Entrepreneurship — Staying Calm in a Storm
It’s tough being an entrepreneur. Whether you are building an app or providing software as a service (SaaS); whether you are a consultant or a heavy industrial goods manufacturer; whether you operate out of a spare bedroom or from a corner office — you know you have responsibilities that you can’t ignore.
When it comes to creating something new for customers (B2B as well as B2C), corporations may have an advantage due to access to a large resource pool. On the other hand, startups, especially the bootstrapped ones, have it harder.
An entrepreneur is responsible for their company, from product management, business planning, finances, and human resources to customer journeys. You have a dream, and you build a business around it.
Straightforward as it may sound, launching a startup isn’t so. Multitasking various roles, with very little to almost no staff, planning and developing products and services, meeting sales targets, planning customer journeys, taking a call on revenue sharing models, and finally securing capital investments. This is an all-consuming cycle that is essential to your company’s survival.
As you go about your tasks diligently, your brand name grows and attracts talented employees from outside. Onboarding them, explaining your company’s vision and mission, and coaching them to ensure their efficient contribution too takes time.
Where does it leave time for you to think about your customers? You know that customers are essential for your survival, right? Without customers, you don’t have a business, and without a company, your entrepreneurial reputation goes for a toss.
It doesn’t help either to know that thousands of small businesses bite the dust every year. They have their hearts in the right place, and more often than not, a severe lack of good customer experience is the reason for failure.
Don’t Let Your Business Nose-Dive
Planning is vital for entrepreneurs. Have a long-term vision or strategy that considers present and future technological advancements. While planning your design, do keep in mind the factor of your customers’ growth. Their evolution is essential, and it should reflect in your customer journey. If you think your customers will remain static and advancements in tech are just a fad, then you are paving the way for your company’s downfall.
Let’s take the example of the US toy retailer “Toys R Us.” The retailer was a behemoth in US retail space. “Toys R Us” had everything going right with them. A solid presence across the length and breadth of Northern America and Europe, strong consumer demand for toys and games, an enviable reputation among customers, and brand recollection across generations of people.
“Toys R Us” operated for 73 years before closing forever in 2018. Starting in April 1948, with a single store, the erstwhile retail giant became a full-fledged company in 1957, and its operations spread in the US and Europe.
The retailer had everything going right, and the business was also good. From being a shining example of how hard work and business understanding can help you reach the zenith to nosediving to oblivion. What went wrong?
All Warnings Ignored
The company’s refusal to change is in sync with the times. Despite clear signs of a transforming customer behavior powered by rapid digitization, more competition from online marketplaces, and a flurry of activities by other businesses aimed at benefiting customers, the people who could have acted to save the corporation did nothing.
They didn’t embrace technology and didn’t capitalize on modern commerce. So, expectedly, customers started feeling let down. Soon enough, the brand couldn’t live up to the expectations of its customers — a significant portion of them have been extremely loyal (we are talking about two-three generations of families) and shopped for their kids and grandkids only from “Toys R Us.”
Disappointing and losing that kind of customer base can send any enterprise into a tailspin. At any given point, about 5% to 7% of companies either are in a state of decline or are in the process of shutting shop.
It’s Possible to Pull Your Startup Out of a Tailspin
Lead from the front with a solid customer-centric mindset and a comprehensive working plan of all business functions. We have said this earlier, and we’ll repeat it. Customer Experience (CX) is the key differentiator for businesses, and it factors more than the price or product in determining a startup’s success.
As an entrepreneur, you have to continuously innovate your products and services to keep your customers engaged and wanting more. To sustain a customer-centric policy, you must ensure your team is equally prepared. Let’s look at how to create a basic CX strategy for a startup.
Create a CX Strategy for Your Startup
Innovation can be a tough choice when it comes to customer experience. Believe us when we say this. Every entrepreneur loses sleep thinking about attracting customers and retaining them. Speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service across multiple channels are essential elements that provide a positive brand experience and keep your CX engine running smoothly.
- Blend multiple channel interactions and streamline them to enhance external experiences.
- Please keep in mind customer preferences and evolve your technology to keep pace with their requirements.
- Prepare a digital and mobile-first strategy for your business and boost engagement for your customers.
- Ensure a comprehensive presence across social channels — focus on conversational engagement methods with your customers.
- The current pandemic has normalized a contactless culture between customers and businesses. You must make arrangements to ensure a smooth flow of service delivery.
- The satisfaction of your team members is directly responsible for promoting customer delight and ensuring organizational growth. Ensure their happiness and wellbeing at all times.
Customer Experience (CX), Not Customer Service (CS) Is The Need of The Hour
You can’t compromise with service; that’s a given. But, your focus should be CX. Having said that, what’s the difference between the two? The answer lies in the fact that one is reactive while the other is proactive. CS starts with customers asking for it and ends with a resolution.
“Have I been able to help you?” or “Have I answered all your questions today?” These are the kind of questions that are more customer service-oriented. Essentially you are reacting to a customer request or query.
Customer experience (CX), on the other hand, is more proactive. It is about knowing the finer details of your customers and offering to help them with your product or service. Mind you; it’s relatively easier to capitalize on the experiences of already existing customers.
Let’s say that you are in the travel and hospitality business. A client calls to find out about a flight ticket to a place. While checking the prices of tickets, you notice that the customer’s wedding anniversary is just a month away.
You casually ask the customer about how he’s doing and mention that his anniversary is coming up and whether he has made any plans for the day. If he has, no problem. If he hasn’t, you seize the opportunity to pitch him about a quick beach or mountain getaway with his partner. Throw in a couple of extra goodies, too, like a couples massage therapy, or maybe a special discount for a fancy room with a pool.
Whether or not you can make a sale, you have made a mark in the customer’s mind. And that’s what matters. It’s most likely that you will be the first person he comes to for any travel or vacation-related plan the next time he plans something. This is the kind of engagement you are looking for to ensure steady business.
You have to give your customers something extra. There are no two ways about it.
Keep Up with The CX Activities
A customer experience (CX) strategy means visualizing, planning, and implementing a company-wide approach to improve CX. It helps accelerate the achievement of your business goals and ensures your customers keep coming back for more by delivering more than expected.
Need to validate business ideas, explore market trends, or collect honest feedback from your customers or employees? A survey is often the most direct way to get the answers you need. It also helps you in creating great customer experiences.
Diligently working towards ensuring your customer happiness and satisfaction is sure to propel your startup to greater heights. Use the latest technology and intersperse it with AI to deliver a premium service experience.
Use an AI-powered helpdesk software like ThinkOwl that’s powerful, smart, automates most manual tasks, and increases your team’s productivity.
To know more about how ThinkOwl can help your business deliver a smile on your customers’ faces sign up for a 30-day free trial.
Article written by: Soumyadeep Roy
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