The fantasy that can cause your business to become a statistic

CX, success, personal experience

In recent research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), results show that of businesses started four years ago, 60 per cent are no longer in business. Fewer than 50 per cent of those that do surviving are profitable. Now the reasons for this are certainly multi-faceted. However, there is one common mistake that we as small-business owners make, and that is simply not understanding the difference between customer experience and customer service.

This one fundamental piece of knowledge can change the trajectory of your business success. Many of us, when we wake up one day and decide, “Gosh, darn it, I’m going to quit my job and be my own boss,” then only leave room to consider things such as what will I sell, where will I sell it and for how much will I sell it for. We convince ourselves that we’re all our own version of Kevin Costner in our own version of Field of Dreams. So, we build it and we wait for the crowds to come and, when they do, we will smile, we will greet them and be helpful and they will love what we built, and we will spend our days hitting home runs.

But this is not business reality. We instinctively understand good customer service, but the reality is that just being friendly and helpful is not enough. No one will come just because you have good service if everything before and after that is not equally considered, valued, or experienced.

This is where the concept of a “customer experience (CX)” comes into play. You want to make a home run? You want the crowds? You want the adoration and the legacy beyond 4 years of struggle town? Then you need to dust off your kit and get ready to hit some balls into the park of CX.

Customer experience at its core is the sum of all the experiences your customers (internally and externally) experience when interacting with your business. This starts before they even know they need you to the moment they find you, choose you, spend with you and then even beyond never using you again. It is all-encompassing and customer service plays only one part in this rendition of your Field of Dreams. An important part? Yes, but only one part. What we need to do is educate ourselves on what it takes to deliver a rigorous, value-driven customer experience from the outside in. “What does that even mean?” I hear you say.

  1. Start with your target audience. Ask them what they want. Ask them how and when and why and where they want it. Then start to build your field of dreams from there.
  2. What is the journey you want your customers to go on? Map it out.
  3. Then listen to your team. Ask them the same thing. Work with them to build an experience that takes your business and turns it into a trusted, value-driven brand.
  4. What do you want your customers to feel when they hear your name? Illicit those feelings.
  5. What platforms, programs and systems do you need to implement to keep them all coming back? Prioritise them.
  6. What culture do you need to stay ahead of the curve? Innovate them.

You see, building the field of our dreams means more than just being friendly and helpful. It’s creating a business that is considered, valued and in the economy of experiences. With those experiences, you deliver a business worthy of your customer’s loyalty and with your customer’s loyalty, your business stays on the right side of those statistics and you have built your real-life field of dreams.

Aileen Day, Founder, Value Driven Brand and Meraki Business Solutions