There was a time in the early 2000s, when I thought the little corner fruit & veggie shop was dead.
Everything was growing bigger and bigger. Giant complexes were popping up filled with the likes of Pak and Save, Kmart or Target. How could the little ‘mom and pop’ shop survive in an age of mega-stores and undercutting prices?
Yet these last 10 years have seen a resurgence of independent, artisan-style shops. The corner butcher who can advise you on how to cook a particular cut of meat. The baker serving handmade pastries to impress your guests. The farmers’ markets where you can buy your produce direct from the growers. The independent café, created with love, creativity and style.
These businesses are not competing on price. They’re offering quality goods, made and served with care and pride. They’re offering human connection. They’re providing an experience.
Because customers want to be more than just a credit card number. They want to feel a connection with the person who is making or selling the product.
This is where small businesses have an advantage, because intimacy is built into the business model. We’re close to our customers and it’s easier to be nimble, adding small but important personal touches that make a customer feel special.
So how do you create a great customer experience online?
Step 1 – Start by asking one important question:
How do I want my customers to feel?
How do you want your (potential) customers to feel when they:
- Read your blogs or Facebook posts
- Read your newsletter
- Browse your website
- Enter their credit card details
- Receive their purchase
- Use your products or service
Perhaps you want them to feel empowered, heard, connected, understood or reassured? Maybe you’d like them to feel enlightened, happy or joyful.
Take five minutes with your journal to pinpoint the feeling.
Step Two – Look at the way you relate to and serve your customers
- How can you generate that feeling through every touch point? From your lead magnet to your sales emails, face-to-face meetings, product delivery and after care, how can you create that feeling in as much depth, frequency and richness as possible?
- How can you generate that feeling with your content? What posts could you create for Facebook or Instagram, that could inspire that feeling in your customers? What anecdotes, images or quotes could you share? What training could you offer? Don’t tell your customers how you want them to feel. Instead aim to inspire that feeling.For example:
- If you want your customers to feel taken care of then share anecdotes of going the extra mile.
- If you want them to feel connected or included, then invite them behind-the-scenes in your business. Ask their opinion on upcoming products, build anticipation with sneak peeks and offer exclusive ‘insider’ deals. Augustine is a clothing company that does this really well, building anticipation with online pre-sale nights, and inviting groups of friends to model for the next seasonal release.
- If empowerment is key, then create a case study that shows how your product or service empowered a customer.
- If you want them to feel inspired by what your product or service can do for them, share testimonials that show your customers expectations were exceeded.
- If you want them to feel indulged or pampered, then how can you add little touches of beauty and elegance to your packaging or presentation? Can you add a small surprise gift
Step Three – Do a language audit
When you are writing for your business, whether blogging, creating emails, or writing posts, think about the words you are using. For example, if you want your customers to feel joy, choose words that feel light, playful and joyful. Include something that inspires joy in each email, whether it’s a silly joke or a funny video.
So how do you want your customers to feel? And how can you bring that into the experience you offer? Share your ideas, thoughts in the comments below.
If you want to create a deeper sense of connection with your customer, sign up for my ‘Write to the Heart of Your Message’ workbook – 12 Essential Questions to Refine Your Core Message, so you can write for your business with clarity, focus and passion.