Customer ExperienceGot Customers? If you are looking to expand your startup or on your way to your first customer – listen up.  Tony Robbins put it best in his book Awaken the Giant Within

“Why wait to be memorable?”

True his book is more about purposeful living, although providing a great customer experience (CX) has a lot to do with purposeful communication, which is the heart of a startup. The key to making your startup memorable is to equip you with some customer centric approaches which will be provided later on, because we believe there’s absolutely no reason to wait to be memorable!

Enter CX: Getting Around the ‘New’ Buzzword

Although, CX may just be grabbing your attention it’s been around for a bit and only a few companies such as Amazon and Trader Joe’s can successfully attest to that. So what exactly is CX? It is defined as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company” via Forrester Research.

From a comprehensive perspective, it’s the sum of all touchpoints a customer experiences within the customer journey they take during their relationship with a company.  A touchpoint being a point of contact a company has with a customer. A customer journey being the path a customer takes from one touchpoint to another. And a relationship encompassing one or more phases of the customer life cycle – those simply being:

  1. Awareness: touchpoints to create awareness of your company
  2. Consideration: touchpoints to educate prospects on your company and its products
  3. Purchase: touchpoints to convert prospects into a paying customers
  4. Service: touchpoints to get customers onboard and provide ongoing service
  5. Loyalty: touchpoints to maintain relationship with customers

The above highlights the components that go into forming a CX, but the difference between a great and bad CX is dictated by the best practices that frame these experiences. Some of these include:

How convenient are your touchpoints?

Are you making it easy or hard for your customers to move forward in a relationship with you?

How concise are your touchpoints?

Are you communicating your product’s value in a quick and efficient manner or slow and inefficient manner? Note: Customers have little patience these days; meaning if you’re not purposefully communicating (communicating the value you can provide concisely) there’s a good chance you’re losing customers to a competitor that is able to do so.

How consistent are your touchpoints?

Can your customers expect consistent or inconsistent service throughout your touchpoints? Note: This is the most important practice, because you can have quality touchpoints, but if they’re inconsistent throughout a customer’s experience you’re losing overall credibility in your customers’ eyes.

To reiterate, the CX is made up of touchpoints that create a customer’s journey that in turn ultimately build a relationship with a company. A company’s CX best practices determine whether the CX will be a good or bad experience for the customer.

So…Why the Buzz?

CX Buzz

Let’s start by elaborating with some hard facts:

  • It is 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
  • A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related vs. price or product related. (Bain & Co.)
  • 89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. (Oracle/RightNow)
  • During a 5 year period on the S&P 500, a portfolio of CX Leaders outperformed the broader market by 3 times while a portfolio of CX Laggards produced cumulative returns of -33.9%. (Watermark Consulting – See Chart)

Statistics on Customer Exeperience

Sure these are some pretty stellar facts and we can keep going on, but facts won’t show you what a customer centric approach can do for you…just like rattling off the features of your product won’t show your customer the actual value of your product. Again, here is purposeful communication resurfacing…

So what can having a customer centric approach do for you? – See below for some benefits (Watermark Consulting):

  • Lower acquisition costs
  • Better customer retention
  • Greater wallet share

Not to mention, ultimately differentiate your brand in a way that’s uniquely yours. As a customer centric company you’ll have to work hard to create and sustain these benefits, but as you can see your efforts would be well rewarded.

Now How can a Customer Centric Approach help my Startup…TODAY?

Great question – you are simply asking how can you start being memorable to your customers now.  As a startup – we understand – you have to be resourceful, you have little patience for a large company style plan of action and most importantly you want to DO something now. We’ve got you covered – removing the formalities – CX is undeniably about initiating/strengthening customer relationships. This is what you need to do:

View touchpoints as the hidden opportunities they are

Whether that’s sending a customized email and invite to connect on LinkedIn within 24 hours of meeting a prospect at a networking event, or leveraging  your landing page in a more memorable way than your competitor – Overall, don’t take any touchpoint for granted!

Understand customers’ needs and wants

Listen to your customers/early adopters, after all isn’t that ‘problem’ you’re solving…for them?

Create purposeful communication
Whether that’s making sure you’re communicating value to your customer at your landing page, the call center, marketing materials or at a networking event – this is vital! You have this awesome product, but if you can’t translate that awesomeness to your customers – you’re as good as dead.  In a way you need to treat your customers as your students, and be able to educate them in ways you’re competitors have not and in ways your customer has not come across…yet. Bottom line – purposeful communication is not only the main component in providing a better CX, but it’s a startup’s lifeline – a lifeline that runs throughout every function of your startup just like the various touchpoints scattered amongst your startup.

To review: see every touchpoint as an opportunity to leverage a customer’s relationship, understand them and create purposeful communication based on their needs.

So whether you’re a startup in the first couple months or first couple years of operations, there’s no reason to wait to be memorable – the time is now – How do you plan to awaken the giant within your startup?