By Ilya Pozin
The customer is king. Believing otherwise will likely drive your business into the ground.
Here’s what I mean: Far too many businesses are stuck on perfecting their ideas, products, or services, when the real focal point should be pleasing the customer. Those businesses and brands who do cater solely to their user will always win in the end. But transforming your company to better serve your customers may not be as simple as it sounds.
To get more proactive insight on putting your customers first, I spoke with John Tabis, the founder and CEO of TheBouqs.com, an LA-based cut-to-order online flower delivery company. After recently receiving a $1.1 million seed round of funding, it’s clear their focus on improving the overall customer experience hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Here are a few tips from John to get you on the fast-track to putting your customers first:
1. Define and focus. Before your can begin to improve the overall experience for your customer, you must first understand who they are and what they really want. Toss out the idea of having a broad audience and hone in on the specific target market most relevant to your business. Research their basic interests, wants, and needs and begin transforming your business to better accommodate these aspects.
2. Keep it simple. If you’re really looking to stand out, simplicity will be your saving grace. Far too many businesses think their customers want fancy features and end up overbuilding their products to the point of no return. In reality, your customer craves a simplistic experience with no unnecessary features, “extras”, or gimmicks.
For example, Tabis knew a stealthy, no-nonsense ordering process mattered to the target audience of TheBouqs.com. They created a straightforward, honest, and simple way to purchase their product that involves one flat fee, only 40 bouquet options to choose from, no hidden fees, and just three clicks to checkout.
3. Tout your personality. Who says simple can’t be fun? Make your brand more memorable by injecting it with a level of personality. TheBouqs.com may have a simplified ordering process, but their website and online presence boast a youthful and engaging level of personality. From their bouquet names to their use of photography, one click-through of the website gives customers a taste of the energetic personality of their brand.
4. Find what’s missing in your market. This mixture includes equal parts of knowing what customers in the market want and understanding what your competitors aren’t doing right. By fixing this disconnect and filling a void, you’re not only going to stand out from your competition, but also have a chance at changing the market in the process.
In the flower industry, many businesses have completely forgotten about the buyer by throwing in hidden fees, spamming marketing materials, and trying to sell non-bouquet extras in the purchase process. TheBouqs.com got to the heart of this big market-related issue, which also positively transforms the customer experience as a whole.
5. Develop a pleasant experience. By making your customer’s interactions and experiences as efficient and effective as possible, you’re ensuring their return. Streamline interactions and processes to cut the fuss and put your customers at ease. This means providing fewer clicks at the point of purchase and keeping fees as transparent and standard as possible.
6. Show them respect. Giving your customers an unmatched experience is only possible through respecting their time and inbox. Don’t spam your customers with marketing materials or hit their inbox too often. Too many businesses believe this is a way to keep their customers “in the know” when it’s actually working to push them away. At TheBouqs.com, they send out one email a week. For your customer, twice a week or daily might be best. You need to customize your marketing to match your customers wants and needs.
7. Play to your user’s values. Sure, you may doing your best to give your customers what they want in terms of experience, but keying in on their values will show them you really care. For instance, TheBouqs.com knows their customers value social-responsibility. They built their business foundation on this value through partnering with eco-friendly, sustainable farms that respect the environment and their farmers.
When it comes to your customers, giving a little will get you a lot in the long run. Put your customers first and you’re sure to come out on top.
How do you put your customers first?
About Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and ’30 Under 30′ entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!