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The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Customer Experience

THE COMPLETE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Customer Experience Small BusinessTrying to explain exactly what it is I do can sometimes leave people a little confused – usually because they assume that when I’m saying “Customer Experience” I mean “Customer Service”. Or because they hear the word marketing, and they automatically think advertising.

So, here’s a quick snapshot into why I believe that getting your customer experience right is at the heart of all marketing you will ever have to do for your business.

Customer Service = An event
The customer service you provide is basically about 3 principles – the people involved, the physical evidence of what you deliver and the process you use to deliver it. It’s finite. As a consumer, you can receive amazing service on one occasion, and next time around it might be a total disaster.

Customer Experience = A feeling
The experience your customer has may incorporate the customer service. But it is much more subjective and experiential. Even with all things absolutely equal, the experience two people have with your business may be completely different. In fact, the experience someone has with your business may not be due to a transaction having occurred AT ALL.

The experience we have with a business is more about how we feel about that business than the actual product or service itself. That being said, to ensure a great experience, we HAVE to ensure that our product or service is at least meeting our customer’s expectations.

As you can see, every single aspect of your business has the potential to impact on a customer’s experience. This is why it is now critical to make customer experience part of the DNA of your organisation – so that at each touchpoint you show your customers that you sincerely want to serve them.

I’m not sure where this quote came from originally, but it’s one I’ve used for a long time:

“Everybody who has an interaction with your business is a marketer of your business.”

Your own promotion – via blogs, social media, networking etc – is only a fraction of the marketing of your business that is going on. Every single person you come across is a potential marketer of you and your business. So it’s critical that you make the process of doing business with you a pleasure rather than a chore.



Jodie PreissAbout Jodie Preiss
Jodie Preiss has walked her talk in all areas of customer experience through many different roles – both as Marketing Manager for two independent schools, and in a stint as a marketing consultant, when she wrote this blog post. Little did she know that her love of all things experience focused would lead her on another path. And in early 2019 she will officially launch the incarnation of that journey.

She has created Inspiring a Difference from one simple truth. That one person, one voice, armed with wisdom and the commitment to act, can make a very real difference.

Creating a methodology around challenge-driven impact has became her driving motivation, and the vision for Inspiring a Difference. Challenging herself, as well as those around her, to step out of their comfort zone and create a ripple in their world. The fundamental drive for Jodies is to show you that you can make a a difference. And that the ripples that we create individually, one day might move a mountain.

We turn drops into ripples into waves and then oceans of impact. One person, one challenge at a time.

Why Your Brand Should Distinguish But NEVER Describe

WHY YOUR BRAND SHOULD DISTINGUISH BUT NEVER DESCRIBE

Small Business BrandingOne of the most common mistakes businesses make when it comes to branding is to choose one that describes their products, services, location or industry. When I tell clients to steer clear of descriptive brands I see the same shocked expressions on their faces or hear it in their voices:

“What do you mean? How will customer’s know what I’m selling if I, my brand or business name is nondescript?”

Now, let me start off by saying that I am a lawyer and not a marketing guru by any stretch of the imagination. So, I can’t give you a lesson in the psychology of consumers. But, what I can say is that from an intellectual property perspective, a descriptive brand is a big NO-NO!

Why? To answer this question, let me start out by explaining what a brand is.

What is a brand?
In a nutshell, your brand is you and embodies your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services and conveys how you want to be perceived.

Put simply, having a brand is like having a personality for your business. Your brand will form an integral part of your marketing strategy and encapsulate you or your business’ unique identity. It will convey quality, type, and the kind of goods or services provided, and will become what your target customer base thinks about when they hear your name, read your Facebook posts, or see your logo.

A brand can consist of many elements, ranging from your business name, to your logo and tagline, and even the colours you use within your advertising materials.

So, why do you need a brand?
Many small business owners perceive the creation of a brand identity as a costly exercise best reserved for larger, global companies. In fact, the opposite is true. Effective branding can not only lead to increased sales, but establish your business as an authority within the marketplace, regardless of your current size or reach.

Your brand functions as the face of your business and is extremely important for creating awareness of your products or services and in establishing trust and loyalty amongst your customer base. A brand can also add value to your products and credibility to your services.

Your brand should set you apart from your competitors and create a “voice” that reflects your company ethos and mission statement. Think of your brand as your reputation – an invaluable asset that works on your behalf to attract and retain a loyal, repeat customer base.

Avoid descriptive branding
Descriptive branding (where a name and logo simply describe what the company or product does in a literal form) rarely succeeds in creating a strong, powerful brand. Before the rise of the internet, many companies used descriptive branding, but nowadays in the age of SEO (search engine optimization) with millions of companies vying for the top search results spots, naming your company “Best Budget Holidays” or “Designer Shoe Supplier” just won’t cut it. The more descriptive and generic your name and brand, the more likely you’ll get lost in a sea of online competitors.

The idea that a business name should be descriptive in order to inform the customer is wrong. A name rarely has to spell out in literal terms what the brand stands for; this will become clear through the brand’s overall context, conveyed through the many elements we’ve already mentioned above.

In addition, from a legal standpoint descriptive brands are much harder to enforce as you can’t stop your competitors from using similar words to describe their goods and services. Whilst descriptive branding can offer instant understanding for the consumer (“Traditional Sweet Shop”, for instance), it can become impossible to enforce the trademark rights and stop similar names being used (“Best Traditional Sweet Shop”, for example).

Stand out; be distinctive!
Okay, so now I’ve covered what a brand is, consider it in the context of existing brands in various industries. If questioned, most people would be able to recognise many of the so-called ‘brand leaders’ such as Coca Cola, Nike, Mercedes Benz, and even Veuve Cliquot champagne. Why? Because these companies have successfully developed brands that encapsulate their unique selling point, encouraging familiarity and trust, as well as instilling the concepts of quality, service, and satisfaction.

Using a brand simply to describe your goods and services is not an effective approach. Avoid falling into the trap of creating a generic, lack-lustre persona for your business by injecting as much personality as you can into your brand. Your brand is your business’ personality so make it unique and memorable, not generic.

So, despite the common misconception that descriptiveness helps to convey your brand message, good brand is distinctive and makes your goods or services stand out from the crowd. Having a strong, unique brand will ensure that your business will be instantly identifiable, whether it is through your company’s website, external advertising or social media. A good brand will be memorable and capable of conveying your unique selling points to your target customer base.

Getting started on your brand
Creating a strong brand takes time and effort, but as I’ve discussed, it is essential in setting your business apart from competitors and signifying the quality and value of your products or services.

If you’re unsure how a brand can work for you, or you’d like some help in getting started on creating and protecting your brand, then invest in getting a professional marketer and engage a trade marks lawyer. In my experience, the ideal scenario is to develop and protect the brand simultaneously by having a marketer, graphic designer and trade marks lawyer working together, with you.



Kate Ritchie, EthikateAbout Kate Ritchie
Kate Ritchie, Principal Lawyer, Trade Marks Attorney & Brand Protection Specialist, Ethikate.

Brand protection is what we do best at Ethikate. We will work closely with you to develop your brand and create a tailored protection strategy that not only addresses your business needs and future plans, but is also cost-effective for entrepreneurs and small business.

If you would like to know more about brand protection and how Ethikate can help you to protect your brand, check out our website here.

Ethikate’s Principal Lawyer & Trade Marks Attorney, Kate Ritchie, has a strong commercial background acting in both commercial and legal roles, over the last 10 years. Kate has worked with high profile major event organisations, top tier and boutique law firms, small to medium businesses, government agencies and large corporates across a broad range of commercial and intellectual property law services.

Is Your Website Speaking To Your Ideal Customer?

IS YOUR WEBSITE SPEAKING TO YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER?

Startup Small Business WebsiteSo you have put your own website together – fantastic work.

There is so much time and effort that goes into a website and sometimes we are just too close to the project to look through the forest to see the trees!

Before you launch your new website, you may want to be brave and ask a few people to take a look on each page and provide you with honest feedback.

If you have an online store, you could assign each person a task, such as “find and purchase a particular product” and ask them to write down how they found the whole process. A small thing like; see if they can find your contact details easily. Many sites do not have contact details at all and only a contact form. Think about your targeted audience and ask yourself, if you were them, would you want to call someone or email someone directly or is a contact form enough. Ask your testers if they know what your business is about from landing on your home page or was it a little confusing.

You can uncover some interesting things by asking people before your site launches rather than launching without any prior feedback. Your website is a tool to get sales from and inform your customers about your services and products. If this is not clear, then you are wasting your time.

Something that makes perfect sense to you can be confusing to people new to your site.

Your website will be something that needs to move as your business evolves and changes.
It is not something that should stay the same throughout the journey of your business. When launching my first site I thought “yeah, it’s done. So glad I don’t have to look at that again!” Who was I kidding; of course it was going to need to be changed. Don’t think once you’ve set up your website, that’s it! Your users experience needs to be slick and requires continual reinvestment.

To promote a website successfully you need various elements working for you. The key elements consist of; search engine optimisation (so they can find you), content marketing (relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience), social media interaction (talk to your facebook, instagram twitter accounts), conversion rate optimisation (process of improving your website to drive visitors towards desired actions — actions such as buying a product) and website usability. It is about making sure choices are in a clear and concise way and the placement of important items are in appropriate areas.  Consistently working on these key elements will help make sure you get both short and long term conversion from your visits to sales.

A business in it’s first year is most likely nothing like what it will be in its 2nd, 3rd, 5th or 10th year.

Two of these elements I would like to elaborate on are: USABLITY and CONTENT.

Usability
Firstly on the web, usability is a necessary condition for survival. If your website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what your business offers and what users can do on your site, people leave. If users get lost on your site, they leave. If your website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. See a pattern here? There’s no such thing as a user reading a website manual or spending heaps of time trying to figure out how to move around. There are plenty of other websites available; so leaving your site is the first line of defence users will take if too many difficulties are encountered and worse still, it can just be one difficulty within a few seconds that will make them leave.

Content
Secondly, the content of your website needs to be reviewed and changed accordingly to meet the different stages of your business. It needs to be GOOD content and just what exactly do I mean by “good content”? If your content isn’t good – it won’t help you progress your business in the direction you want to take it or it won’t take your customers to where they need to go, to purchase.

Crappy content doesn’t get shared. It doesn’t get links. It doesn’t rank in search engines.

And it doesn’t CONVERT your visitors to paying business.

Everything you communicate to a customer or a potential customer is marketing and every bit of marketing is related to good content in some aspect. Your website isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do – like the quality of work you do, how you resolve your customer complaints (let’s hope you don’t get many or any), how you talk to your customers, how you relate and understand them.

Part of all communication is non-verbal and how your site looks, says a lot about you and the type of work you are able to produce. Your website design and content can pull your visitors in or totally chase them away. Will your website appeal to everyone, probably not but it NEEDS to appeal to your targeted audience. So not every visitor will engage with you and that is ok, as long as you are talking the language of the ones YOU DO WANT. And if you’re not sure, ask people that fit within your target market whether it speaks to them or not.

It can be difficult to get outside of your own head (where everything makes perfect sense about your business and website) and into the head of a customer, to see whether your content is working or if you’re losing them. This is where asking people for their opinions and taking them on board (and not taking it personal), WILL BENEFIT YOU HUGELY.

Remember your business is doing you no good, if you are the only one who understand and likes your website. It‘s also no good if it just looks pretty and isn’t clear about what you offer. Your site serves as a powerful tool to convert visitors to paying customers. If you want them to be returning customers and referring customers, you need to listen to them and make changes if necessary. You need to be able to say, “Okay, this isn’t working the way I thought’ and move on very quickly with another strategy.

And most of all ENJOY THE RIDE!



Julie Allen, Biz YourselfAbout Julie Allen
Julie Allen is a Website builder and trainer specialising in WordPress. She has a passion for people, business, and finding solutions. When you engage Julie to get your website up and running, you’re also getting a cheerleader for your brand, a promoter to help you put your ideas into action and a small business owner who knows what it feels like to build a business from scratch.

She also provides a range of other support services, including web content writing, web conversion, email marketing and small business mentoring. Julie’s favourite part of each project is getting to know her clients and their businesses.

The 5 Essential Ingredients To Creating A Great Customer Experience

THE 5 ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS TO CREATING A GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Small Business Customer ExperienceAs a busy small business owner how do you make sure that amazing customer experience is at the heart of what you do?

Here are 5 essential ingredients to creating a great experience for your clients.

1. Know who they are.
I’m sure you’ve all done some work on your Ideal Customer Avatar (and if you haven’t, you totally should!). However, in understanding them really well I recommend going even deeper than most ICA exercises take you.

When someone decides to purchase from you, they are not buying because of your product or service, or even because of you. They are purchasing because of their deepest desires, values and motivations – which are largely directed by their worldview.

In any ICA exercise I would add that you need to also understand:

• What do they want from you?
• What do they need from you? (this may be different from what they want!)
• What is their biggest complaint?
• What do they actually want you to do about it?
• What is their worldview on what you are offering? (i.e. if you are a real estate agent, what is their current belief about your industry)

2. Know your product or service, and how it best suits your customer
Are your current products or services what you want to provide, or what your customer actually wants and needs?

The whole idea of this is to make sure that your products or services are actually what your customer really wants and needs. If you are developing an offering that you love, but that isn’t quite right for your Ideal Customer, then it’s going to be tough to leave them with an amazing experience, something will fall short and leave them wanting or needing more.

Think outside the square on this one – do you have a product or service that is a better fit for your customer than the one they currently use? Even if it means less revenue for you! (remember, this isn’t about YOU, it’s about THEM).

3. Create a Customer Experience Vision
In your mind’s eye, what would the PERFECT experience for your customer look like. Think about how they would feel when they first hear about you – before they contact/visit you –  right through to how you want them to feel six months after you provide their product/service.

This includes how they feel when they browse your website, receive an email from you, read a social media post about you. And even how they feel when they hear other people talking about your business.

This is both the finer detail, and the big picture stuff. At this point, don’t be constrained by money, staffing or systems. This is the time to dream about what you would absolutely LOVE to provide.

Dreaming big for this is awesome, but you need to be able to deliver it perfectly and consistently to create an amazing experience. So this is where you can break down that vision into bite sized chunks. Start small, get that 100% perfect, 100% of the time. When you achieve that consistency, add the next chunk.

Implement ONE thing first, get it right, then add the next and the next.

4. Have systems in place that work – EVERY TIME
Contrary to popular belief, having systems does not mean boring – it means consistency, so that every single time someone interacts with you they are consistently WOWed. But the key here is that your systems WORK. If your current systems are not WOWing your customers, they are NOT WORKING!

4a. If you have staff, make sure they know exactly what your expectations are in terms of their interactions with your customers
You may be great with your customers, but if next time they visit you aren’t there you MUST make sure that every single person they come across will give them exactly the same level of service. This comes back to #3 – Systems that work & Consistency

5. Don’t EVER think you are 100% perfect at WOWing your customers
By now you hopefully know what your customer wants, you know how your product or service best suits your customer, you have the systems in place, and your staff are consistently amazing! This is when many businesses will rest on their laurels. BUT that is a BIG mistake.

Keep going back to Step 3 and refining your Customer Experience Vision. Not only will it ensure that you are continually WOWing your customers, it will also ensure that your competitors find it next to impossible to match what you are doing.



Jodie PreissAbout Jodie Preiss
Jodie Preiss has walked her talk in all areas of customer experience through many different roles – both as Marketing Manager for two independent schools, and in a stint as a marketing consultant, when she wrote this blog post. Little did she know that her love of all things experience focused would lead her on another path. And in early 2019 she will officially launch the incarnation of that journey.

She has created Inspiring a Difference from one simple truth. That one person, one voice, armed with wisdom and the commitment to act, can make a very real difference.

Creating a methodology around challenge-driven impact has became her driving motivation, and the vision for Inspiring a Difference. Challenging herself, as well as those around her, to step out of their comfort zone and create a ripple in their world. The fundamental drive for Jodies is to show you that you can make a a difference. And that the ripples that we create individually, one day might move a mountain.

We turn drops into ripples into waves and then oceans of impact. One person, one challenge at a time.