Meeting customer expectations is the best way to achieve your best possible customer experience. So, how do businesses do it?
Like with any big initiative, you need a good reason to start. Maybe you’ve noticed a higher level of customer churn lately. Maybe you’re left with a smaller staff, but need to keep growing your customer list. Maybe you’ve received more customer complaints than usual and aren’t quite sure why.
Whatever brings you to the point of making a change, the good news is that investing time and effort into your customer experience can truly move the needle for your business. It’s time to get a vision and then plan and set the right goals to achieve it.
Has your business defined a specific mission? It should be a simple statement of why your business exists and what value you offer your customers. You may have intentionally started with one when you opened your business, or you might have picked up different ideas along the way without ever writing anything formal down.
There’s no bad time to start formalizing your business mission. Find a time to sit down with your team and brainstorm around questions like:
Once you answer those questions, you’ll have an idea of your mission. And from there, you can set goals that help you achieve it. Every customer interaction should aim to live up to your mission.
Examples of well-known company mission statements include:
Once you embrace that it's technically impossible to put a number on something intangible like how customers feel about your business, you can start getting creative by thinking of metrics you can put a number on. Here are a few starting points to consider:
Like we addressed before, providing great customer experiences earns you new business. One of the easiest ways to measure that is how many new customers you gain.
Many small businesses take a moment during their first sales interaction to ask how a customer found them. By tracking lead sources, you can see which strategies are working and double down on them!
Even if you can’t always track back where each customer came from, you can aim for an upward trend and even set some specific goals.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a convenient measure designed just for the purpose of knowing how customers feel about your business. It involves asking customers a simple question:
“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?”
Answers are scored like this:
Scores of 9 -10 are promoters
Scores of 7 - 8 are passives
Scores of 1 - 6 are detractors
Your final NPS is determined by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the promoters. For example, if you have 85% promoters and 10% detractors, your NPS is 75.
Your score gives you an easy way to measure how happy your customers are. Aim to increase your NPS as you embrace more strategies for providing great customer experiences.
Every time you earn a new customer, but then they leave and choose a different business, that represents “churn.” As a business owner, churn is a dreaded cause of wasted marketing dollars, the chaos of turnover, and lost time spent cultivating a relationship.
Investing in existing customer relationships makes good financial sense; Gaining a new customer can cost up to five times more than keeping an existing one!3
By providing great experiences, you can lower churn and keep your customer base strong.
Even if your biggest goal is something intangible like “making customers happier,” you should always aim to set a concrete goal. Measurable goals are easier to strive towards and track how things are progressing.
Productivity experts recommend setting SMART goals, an acronym that represents:
SMART goals are ideal because they come with a built-in roadmap for getting to work.
Now that you have a vision and SMART goal, it’s time to enlist your whole team. It can feel like goals belong to company leaders, but buy-in is absolutely critical if you want to see your goals through to the end.
By making sure everyone understands why your new customer experience goal exists, they will all be more likely to take the steps required of them.
For example, if you want your cashier to ask customers for reviews, they may not see why it matters and forget more often than not. But, if your cashier is enlisted in a big-picture goal of gaining reviews to get more business, they’ll be much more likely to remember to ask for reviews.
You need to make the goal part of your company culture. A study by The Economist revealed that 83% of top performing companies said their company culture was an important part of goal setting and follow-through.
SMART Goal Examples
Tourism Operator Aiming to Gain Customers
SMART Goal: “Gain 30 customers who say they found us via “friend or family recommendation” in June by encouraging referrals at the end of each tour.”
Dental Practice Aiming to Raise NPS
SMART Goal: “Raise our NPS 1 point by the end of the quarter by focusing on building trust during patient appointments.”
Online Retailer Aiming to Lower Churn
SMART Goal: “Increase return sales by 20% in 2022 by leveraging email and text marketing to share discount codes for existing customers.”
Once you’ve kicked off your goal, stay on track with regular check-ins where you can adjust and be flexible when necessary.
Here’s a statistic about goal setting to keep you motivated. Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews conducted a study of 267 professionals. Two groups were compared: those who wrote their goals and those who did not. She found that those who wrote goals and recorded their progress were 33% more likely to achieve them (Dominican University). Goal setting really works.
For our full small business guide, download the free eBook: How Top Small Businesses Win the Customer Experience