What kind of brand experience are you providing your small business customers? Does it stand out for all the right reasons – satisfying, delivers on a promise, consistent across every customer touch point and engaging?
In “Customers Remember Experiences, Not Your Brand Logo” on Forbes.com, Martin Zwilling asserts that many companies spend more time testing their logo, coming up with snappy marketing phrases and focusing on demographics than making sure that their employees are delivering a memorable – and positive – experience to customers. That may because many U.S, employees – 70 percent according to a Gallup survey — are not fully engaged with their jobs, Zwilling points out.
He maintains that as the head of your small business you need to define what experience you want customers to have and make sure that your employees deliver it. Among the principles he cites for defining and managing the experience for consistency are: leadership in showing through your actions what you expect; keeping your team happy so that they are motivated to create a positive customer experience; and providing your team with training and recognition.
Providing an engaging customer experience also requires having meaningful conversations with customers to find out what they want – not sending out periodic surveys. Relationships lead to loyalty, more sales and referrals.
Make the experience unique
In addition to ensuring that your small business brand experience is satisfying and delivers on your company promise, make it unique so customers and prospects will want tell others, ideally on social media channels to help you reach new targets. Here are some suggestions:
Make it personalized: If possible create an experience that is unique to the needs or preferences of your customer. It can be something as simple as following up with a call after a meeting or sending a direct message via social media. Also offer a product discount or a free supplemental service that you know your customer needs or may need down the road.
Make it stand out: Create unique content – a video, for example, that reflects and reinforces your brand and that customers will want to share. If you attend a trade show, do something special at the booth that drives traffic and gets people talking and Tweeting about your brand — provide a special offer or entertainment or give away a fun promotional item.
Make it meaningful: Give visibility to your brand by partnering with another industry organization or a non-profit whose mission aligns with your brand. Studies show that customers value doing business with companies that are philanthropic and who give back to the community.
Your brand stands for a lot. You may be able to capture its essence in a tagline but your small business needs to live it every day.