Small businesses now look set for their biggest challenge yet, having survived thus far in the face of supermarket giants expanding and discounting into a range of non-food markets such as books, clothes and even car tyres, and then also competition from global online retailers such as Amazon. This latest test from large organisations is in their deployment of the latest advanced CXM (Customers Experience Management) systems to deliver an amazing customer experience.

As we move into the new age of the customer, driven by CXM, we’re fast leaving behind a time when a business could merely pay lip service to customers care, when a call to customer service involved them being passed from advisor to advisor, and being put on hold so many times that a week later the customer still found themselves humming the hold music.

Social media has given a vast audience to any customer left disgruntled by a service or product, meaning a hard earned reputation built up over years could be shattered in no time at all. More than this a new breed of organisation has emerged that has done the simple maths, and realised that moving a marketing budget across to CX (Customer Experience) is in fact the best way to attract new business, listening and reacting to customer feedback, marketing to the individual, and then using the word of mouth generated after ‘wowing’ their existing customers to grow their business, and of course in turn, vastly reducing the churn rate of previously dissatisfied customers too.

To compete in terms of customer service in the years to come, SMEs must leverage the one advantage to their size, that being the staff and owners in the business can really get to know their customers on a personal level, and building real relationships with each. Further to this using a feedback scheme will be essential to act as a barometer in terms of how customers really feel about their business at any given time, running throughout the lifecycle of the relationship with the customer. The customer isn’t always right, but should be made to feel they are, and any business failing to listen to their feedback scheme and focus on how their customers feel, will find they gradually fall behind in this the new age of the customer.

The customer isn’t always right

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