Customer First (And How To Develop A Business Strategy)

No matter if you are the CEO, content marketer or part of the support team, in the end, the customers of our company are the ones who pay our paycheck. They are the people who allow us to make a living out of the things we’re doing. They’re our fans and deserve the best treatment.

However, very often we don’t treat them well enough. We think our product, whatever it may is, is amazing enough and we don’t need to do more. Even if we built an awesome product which solves a pain point of our customers, the customer satisfaction journey doesn’t stop here! We have to go the extra mile before and after the purchase!

Unfortunately, for many entrepreneurs “going the extra mile” means posting one more Instagram post. This couldn’t be more away from the truth.

An extra instagram post won’t acquire a fan. An extraordinary service which puts your customer first and outworks your competitors can.

What I learned In The Military

I now served more than 10 years in the German military, have been deployed to Afghanistan. My job obviously isn’t related to customer-service at all. Anyway, there are some parts in the military, especially the ones which do not work, which helped me understand how valuable great treatment of the people I want to make business actually is. And, more important, how to put it into actionable steps so I can apply this to an online business.

I like to compare low ranked soldiers with customers and higher ranked ones with a company. Sure, their paycheck isn’t affected by their effort (or work at all) like in the “real-world”, but trust me when I say some sergeants and officers had to pay for their bad leadership with losing or never even gaining respect.  And as we all know, respect is the currency of the military. Respect is the foundation of a trust which is the ultimate leading force in both the military and the civilian world

Who’d you rather want to go into a combat situation with: a person you don’t trust or someone you highly respect and trust?

Comparing this to the civilian world, the question has to be, of course, slightly different.

Who’d you rather buy from: a company you don’t trust or a company you highly respect and trust?

Respect and trust always wins. Both attributes are hard to achieve and require work and patience. There’s no way we can force someone to trust us.

However, there are certain things we actually can do which helps the people we’re approaching to build trust.

Personal note: Please note how I built the line “there are certain things … we can do which helps the people …”we have to help them to build real trust. It’s about them. If we’re trying to fake trust by telling them how awesome we are, we are just bragging. This, by the way, is a very common mistake among entrepreneurs. Especially on the “about us” page on their websites where customer often find lines which are nothing but pretentious.

Customer Satisfaction As The Business Strategy

Customer satisfaction is actually a business strategy and very practical. Unfortunately, real customer satisfaction, the one that comes from the heart, gets lost very often in the online world. Sales, growth hacks and analytics seem to be more sexy. Yes, those jobs are important and fun. No doubt about that. The foundation of sales, growth and analytics, however, are the work which leads to happy customers.

At the end of the day, we all want to sell our product. To make this happen, we have to develop a strategy which sets the customer in the first place. In fact, all of our efforts have to align with this customer first strategy. No matter at which part of the funnel our customers are, they have to feel good and comfortable making business with you.

Remember, we’re all replaceable. Potential customers can find someone selling a similar product within seconds. Have this in mind while building you strategy.

Personal note: I, personally, prefer to communicate via email but most of the time I receive consulting requests per Facebook messenger or Instagram direct message. I not just reply, I actually actively encourage others to do the same. It seems my audience likes a more personal approach. This first step is super important and I don’t want to miss an opportunity just because I focused on my personal preferences.

Our strategy has to be set up in a way which serves the customer in every aspect. Easy to say but hard to achieve. Every target audience and every unique customer is different and needs a special treatment. There’s no one-size fits-all solution to customer satisfaction.

The only way to serve your audience in the best possible way is to treat them each individually.

Putting this into practical words it’s the best to identify the most common questions, build a help-center / FAQ-page and implement an additional live-chat for urgent and unique questions your customers may have. Tools like Intercom make this possible.

The First Step

Whether you’re running (or being part of) an ecommerce business, a SaaS company or any other business, you can start your own customer first strategy today by taking the following step:

If you already have customers

Take the time and reach out to your last 10-20 customers personally. Ask how satisfied they are with how your business treated them, what you could improve and, if possible, if they’re willing to hop on a call with you to talk about your business.

Doing this kind of groundwork will give you more insights than you probably can imagine. This is the work which differentiates your business from your competitors. The information you’ll gain are the foundation of your customer first strategy.

If you don’t have customers (yet)

It’s pretty much the same thing as mentioned above (“if you already have customers”) with a slightly different angle. Instead of reaching out to existing customers, reach out to potential customers. There are many interest based communities available (eg. Facebook groups, subreddits, etc) to do this.

If you do this kind of work from the very beginning your whole business will be rock solid. It’s worth the time!

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