“Don’t talk about it, be about it.” This phrase isn’t just real talk from one of the greatest rappers of the last 20 years, it’s also incredible business advice. Whether or not you’re interested the lyrics of Yasiin Bey, formerly known (and best known) as Mos Def, you should still heed them because he was both ahead of his time and also echoing a principle that predates his birth.
In this article, we cover:
- Why customer centricity has always been important.
- Traits of a customer-centric small business.
- How to become more customer-centric today.
Back in the 1960s, companies discovered the power of direct mail marketing. Instead of targeting as many customers as possible through radio and television, marketers saw the potential in being highly targeted, highly relevant, and thus, highly efficient in sending advertising directly to their marks. In the ’80s and ’90s, companies became more sophisticated as they added loyalty cards and used the resulting data to create even more poignant messages and offers. Today, the mountains of data companies have at their disposal to construct meticulous user personas that lead to extremely powerful marketing campaigns form what we refer to now as customer-centric marketing.
So why should an entrepreneur or small business, let alone the mighty Mos Def, care in 2021?
It’s critical for growth that entrepreneurs and small businesses widen their scope beyond product and sales. While product and price may seal the deal for a one-off sale, exceptional customer experience breeds loyalty, and loyalty leads to more sales:
- 86 percent of brand-loyal customers will recommend a company to friends and family
- 66 percent are likely to write a positive online review after a good experience
- 46 percent will remain loyal even after a bad experience
And while product quality and value play into loyalty, they aren’t the end-all-be-all. Fifty-six percent of consumers say customer service keeps them loyal to their favorite brands. Fifty-five percent value an easy shopping experience for brand loyalty. Only 14 percent of marketers say customer centricity is a hallmark of their companies, meaning there is a real opportunity to turn this to your advantage. The question, then, isn’t why you should care, but how soon can you get started.
Customer-Centric Small Businesses
How do you start developing a customer-centric mindset at your small business? Culture is key. It’s not something you can turn on with the flip of a switch. Nor is it something that can be solved through the purchase of one app. It’s a movement, a way of life.
- Begin with empathy. You need employees who are capable of identifying the meaning behind customer actions. Only 38 percent of U.S. consumers believe the employees they interact with understand their needs. When hiring, you must screen for candidates who have demonstrated the ability to express empathy, not just select canned answers from a drop-down menu. This may be harder to find than you think!
- Survey your customers. Frequent, regular communications with your customers is crucial to understanding what you’re getting right and what you’re not. Customers are on a myriad of channels, so be sure to reach out everywhere they are: via email, social, over chat, message boards, phone calls, SMS, etc. Then, take that insight and act on it.
- Be highly accessible. You know those companies where it’s virtually impossible to find a simple contact number on their website? Don’t be one of those companies. Zappos makes its “Contact Us” page highly visible (at the very top of every single page) with the reassurance that you can get through 24/7. Despite only about 5 percent of its sales occurring by phone, Zappos knows that the return on exceptional, highly accessible customer service through word of mouth is priceless.
Getting Started With YouMail
It’s not always easy to develop highly accessible customer service at the small business level. You may feel you lack the systems and technology to service customers adequately, or that you lack the processes and operational capabilities. In other words, where are you supposed to find the budget to fund customer centricity?
The first step is availability. You and/or your employees won’t be able to showcase your heart and soul if anytime a customer needs you, he or she hits a dead end. Following Zappos’s pioneering lead, you must make yourself — your live self — available as often as possible. And it’s not always feasible for small businesses. The next best thing is to have an affordable, convenient professional call handling service at your disposal.
YouMail Professional Plans offer an exceptional starting point for small businesses to begin their customer-centric journey. Never miss those critical customer service calls again, and do so without incurring the steep cost of clerical help or taking on the inconvenience of carrying a second phone.
Our service includes professional voicemail greetings that emanate the sophistication of a big business with professionally recorded greetings performed by real voice talent. Auto-attendant adds unlimited extensions, call forwarding, and call routing, so if you’re not immediately available for an incoming call, the caller can be routed to the most relevant available employee who will be able to provide exceptional customer-centric service.
Other features such as personalized greetings, virtual receptionist, voicemail forwarding, and more are all included — along with best-in-class robocall blocking — to create an environment that fosters the best in customer centricity through culture, empathy, and accessibility through tools developed and perfectly suited for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Check out all that YouMail Professional Plans have to offer today.
And remember: don’t talk about it, be about it.