Are you confusing customer service with customer experience?
Right now, you might be wondering, “Huh? What’s the difference?” Customer service is reactive; it’s all about handling problems as they arise. But an incredible customer experience is a thoughtfully designed journey through your business that can elevate it and gain you clients for life.
So how do you go about designing this experience so that your clients will not only want to stick around but recommend your business to others? Today kicks off a new series of the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast where we discuss something that hasn’t really been delved into on the show before.
In this episode, you’ll learn about why creating an excellent customer experience helps you stand out from the crowd. You’ll hear about the coaching experience I heard about that triggered this topic, discover exactly how powerfully a great customer experience design can affect your business, and reveal what your revenue goals aren’t telling you.
On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:
3:08 – Why am I digging into customer experience? I talk about the recent sales call that inspired this series.
8:03 – Customer experience matters and can be such a competitive advantage. Here’s why!
11:58 – Everybody loves coming up with revenue goals. But you’re missing out on a lot of important information in the process.
17:11 – How does plugging the holes in your customer experience affect your profit?
20:09 – What’s coming up next in this series? I give a short preview.
As mentioned in The Key to Boosting Your Business and Creating Clients for Life
There is one thing that can completely elevate your business and create clients for life. What is it? An incredible customer experience. Now customer experience is not the same thing as customer service. Customer service is very reactive. It's handling problems as they arise.
But customer experience is thoughtfully designing every single step of the journey that your clients go through with you. From the first time they start working with you all the way through what happens after they wrap up. In this series, we are going to dive into all things designing an excellent customer experience that helps you to stand out from the crowd.
Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.
Hey there, CEOs. Welcome to a new series here on the podcast. I'm so excited about this series because this is a topic that I have not really dug into on the podcast but it is one of my favorite topics to talk about. What is it? It's all things customer experience. Customer experience can be such an advantage, such an incredible way to help your business stand out, and a way that helps you to build a more sustainable business.
Because when you have an impeccable customer experience, clients are going to stick around, you're going to retain those clients, they're going to get better results because they love the experience they're having, they're going to give you those rave reviews because they got those results, they're going to go out there and refer their family, their friends, their peers, their colleagues to you because they were so in love with your experience, and they're going to come back and work with you again.
In fact, their coming back to work with you again is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle that I feel like business has forgotten about how important customer loyalty is and building lifelong relationships with your customers. There are so many businesses where that customer loyalty can be the difference between your business thriving because you have people who come back to you again and again and again versus barely surviving because you're struggling to keep the people that you've already sold to.
Why are we digging into customer experience? Well, not long ago I had a sales call that I actually was taking notes while I was going through the sales call because it was such a great case study into what has happened to customer experience in this very digital world where a lot of small businesses are focused on digitizing, automating, everything's online, everything is as streamlined as possible, because that's what's scalable. It feels like all the humanity has been stripped out of a lot of these offers that are available out in the world.
In this sales call, I was talking with these amazing entrepreneurs who are interested in joining The Collective. They had some questions because they just had a not-great experience with a super well-known coach in the business entrepreneurship space. Here's the breakdown. Here are my bullet points on what I took away from their description of that experience with this coach.
They joined a program that was $30,000 and they felt like it was worth the $30,000 because they did get the content that was promised. However, they had zero access to the celebrity coach who sold the program. They had no access to that person at all, couldn't ask questions, couldn't get coaching, didn't ever get her eyes on their business, never got feedback about how they were implementing this strategy that they had signed up for $30,000 to learn.
They had no personalized support at all. Everything was one size fits all. Everybody who bought this $30,000 program got the exact same thing. There was no clear path or framework for how to get through all this material. The $30,000 basically gave them access to a massive library of information, but no clarity on how do you move through this information. What do you do first? What are the steps? When is this applicable to me or not applicable to me? That just created a lot of confusion and overwhelm.
The content in this program was successful years ago, but they were still selling this content as if it was currently what was working to get results in the coaches on business, the celebrity coaches on business. As they got under the hood, they realized that not only was the content outdated but the success of the coach didn't come just from her running the system she had sold. It came from connections. It came from creating this celebrity influencer guru status. It came from just sheer amount of publicity, visibility, and connections like it's not what you know, it's who you know.
All these things were things that they didn't realize until they got into this super expensive program. The coach they were assigned inside the program like a “success coach” really didn't have much expertise, didn't have expertise in the actual business world, and had never done what they were trying to coach on.
Maybe they had gone through the program before, they were like a former student, and maybe they were a super active student, but had not actually gotten the results from what this program was promising and hadn't really had that much business experience but somehow they were supposed to be success coaches for other small business owners.
The team churn was constant. There were constantly different people coming in and out of this person's team. That means that their clients didn't know where to get support. They didn't know who to go to, who everybody was, what their roles were, what they were supposed to get support from. Basically, this offer was all sizzle and no steak. All sizzle and no steak, I don't know if that's a southern saying or what.
But this is what happens a lot in the space I'm in. I see this all the time. The marketing is over the top, the branding is gorgeous, the videos are perfect, the outfits are great, the blowout is beautiful, the makeup is perfect, it built up all this excitement and desire for these offers, but the offer didn't truly deliver. It was just this huge disconnect between how much went into the marketing and sales of this and how much actually goes into the delivery.
To be honest, I have a massive problem with this. Because when you are investing, not just thousands of dollars, but tens of thousands of dollars, at that price point, experience needs to be a bigger priority. It can't be an afterthought, and it can't be a reaction to unhappy customers, which is what I've seen over and over again.
Let's talk about why experience matters so much and why this is such a competitive advantage. One thing to think about is unhappy clients are more likely to share their negative experience versus happy clients sharing their positive experience. If you're unhappy, you're 50% more likely to tell someone that you're unhappy. It creates this bias where there are people out there talking about your business in a negative light.
They're telling people what they did not like about working with you or your business versus happy clients who are just out there raving. It is much harder to get those people to rave about your business. It's much harder to create those brand evangelists if you don't have an incredible experience. But word gets out about people who are unhappy, word gets out about certain programs, certain offers, certain businesses that aren't that great very quickly.
That makes it really hard to get ahead in your business. I love thinking about how do I create clients for life? How do I take such great care of my clients that they want to come back again and again and again? It is seven times easier to keep a client than to go out and find a new client. It's so much easier to retain a client if you are intentionally thinking about your customer experience.
But if all you do is focus on marketing and sales and you're up-leveling your marketing and sales, again, up-leveling the branding, up-leveling the production quality, up-leveling the designer outfits and everything else, but you're not up-leveling your delivery and your experience at the same rate, then you end up with this unbalanced business.
Imagine a seesaw and your marketing and sales are taking up all this bandwidth for you but you're not putting any of that same effort into your customer experience, what happens? It leads to confusion, leads to frustration, leads to disappointment, and leads to unhappy clients.
An amazing customer experience not only helps you keep your clients, retain your clients and have them coming back for more, but it positions what you do completely differently. It positions what you do on the next level and people are willing to pay for a next-level experience.
In fact, American Express did research into this and said that clients are willing to pay 86% more for the same offer, the same product, program, or service if there is an incredible experience behind it. But if you haven't intentionally designed your experience from start to finish, if you haven't intentionally designed every single piece of it, and instead you're only reacting to customer service, then you end up with a business that is losing clients, a business that is losing money, and with a business that is going to have to spend all of its time in marketing and sales because they can't keep their clients.
If we're to run the numbers, this is where things really start to become crystal clear. A lot of times when we talk about planning your numbers for the year, everybody loves to come up with their revenue goals and then break down, “Okay, how many of this product, program, or service do I need to sell? How many clients do I need to get for that? At what price point in order to make my revenue goal?”
When we crunch the numbers, we need to sell 100 clients for $97 a month in order to bring in $116,400 if people are paying that on a monthly basis. But we have to consider all of the numbers. If all we're doing is multiplying the number of clients by the price of the offer for our revenue goal, we're missing out on a lot of important information here.
One, we're not understanding how much does it cost to acquire each new client? How much does it take to bring in a new client? This is one of the most important numbers for each business owner to know. It doesn't matter what you do. If you don't know what it costs to acquire a client, then you don't know how much you're spending in your marketing and sales activities and what the ROI is.
You might actually be putting way too much time, energy, and money into your marketing and sales for not a great return on investment. We have to consider that. Even if you're not running ads, you have to think about your costs to do marketing and sales in your business.
If you were to hire someone else to do all your marketing, what would it cost you? If you were to hire somebody to produce your podcast, what would that cost you? If you were to look at the cost for running ads or for pitching yourself to podcasts and hiring a PR team to do that, what are all those marketing and sales costs? If you divide it by the number of clients you get each year, how much does it cost you to acquire each new client? You might be surprised to see how much it costs to acquire each new client.
Often when we understand this number, we'll realize that it actually could cost you a couple of $100 or more to acquire each new client. Then you need to think about your cost to deliver your product, program, or service. What does it actually cost to deliver this offer? Some offers are obviously going to be less than others. If you have an on-demand digital product, it's your web hosting. It's your email system. If you break it down per product sold, it's nothing.
But where things get more expensive is when you build in any access to you or access to your team, you have to pay those costs, you have to pay the labor and that's a huge line item for a lot of people. Maybe in delivering your product, program, or service, there are things you're sending to your clients or things that they need in order to do your product, program, or service.
For example, when we have the CEO Retreat, we send out a bundle for planning. It's a print workbook, a print planner, post-it notes, and a copy of my book. We account for the cost to deliver that product, program, and service. Hard cost, material cost of goods sold, then there's a service cost, the time and energy it takes for us to actually fulfill that. Those are two things we need to know when it comes to looking at our business. Our cost to acquire each new client, that's our marketing and sales cost, and our cost to deliver.
Then we need to understand our client churn, refund, and cancellation rates. This is something no one is talking about. On average, cancellation, refund, churn rates can be 10% to 20% in a lot of businesses, it could even be higher, which means you're doing a ton of effort, marketing, and sales, and then people are leaving very, very quickly. They're not following through. They're canceling, they're asking for refunds. They are leaving your business.
It makes it really expensive to not have a great customer experience. But if you can improve those things, if you can improve your churn, refund, cancellation rate through an exceptional customer experience, if you're able to manage your costs to deliver your product, program, or service and you're crystal clear about what it takes, if you know exactly what it costs to acquire each new client, these are the things that can help you figure out “How do I make sure I'm being as profitable as possible? Also, how can I make sure I'm pricing in a profitable way so that I'm able to build my business without overspending on the front end, and under-delivering on the back end?”
Working on your customer experience can help you increase your profits by 20%. It's because we go from having that kind of leaky bucket where you're putting clients through your “funnel,” you’re marketing and selling all your products, programs, and services and then people are leaving, instead, customer experience helps you plug all those holes and it helps you plug all those holes because you are eliminating confusion.
Clients are more clear about what the process is, about how to get started. You're eliminating the overwhelm. You're eliminating the frustration. You're making it easier for them to get the results that they're looking for. You're being proactive in answering their questions, you're being proactive in handling problems before they arise, and you're proactively designing an experience that helps people ultimately get the results that they're looking for. If you can get people to results, then the reviews, the repeat business referrals, all of that is going to come your way.
Customer experience, it's one of the best ways to help your business stand out to build an impeccable reputation and to build a database of clients, to build a client base of people who want everything that you have. These are people who are raving, raving fans. I can think of so many different scenarios where the focus is on building the client base.
If you think about a hairstylist for example, a hairstylist does not need to do a ton of marketing. If she can build a client base of 150 to 200 clients who are seeing her every three months like clockwork, that's how she's able to make her business super, super sustainable.
A chiropractor, same thing. They don't have to go out there and constantly be looking for new clients if they are consistently servicing and taking care of their existing clients. Now what about if you don't have a business where you have a client base that's coming back to see you and work with you on a recurring basis? Maybe you have a program that has a specific length, or just a journey of working with you is kind of they start here, they stop here, they move on? That's fine. That's great.
That even makes it easier to think about how we're going to map out this entire journey, and we're going to do that in the next episode, so that each step of the way, they have a great experience with you. This is what leads to a business where now you can start creating the next level offers where now you can find a way for those clients to continue working with you in some capacity because you've designed everything so intentionally.
I hope you're excited about this series. We are going to get through the three stages of customer experience. We're going to talk about how to upgrade your delivery process. We're going to talk about how to transfer the trust and how to effectively bring on a team that can work with your clients for you. We're going to talk about the fun things. How do you surprise and delight and just bring the humanity, the connection, and the relationships back to your business?
I hope you're excited for this one. Make sure you have subscribed to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, wherever you're listening to podcasts so that you can get this entire series. Stay tuned, there is a new training coming to talk about how customer experience fits in with the three essential systems you need in place in your business to sustainably scale. That training is coming soon. Alright, thanks for listening to Promote Yourself to CEO. I'll talk to you in the next episode.