Ifeanyichukwu is a certified customer service professional with over 12…
“Unhappy people cannot serve happiness”
I was privileged to listen to the Founder of Ruff n Tumble, Adenike Ogunlesi, outline the simple yet effective ways she has used customer experience strategies to scale her business to a multi-million enterprise. Her words made me reflect on why it might still be a long journey to the promised land regarding service delivery in Nigeria, especially with MSMEs. It is sad to note that despite the plethora of write-ups and voices clamouring for an improvement in how startups handle their service delivery, little or nothing is being done about it. These businesses often forget that customers now have options with minimal attention span. This means they can easily take their money somewhere else. One then wonders why it seems to be such an unachievable feat. Entrepreneurs such as Mrs Ogunlesi, who have realised the goldmine an excellent customer service offers to a business, have jumped on the train, and they sure are not looking back.
Let’s see what these strategies entail below.
CX Winning Strategies for Small Businesses
The below may sound mundane or even trivial, but you would not know just how powerful they are in bringing huge ROI (return on investment) to your business. Let us examine a few of them:
- Have a script: Many customer service schools of thought have backlashed the use of scripts by front-line staff because they tend to sound like robots and are devoid of personalisation. Do you agree with them? I believe that the success or failure of these scripts is largely dependent on its application. When applying the use of scripted responses for customers, it shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule, rather it should be used as a guide. Teaching your staff how to apply personalization in their dealings with customers is a huge differentiator of your service delivery style to that of your competitor.
- Emotional Intelligence: Not everyone truly understands what this means in life and more so in business. To put it simply, it means being a master of your emotions so that you can effectively handle those of others. Many customers are looking for who to talk to and I don’t mean just about buying your product or service. As a CX professional for so many years, I have had to counsel some customers on emotional and marital issues. Was I having a bad day on those days? Oh yes but being a source of comfort at that time was very rewarding and helped in improving my mood. From time to time, engage your staff and teach them how to be a source of comfort and consolation to your customers. The returns on these are huge, you just may not realize it…..yet.
- Sell a lifestyle and not a product: Today’s world presents a picture in which people want to be associated with a particular trend, circle or ideology. Do you have your customers grouped into buyer personas? What audience would typically be attracted to your kind of business? What is their demography? What do they do for a living? What would they like for entertainment? These questions are most likely to help you in your product and customer experience design. Whether it is a product or service you offer, let your value proposition picture the lifestyle that your customer would want. They will be willing to pay your price.
- Make your staff co-stakeholders: Yes, I know this might sound tricky but there are businesses that have taken this risk and it worked for them. One of the major problems entrepreneurs in Nigeria face is the issue of employee retention. In the same vein, customers can become wary of your business if you keep changing staff too frequently. So what can be done? Letting your staff be an active participant in your business is one of the ways of gaining their loyalty as a small business. Saying that “we are a family” goes beyond mere words. I know of an entrepreneur who agreed with his staff to take a fraction of their monthly salaries for a specified amount of time and ploughed it back into the business. The business metamorphosed into an empire and what’s more, the staff remained loyal and ensured that they were not doing anything that would jeopardize the continuity of the business. Of course if you want to try this, ensure that the terms and conditions are well laid out in documentation.
- Tell your brand story: Show me that person who doesn’t like a well crafted story! You started from somewhere. You went to the university and gained a certificate that is only good to be kept in a box. You searched for jobs for years and while on that search, something sparked your interest and you decided to give it a shot. Now you have a thriving business and your customers love you. Why are you not telling your story? Why are you not sharing it with your team? To get your team to see the direction you want the business to go, they need to know where you are coming from.
- Create an atmosphere of light bulb moments for your staff: Identify intelligent and ambitious staff on your team and involve them in your brainstorming sessions for the business. These light bulb moments are times when they become creative in their thinking and apply it in the way they render service to your customers. In addition, they become “role models” for others to aspire to. Nothing beats getting everyone on board in pursuing your vision.
The entrepreneurial path is never an easy one, especially in Nigeria coupled with the growing economic difficulties. As you seek quantitative ways to boost your business, the qualitative weigh twice as much and do not think these are not measurable because they are. It requires a lot of investment. As we round off the first part of this article, be sure to be on the lookout for the concluding part in the next publication. If you enjoyed reading this and think it is useful, please drop your questions and/or comments and don’t forget to share this.