Many businesses today could be losing customers each month without even knowing it. But this attrition can be largely remedied by mapping and testing your desired customer’s experience with your company from start to finish.
It would almost seem that many businesses are simply unaware of their horrible representation on platforms like Google and others. Their listing images are cell phone quality or maybe a basic Google Maps image and their customer reviews are both few and lackluster. For many potential customers, this may be their first introduction to your company, and that first impression is, more often than not, unimpressive.
In fact, only a limited few will be moved to call a company with bad pictures and limited customer reviews. Yet, this is only one of the ways that you may be turning away customers.
The Customer Road Map
Imagine a road. Imagine your customer is driving along on this road searching for someone to fill a need. They hear your ad on the radio and decide to take your exit (look up your company). Will they like what they see well enough to make a phone call or a visit to your website (the next turn on your exit)? Then, if they do call, will they like what they hear on the phone or will it cause them to get back on their highway, leaving your company in their rear-view mirror?
If they make it to your showroom, will they find it comfortable, well lit and clean? A messy showroom can cause customers to decide not to buy from you before you even have a chance to talk with them. (And their decision had nothing to with price)
Without regular attention to these questions and testing the outcomes, you can be lured into a false sense that you’re doing everything right for every customer. But that assessment is based only on the percentage of customers that actually make it to the end of your road.
What you can do.
To help make sure that you’re capturing as many sales opportunities as possible, here a few things you can do today and then track to see if your efforts are delivering better results over time.
1. Draw your customer road map.
Literally draw out a map of the various paths you think customers might take to find and get to you. Start with Google, Facebook, Yelp or another platforms. Does your profile stand out and make you want to take a next step? If customers aren’t wooed into taking the next step, they’re gone, and you never even knew they were there.
Continue your map to contact forms, phone calls, answering, to the showroom, to sales presentations, to closing, and even to money collection. Then test each area to make it as easy to do business with your company as you think it should be. Testing is vital. Not just once, but routinely, maybe even monthly.
I recently had a client concerned about the number of customer form submissions he was getting from his website. We tested the form and found that a recent upgrade had deleted the email address that the forms were supposed to go to. He’d missed an average of 18 leads per week since the end of December. If we had not conducted the test, he may have missed many more. All customers he never even knew he had (or had lost).
2. Get more customer reviews.
Your online reviews matter way more to your customers than you may think. Spend all the money on advertising you want, but if you have a quarter or half of the reviews (both in number and or rating) of your competitors, many customers simply won’t even call you. More reviews tell customers that you are well established and well trusted by others. That can cause them to feel easier to trust you. Get reviews. Just two a week will add up to 104 in just one year.
3. Take pictures.
Take pictures of your parking lot, vehicles, staff, showroom and even the bathrooms. Do the pictures reveal something you may have missed? They almost always do. You may be oblivious to some things like an overflowing trash can or stained carpet or ceiling tiles; but your customer will likely notice them right away. Burned out light bulbs, dusty counter tops, dirty service vehicles, and non-working displays tell a true story about your attention to detail; and that matters to discerning customers.
4. Train your staff.
Train your staff to make sure every possible customer interaction is smooth and easy. Even if your salespeople are the best in the area, without consistent training, they may not be for long. If you want to test your salespeople, start tracking their closing ratios (amount of sales / number of customers served).
Once you get a base line number (say, 28%) implement sales training like customer qualifying, overcoming objections, and closing techniques. Now track the closing ratio over the coming weeks and months to see if your training pays off. Every time the closing ratio goes up, it doesn’t just mean that you sold more. It also means that fewer customers left your road without buying from you!
It’s critical that customers have an easy path to do business with you from the very beginning to the very end. Any single broken step along the way could cause you to lose customers you never even knew you were vying for.
You can find more information on developing your customer roadmap by contacting Part Time Business Partners today!