example of failing to meet basic customer expectations during the 2013 holiday season. Thousands of customers were left without delivery of holiday gifts due to logistical issues. The aftermath of finger pointing between delivery companies and retail operations was interesting but it didn’t solve the problem or change customer perceptions. The expectation that the package will arrive on time has to be fulfilled by the company selling the products and making the promise.
One of the best things about customer expectations is the ability for companies to establish them. The merchants created the expectation that gifts would be delivered on time. “Order by” deadlines are prominently featured on websites and print media. The delivery fiasco could have been minimized by monitoring delivery times and adjusting the “order by” date accordingly. This would have significantly reduced the number of unhappy customers.
Paying attention to the details and putting processes in place to efficiently and accurately deliver quality service positions a company for growth. Painstaking steps are required to get past perception into the reality of what customers really want. Success comes to the people willing to roll up their sleeves and work diligently until answers are found and systems are implemented. The foundation created will support the company through sustainable growth year after year.
For information on how you can improve your customer experiences, email Debra at firstname.lastname@example.org.