We can all agree that 2020 was a challenging year — like no other year that any of us has experienced before. The challenges were daunting, frightening, and taxing on our peace of mind. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in early 2020, our industry did not know what to expect.
- Would remodeling projects in the pipeline be put on hold?
- Would projects you already booked be canceled?
- Would prospects delay their previously intended projects?
- Would prospects who were thinking about remodeling their kitchen or bathroom put this thought on hold indefinitely?
All of these worries were real possibilities for every kitchen and bath business owner. But the challenges of 2020 also provided opportunity…yes… great opportunity in a year where positive vibes seemed like a distant memory.
At the beginning of every new year, people tend to set their business planning for the next 12 months into motion – setting goals, forecasting revenue growth, planning marketing initiatives to drive that growth, and finding new opportunities to expand their business. The start of every new year feels like a new chance to do better than you did last year.
But how can we do better in the upcoming year? How can we improve our business? How can we increase revenue, profitability, and grow the business? What can we do better than our competitors?
In 2021, a Customer-Centric Company is Unique in a Crowded Field of Competitors
When you put your customers as the center and focus of your business, you are creating a distinctive experience for them and building a relationship of trust with them. Going forward, customer experience (CX) is the new competitive advantage. An exceptional customer experience is your competitive differentiator!
Amazingly, this concept is a revelation to many companies and a model which is the exception rather than the rule. This is a huge opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. And frankly, creating exceptional experiences for your customers is not difficult in comparison to the many other daily challenges that exist in every business.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand as a whole throughout all aspects of the buyer’s journey. It results in their view of your brand and impacts factors related to your bottom line including revenue.
Why customer experience is important?
With the availability of modern technology and the internet, customers have a multitude of options at their fingertips. Resources are readily available to educate themselves, helping customers to make quick purchase decisions. When you enhance the customer experience, you create a strong connection point that builds trust and increases customer satisfaction.
Is Making the effort to improve customer experience worth it?
The statistics speak for themselves.
- 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
- Customers are willing to pay a price premium of up to 13% (and as high as 18%) for luxury and indulgence services, simply by receiving a great customer experience.
- CX influences on-the-spot purchasing — 49% of buyers make impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience. (Think quick deposit and commitment to the project in the proposal stage of the process.)
- By the end of 2020, customer experience will have surpassed price and product as the key brand differentiator.
(Information provided by studies from The Temkin Group, PwC, Walker, Pega, and HubSpot.)
What are some things you can do to provide exceptional customer experiences?
1. Consider your customers’ needs first Remember, your sales numbers are of no concern to the customer.
2. Prioritize communication Putting your customer first, prioritizing them and your communication with them throughout the project will help provide a memorable experience for them.
3. Consider all touchpoints with your company What processes can you improve, whether they are customer-facing or not? Can you provide a great experience even before your first conversation with prospects – for example, your website and the information it provides to people researching the companies they would like to engage?
4. Build a positive company culture Your employees are as important to providing an exceptional customer experience as you, the owner, is to the whole process.
5. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes Understand their needs, challenges, and desires for the project. They are putting their heart, soul, and a large dollar investment into this project.
6. Set realistic expectations Be sure to deliver on those expectations. Make it a goal to exceed expectations and your customers will have a truly memorable experience.
7. Establish trust Operate with integrity. Remodeling a home is a big investment and an emotional journey for your customers. It is very personal to them and during the project, it is first and foremost in their minds.
8. Streamline the proposal-to-commitment process In today’s digital world, take advantage of available advanced technology. In our industry, customers want to know the pricing of their projects more quickly than ever before. Customer service expectations might surprise you and often that service includes pricing expectations.
- Over 80% of customers expect a response within 24 hours.
- 96% of customers expect a response within 48 hours.
- 16% of customers expect an immediate response.
- 37% expect a response within 1 hour.
Enhance Customer Experience with DesignAlign™
We cannot talk about streamlining the proposal-to-commitment process without talking about DesignAlign™. The key benefit of this innovative technology is to reduce the number of hours kitchen and bath businesses spend on the project proposal in the pre-commitment stage of the process, by reducing time spent on the proposal from 7-8 hours to 2-3 hours. Customers will be happy to interactively participate in the proposal process, enjoy faster budget proposal results, be more willing to give a deposit immediately, and have a memorable customer experience.
By making the effort to enhance customer experience, you create a win-win situation for everyone involved – you, the business owners and your staff benefit, and your customers benefit as well. Exceptional customer experiences are truly the ace up your sleeve and your competitive advantage – and will help differentiate your company from the crowded field of competitors.