What is Strategic Planning?
I hope you’re enjoying the series on Strategic Planning. Today, we wrap it up with Customer Experience and Personal Growth
If you missed the first microcasts in the series on Mission, Vision, & Values, KPIs, Financial Review, product development, visibility, operations, and team growth, you’ll definitely want to check out those episodes and I’ll have the links for you in the show notes.
The last two strategies I focus on with clients and in my own business is Customer Experience and Personal Growth.
Before we get started talking about Customer Experience though, I want to make sure you are attracting the right kind of paying customers to your business. Head back to episode 6 where I walk through how save time, money, and frustration by creating your ideal client profile.
For me, the client experience means, “how do I love on people?” How do I love on my ideal clients and how do I love on the ones who are not? Is it different? Why? What do my values say the difference would be?
Your client experience starts from the first exposure. Perhaps they saw you comment on another’s post and followed your bio to your website. Or maybe they saw an ad or heard your name on the lips of a satisfied, or dissatisfied client. What work are you doing that feeds into each of those scenarios? Because word of mouth is so important, how you treat your non-ideal clients is crucial. Spend time with your client profile and the problematic client profile so when these situations come up, you know how to react.
When you’re working on strategic planning each quarter, think back to those customers who were inside your vibe bubble and those who were outside. If you’ve never done so, consider taking some time to better understand why they were outside your ideal client bubble. Were they rude, did they not pay on time, did they ask you to work outside your boundaries, did they want complete customization of your product or service?
Because even though they weren’t your ideal customer, they had a customer experience and you want to make sure, through your experience with them, that it is not repeated for someone else. What processes through their customer experience can be refined to ensure YOU don’t have this experience and certainly that another potential client doesn’t.
Now is the time to also collect reviews, testimonies, etc. and refresh your website and social media. Ideally, you’ll be collecting those more immediately after the event, but if you haven’t, reach out to your customers to solicit those now.
And the last thing I’ll discuss about customer experience today is their onboarding experience. Like I said earlier, they’ve had some kind of first exposure to you and now you need to keep in contact. From the first moment they click to book a call, or walk through your doors, or purchase that first product from your page, do you have a work flow that provides five points of service for them? A thank you for getting in touch, a follow up on how they liked their purchase/service or a story of how they used what they’ve learned/purchased? A six month follow up, or a “hey you bought this, so I thought you’d like that…”
This kind of falls under operations too, but this kind of workflow that helps the customer feel like they are being loved on will only generate you more sales. They may not notice right away, but with the amount of pop up services and online stores going starting every day, you want the customer to stay with you. Did you know that it costs 5-6x MORE to get a new customer than to keep an existing one? Loving on your customers saves you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Here’s a few ways you can do it:
- Gifts – don’t go out and buy a bunch of stuff with your logo on it. I’m talking about a small surprise in the package you’re already sending. For example, my daughter bought something from an online boutique and she got a free (and adorable, I might add), scrunchie. She was more excited about the scrunchie than she was the product she ordered and said, “ooh, I’ll have to order from her again.”
- Include a personal note, snail mailed to their address checking up on their purchase.
- Send a “one year” or “six month” anniversary of their first purchase or discovery call, just to check in and see how they’re doing.
- For the holidays, send your email list a discount on their purchases.
Based on your industry, there are tons of ways you can reach out and do the extraordinary. I’d love to help you with that. Book a Call.
Strategic Planning for Personal Growth
Much like your Team’s growth, you have to focus on your personal growth as well – adding tools to your toolbox.
The first thing you’ll want to look at are the projects you’ve identified in the next quarter or two that will help you reach your financial goals. Then, you’ll want to identify the skills you need to accomplish those things. Then you’ll, want to find the influencers, gurus, and programs that will give you those skills. Then schedule the time to do the learning. You can see why this is important to do a quarter ahead of time, right?
First, identify your project. Let’s say Sophie, our wearable art shop owner, wants to start a podcast. Great! She’s identified the project. Now, though she needs to ID those skills, so she takes a quick inventory (not of tasks, but of skills). Consider:
- How to record and edit
- Speaking Voice Lessons
- How to do the A-Z’s from script to publish.
- How to market the podcast
And of course, there are several other skills she will need but this gets us started.
Her next step is to find the influencers. There are hundreds in her space. She can go super big time, find experienced people or find someone just starting out. I’ve noticed with the super big time, is that I was lured in with tons of great information on step one but to get any farther, I needed to purchase much bigger. I’m also inundated with emails over the next several days with, “Are you sure you don’t want this?” “Are you sure, sure?” and “Are you absolutely positively sure?”
If you’re just starting out, my recommendation is first find how you learn best. Are you better at following step by step directions on your own or do you need someone to walk you through exactly what you need to do? One will cost you about $40 and the other hundreds or even a couple thousand dollars. Then find the guru in your price point that provides the learning in the format you need.
Over a few days, Sophie connected with podcast industry social media gurus, reviewed websites, and found she connected in different ways to Esther Littlefield who runs Morningstar Podcasting and Colin Gray who runs The Podcast Host. Now, she’s taking time to document their services, delivery methods, and costs.
I believe narrowing down the field is an important part of this process. Start with ten influencers or so. Follow them on social media, review your values, take a look at your financial goals, and the time and money you have available. When you start following anyone and everyone who’s ever helped someone with a podcast, you’re going to see your inbox flooded and your feeds blasted with Podcast goodness. Just because it’s good does not mean it’s right for you.
Strategic Planning means not chasing all the shiny objects but making decisions based on data and information that will help you meet your goals.
That’s the end of our Strategic Planning Series! Let me know if you enjoyed this series by dropping a review. You can also send me a note on some of your takeaways from this series at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re listening to this before January 8, 2021, then there’s still time to join the waitlist for my new mini-course: Ditch the Buzzwords, Craft Foundational Mission, Vision, and Values that Transform Your Business. If you sign up for the waitlist, you’ll get a sweet discount. Sign up today: https://vimandvigor.biz/mvv/
Thank you for listening to this episode of the ONE BURNING QUESTION microcast. Please join me in our private Facebook group Small Business Confidants where we come together to share, plan, create, and give.
I value your time and I’m so very grateful you spent a portion of it with me. If you think you might be ready to walk through your own Strategic Planning Process so you can increase your visibility, reduce your stress, hire better, and grow a bigger vision, then let’s talk.
Until next week, I’m here for you!