In a previous post I explained that the customer experience varies based on the size of the company.  My last post discussed “Verysmallco” so let’s look at “Smallco.”

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On one hand, Smallcos recognize that a deliberate customer experience drives growth.  (See: Customers Willing to Pay for Exceptional Service)  These companies recognize how cost-effective it can be to sell different products to existing customers (far more cost-effective than acquiring new customers).  And they understand the value of keeping customers and the cost of losing them.  At Smallco, the customer experience is intentional.

On the other hand, Smallcos make themselves vulnerable when they seek to be all things to all customers.  Your company may have already fallen into this trap if you hear things like “the customer is always right” or “customers first.”  What may have been appropriate behavior at Verysmallco (pull out all the stops at all costs) begins to hurt companies.

Think of the difference this way:

  1. Verysmallcos must become viable so that they can continue to sell (to survive)
  2. Smallcos must sell where they are already viable (to thrive)

Smallcos that continue to act like a Verysmallco throw more and more resources at changing their products and services which dilutes their ability to sell what they’ve already validated is a valuable product.  Said another way, constantly changing the product makes it difficult (impossible?) to scale the sales and marketing organization.

To protect themselves from this pitfall while still using the customer experience as a positive growth engine, Smallcos should:

  • Crowd-source ideas – understand which ideas have the most support from the broadest base of customers.  Addressing a customer-requested need is more powerful and financially satisfying when it also meets the needs of many other customers.
  • Resist the temptation to be perfect – pragmatically, developing a perfect product is expensive.  Your products need not be perfect, but they must be valuable.
  • Question the sales model – are you seeking the right customers, those who would value your products?  Or are you trying to modify your product in such a way to satisfy the need of the prospect you are already dealing with.

The pivot point is that Smallcos must transition from surviving (by satisfying each customer) to thriving (through economies of scale).

Customer Experience at Small Companies
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