In today’s competitive landscape, businesses need to do everything they can to gain an advantage or they will be out of business.
As a matter of fact, only 50% of businesses will survive five years or more.
There are many reasons why businesses fail to grow consistently. It could be economic uncertainty, new regulations and/or a decrease in customer spend.
Businesses can’t control the economic landscape or laws and regulations, but they do have some control over customer spend.
To offset things that are out of the control for business owners, they need to figure out how to create better experiences and build stronger customer relationships.
Here are 5 things that stop business growth and how to overcome them
1) Not Investing in Employees
Employees are the lifelines of any business. Providing proper training and cross-training ensures that all your employees know what to do in any situation. The absence of proper training can be detrimental to your business as employees will not be able to properly service customers, which leads to either a decrease of spend or losing the customer forever.
Poor training may even cause your employees to leave the company as 40% of employees with poor training leave their jobs within the first year.
You never want to hire an employee that only wants to do the bare minimum. To make your employees feel like they are truly part of the company, incentives like bonuses or opportunities for career advancement motivate employees to want to contribute to the success of the business.
2) Not Improving Processes
Business processes and workflow can greatly influence the customer experience. If you are providing slow and inconsistent service due to outdated processes and technology, it can cause customers to not return.
Whether it’s order processing, invoicing, appointment setting, customer communication, or even product manufacturing, make sure all processes are optimized for maximum efficiency and remove any duplication or redundancy of steps in the process.
For example, an online shoe retailer is seeing a high cart abandonment rate, meaning, people are not going through with the checkout process for whatever reason. This is bad for business.
To tackle this issue, the retailer may consider testing out variations of the checkout page to be shorter or offer special incentives to entice a purchase.
3) Not Personalizing the Customer Experience
If you don’t have loyal customers that refer you to others, your business will eventually stop growing.
However, businesses have seen positive results due to personalizing their customer experience as 44% of consumers say they will likely repeat after a personalized shopping experience.
Personalization also ties to the earlier point of employee training. Equipping your employee with extensive product knowledge can help your employees be more effective in upselling relevant products and services.
According to a Segment study, 49% of customers bought items they did not intend to buy due to a personalized recommendation from the brand they were doing business with.
Remember, personalization can happen on any channel, not just the web or email. Sometimes, the most effective personalization comes through a conversation with your customer.
4) Not Getting Customer Feedback
If you are not currently using any sort of survey to get customer feedback, start now.
Your business will never improve and grow if you don’t know what your customers feel about your product and service.
If you are getting customers feedback, learn how to use it to your advantage. As a business, you will always get one-off customers that like to complain for no reason. On the other hand, if you’re seeing a trend of similar comments and criticism, it’s time to take note and do something about it.
Getting feedback may be challenging, but it’s a must-do if you want to grow.
Feedback can come in many forms like traditional Customer Satisfaction Surveys (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), or Customer Effort Score (CES). Other feedback tools include web analytics tools like Google Analytics or heatmap tracking tools like Hotjar.
The important thing about getting customer feedback is to engage at the right time, usually right after an interaction or purchase. Also, make it easy and quick so you can increase your chances of getting feedback.
As an example, Zingle customers have started using text messaging to get customer feedback and have seen a 400% increase in response rates vs. email.
5) Not Expanding Customer Communication Channels
Consumers today can engage with brands through virtually any channel both online and offline, so it’s important for businesses to be available when customers want to reach them.
The term Omnichannel has been a buzzword for many years now, and businesses that have truly implemented an omnichannel customer experience strategy have seen a 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to those that don’t.
Just to be clear, omnichannel is not the same as multichannel.
A true omnichannel experience is connected seamlessly across channels, whereas multichannel is simply having multiple channels that don’t sync with each other and are seen as individual entities.
For example, you bought a pair of sneakers from Nike.com.
After you receive your shipment, you get an email with recommendations for matching socks and jacket that go with your new shoes along with a promo code.
You click on the email and proceed to buy the jacket.
This is omnichannel in action as Nike was able to determine which products you bought and recommend additional products based on that purchase drive relevant upsell.
The same goes for omnichannel communication.
Your customers don’t think in channels, they think convenience as study shows 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels. And they should.
If you only have phone and email available for customer communication, you are not maximizing your reach and potentially losing business.
Here are 3 channels you need to implement to expand your customer reach.
1) Live chat: Having a website or mobile app live chat enables your customers to reach out for help right when they need it without waiting on hold as 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use the live chat feature.
2) Social media: Did you know that one in three social media users prefer social media customer service to telephone or email? I wasn’t that surprised because if they are already on the platform, why would they want to go through extra steps to engage? If you have a profile on any social media site, make sure you can provide customer service through it.
3) Text messaging (SMS): Texting is arguably the fastest and most convenient way for customers communicate with businesses. Due to its low barrier to engage without limitations, it has started to become the preferred choice for customers, especially the younger generation. As a recent Twilio survey shows, 89% of consumers want to use messaging to communicate with businesses.
Even tech giants like Google, Salesforce and Apple are all investing in messaging technology to drive customer communication. This goes to show that messaging is here to stay.
To conclude, growing your business is an extremely tough task, but if you focus on things that will add value to your business and make you stand out, customers will remember and continue to come back.
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