We’ve recently covered consumer expectations, why it’s profitable to meet them, and how to set the right goals for your customer experience. Now, let’s look to the experts to see how the best customer experience strategies work in real life. Here are four examples of small businesses to emulate. We’ll share a specific situation they faced, the strategy they implemented, its impact, and how to try it yourself.
Situation: With a high flow of patients in and out of two dental practices every day and seemingly endless paperwork, the staff at the Farber Center was understandably overwhelmed. Calling and leaving voicemails for patients was just another thing on a long list of daily tasks. The staff found that patients often wouldn’t answer their phones or listen to voicemails, meaning they would miss appointments or arrive without the necessary paperwork.
Strategy: The Farber Center’s staff implemented a texting platform they used to keep in touch with patients. They ported their regular office phone number so patients can text them with questions or appointment requests instead of calling. Outgoing texts from the center can be sent one-by-one or as a mass text. By integrating with their CRM, they can set texts to trigger automatically with appointment reminders and feedback requests.
Impact: The staff found that 90% of patients respond to their text messages. Patient satisfaction rose, which is best stated by Dr. Alan Farber himself: “It’s been very helpful sending text messages to patients. It’s been consistent and patients are very happy we can communicate like that as well.” Without creating extra administrative work, the center is actually more accessible and responsive to their patients.
Takeaway: Consider whether your customers would be interested in texting with your business. Like the Farber Center, you might be able to automate, or at least speed up, much of your customer communication by enabling texting. And your customers (who likely text in their personal lives) might find it more appealing to work with you when they can shoot you a quick text.
Situation: Hounds Town USA is a fully interactive doggie daycare, overnight dog boarding, and pet spa facility that offers customers worry-free and reliable pet care service. When they opened a new location they wanted to offer a promotion to encourage customers to spread the word about their awesome pet services.
Strategy: They decided that automated marketing tools aren't just for the big dogs and started sending out text and email marketing campaigns about location openings and service discounts. By maintaining a list of customers’ contact information, they were able to easily send out a timely promotion without being overbearing.
Impact: Corey Packer, Director of Marketing and Brand Development said: “Last year, Cyber Monday made us $250K without spending a dollar. Using lists has enabled us to save a significant amount of money on ad spend." By landing in inboxes at the right time, they offered their customers a convenient deal and grew their revenue.
Takeaway: Although some business owners worry that an email or text campaign may come off as spammy, in reality many of your customers do want to hear from you. The key is to only reach out when you have something valuable to offer them. By checking in very occasionally with a truly important message or offer, you can create value and achieve your business objectives. Keep an eye out for any feedback that you’re reaching out too often. If you notice people are unsubscribing, you should limit your outreach even more. Remember that being thoughtful with your offers will earn you more goodwill.
Situation: Started in 2015, Adrenaline Rush Slingshot Rentals is the premier Polaris Slingshot rental company in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company was the first in the country to rent these open-cockpit three-wheeled roadsters. They wanted an easy way to get customer feedback to keep up with travelers’ sky-high expectations.
Strategy: Adrenaline Slingshot Rentals started requesting feedback from customers after their visits. By automating the feedback request process and even sending timely follow-ups to customers who didn’t respond the first time, they brought in as much input as possible.
Impact: As Kurt Fioretti, Managing Partner, said: “In the travel and tourism industry, people look for value over price point. There’s nothing worse than having a bad experience on vacation. If you don’t give people a great experience, you fall by the wayside.” By constantly keeping an ear to the ground to hear what people had to say about them, it was easy to make adjustments to their customer experience before any issues could impact their bottom line.
Takeaway: Don’t let fear about negative opinions hold you back from asking for customer input. Remember that every business has room to grow and if your customers (the true experts on what it’s like to work with your business) are willing to give you feedback, it will be as valuable as gold. Make changes fast and see how quickly your customers’ opinions improve.
Situation: On their beautiful 1,000 acre farm in Hilo, Hawaii, Lavaloha offers “tree-to-chocolate tours” to travelers curious to learn about single-origin chocolate grown in local cacao orchards. Customers raved about their personalized tours, often mentioning their tour guides by name, and the Lavahola team wanted to spread a wider net to make their farm accessible to more tourists.
Strategy: They focused on review generation as a way to turn their happy customers into an online word-of-mouth marketing boost. With the help of automatic texting, they set up SMS messages to send to customers after a visit asking for feedback via a public review on Google.
Impact: Lavaloha gathered 333 new reviews (that’s a 157% increase!) in about four months. They made it a point to respond personally to many of those reviews. As they increased review numbers and demonstrated engagement with their customers, their profile on Google steadily rose, helping future travelers find them easily.
Takeaway: If your customer experience is so dialed in that people rave about what you have to offer, you’re missing out unless you turn those compliments into reviews. Using an automated tool to send out review requests makes it easy to build your reputation online and boost your visibility.
Every industry and company calls for a unique approach to customer experience. Based on your own challenges and goals you can get creative like the examples above and find affordable strategies to implement quickly. To get our full guide to exceeding customer expectations, download our free eBook: How Top Small Businesses Win the Customer Experience