4 Ways to Improve Your Business You Might Not Have Considered 65

4 Ways to Improve Your Business You Might Not Have Considered

There are many ways to improve your business.

Most business owners go for the standard ones. They change their prices, pay for advertising, build a new product, invest in employee development, talk to the customers to see what they struggle with, and more.

Yes, these are things we should all be doing to get out of the rut and even see business growth. But there are some opportunities you might be missing.

Here are some smart and easy ways to improve your business that most entrepreneurs don’t consider:

1. Mystery shopping.

Why not become a mystery shopper to see what exactly your customers experience when making a purchase, using your product or service, or interacting with your employees.

Mystery shopping also gives you a chance to study your competitors and how they do business.

While doing that, make sure you let go of the entrepreneurial mindset, and try to put yourself in your clients’ place. See how you’ll be treated, how you’ll feel about the brand, what aspects of the whole thing you won’t enjoy that much.

Then, analyze the results and see what can be optimized.

2. Get the help of accountants.

Investing in professionals to take care of your finances can be one of the smartest things you do to improve your business. If you already have that, invest more resources in it and change the way you use it.

A good bookkeeper might save you hours of tedious work weekly and you won’t need to constantly worry you’re doing something wrong or fear missing a deadline.

Here’s exactly how accounts can help your business.

3. Instagram.

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Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform and half a billion people are actively spending time there every single month.

What does this mean for you and your business? That you should set up an account with your brand name, create your strategy and start building a massive following by posting valuable content on a regular basis.

Use automation and scheduling tools, let your virtual assistant handle the content creation, and begin building your audience there.

You’ll see that on Instagram people are more engaged than they are on any other platform. Also, they are there 24/7 and want to see beautiful images and inspiring quotes.

So don’t make it all promotional. They want real value. Give them exactly that by sharing tips and practical advice related to issues in your niche.

Some big sites are getting most of the traffic to a landing page solely from Instagram. Others become influencers and make tens of thousands of dollars from their Instagram accounts daily.

Give this social media channel a try today and start building your little empire on it.

4. Help your employees get things done.

It’s one thing to pay for training programs, but it’s completely another to actually care about your staff and encourage productivity in the workplace.

Here are some ways you can have smart and efficient workers:

improve office design – a decluttered, eye-pleasing workspace with the right type of furniture and lighting can work wonders and make employees want to do their job well and improve their performance;

– make them share the company’s vision – in your next meeting, describe the big picture of where you see the business a few years from now. Spare no details, add emotion. Let your employees feel like they are part of all this. Then, ask them about their ideas on how to reach these goals faster. They might come up with some pretty creative ways to optimize the work process;

care about their level of happiness – you might have not considered this, but having happy employees can actually increase company profits. You can make sure they are always in a good mood and satisfied with everything at work by recognizing their accomplishments, encouraging them to grow personally, not just professionally, organizing events where you won’t talk about work but will still brainstorm ideas and discuss the market trends.

So that’s how you can take action and improve your business in no time. Of course, there are other things you can experiment with, like simply offering coupons (such as Dominos’ Buy 1, Get 1). Offers like that grab your customer’s attention.

What other ways to see progress can you think of?

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 11

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.