How To Boost Patient Retention With Appointment Scheduling

How To Boost Patient Retention With Appointment Scheduling

Consistently searching for new patients isn’t the key to a successful clinic (unless you’re new to the game). Jerry Durham, owner of a company that helps physical therapy practice owners engage patients for greater results, shares that clinic success is three-fold.

A successful clinic focuses on getting people to keep their appointments, streamlining the payment process, and patient retention.

Patient retention is the area clinics struggle with the most. 

Here are some facts:

  • Patient churn rate in the US healthcare system is a whopping 48% 
  • 36% of patients have left a healthcare provider in the past two years, with 80% of these patients doing so because of a poor in-person experience and/or lack of access and communication.  

If you don’t want patients to leave your practice and never return, keep reading to learn tips that will help you use appointment scheduling to boost patient retention. But first, let’s look more closely at what customer retention is and why it’s important.


What Is Patient Retention?

Patient retention is about helping your existing customers have as many positive experiences with your clinic as possible. It’s divided into three main buckets:

  • In-office patient retention — This is where you make all aspects of the appointment experience as seamless as possible. It should be easy for patients to schedule new and follow-up appointments and avoid spending too much time in the waiting room. 
  • Patient loyalty — Train your team to keep customers happy and at ease. Also, don’t allow patient calls to go unanswered or take too long to respond to a patient’s request. Make it a priority to follow up with patients after their visits.
  • Patient interaction —  Communicate what’s happening and why to make your patients feel as comfortable as possible, and send best wishes for birthdays and other special events your patients have shared. Do whatever you can (big or small) to make every interaction with your patients a positive one.  

Why Is Patient Retention Important?

Patient retention impacts your ability to attract new patients. Dissatisfied patients either leave bad reviews on sites or tell their friends and family members about their bad experiences. According to research by Patient Pop, 74% of patients find online reviews very or extremely important when choosing a healthcare provider, and 69% won’t consider a healthcare provider with an average star rating lower than 4 out of 5 stars. 

While new customers are important, your clinic can’t survive on new customers alone. It costs far more to win new patients than to keep the patients you already have. The cost to win new patients is based on your Patient Acquisition Cost (PAC) — the amount of money spent to convert a possible patient into an actual patient.  

Appointment Scheduling And The Customer Experience

Appointment scheduling can shape your patient’s view of your brand. That’s why it’s important to be aware of your patient’s appointment scheduling preferences: 

  • 67% of patients prefer online booking while 22% prefer to book over the phone
  • 68% of patients say they’re more likely to choose a medical provider that offers the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online

You need the right technology and the right team for your appointment scheduling process to work well. As Maggie Bergeron shares, the seamless integration of technology helps put the ‘care’ back in healthcare. 

Technology-centered appointment scheduling can make a huge difference to your clinic. Here’s how. 

How Appointment Scheduling Tools Can Improve Customer Retention

Your appointment scheduling process is an extension of your customer’s experience. Here’s how the right booking system can appease your customers and keep them returning to your brand.

1. Create A Better Booking Experience

Appointment scheduling makes it easier for patients to book appointments at times convenient to them, thus making the process more efficient. Patients can easily see when you’re available and book an appointment at a time that works best for their schedule. Setting an appointment is as simple as clicking a link and choosing a date and time from the calendar. 

A great booking experience must also be followed up by an informative appointment confirmation message.  An appointment confirmation message is sent immediately after a patient schedules an appointment to ensure the details are correct and to provide any other relevant information. This helps keep the appointment top of mind for your patients and helps them to avoid missed appointments.

2. Personalize Your Patients’ Relationships With Your Brand

With the right appointment scheduling system in place, you can provide a more personalized customer experience just through a booking. A dedicated appointment scheduling system will be able to troubleshoot any customer booking issues, questions, or comments, thus making the booking more aligned with what they need.

The trick with adding the personalized touch is to look beyond an appointment scheduling tool and add a virtual receptionist to the appointment scheduling process. Appointment scheduling technology makes it simple to book appointments, but the human connection that virtual receptionists provide helps your clinic make the right impression. Smiledog’s virtual receptionists provide an appointment scheduling system for personalized bookings with enhanced customer service

3. Keep You (And Your Team) Focused On Customers

Having a set appointment scheduling system keeps you and your team available to focus on the quality of your customer’s experience. A good thing to do is include a feedback survey with each re-booking link to track how patients feel about their experiences. This feedback allows you to work with your staff to quickly address concerns and nip any issues in the bud. 

Make Appointment Scheduling A Natural Part Of Your Business

Appointment scheduling helps you provide patients with the booking experience they want. It’s one part of the patient retention process that reduces patient frustration and no-shows. Pair your appointment scheduling tools with a caring and friendly virtual receptionist, and your clinic will stand out in a sea of competitors. Check out Smiledog’s appointment scheduling services to learn more. 

The First 3 Roles You Should Hire When Starting Your Business

The First 3 Roles You Should Hire When Starting Your Business

Hiring is hard, and I would argue it is one of the hardest things to do in business. For a long time, we used the less-than-favorable process of throwing mud on the wall and hoping it would stick. This worked for us initially because we thought it was the only way to hire people. They make a great first impression and get you excited about how much they can help, only for it to fade 6 months later when their true habits kick in.

We played this game for years, and it always ended up the same way—Us frantically trying to manage the workload left behind and desperate to get someone else new in the doors.

That all changed after we read the book, Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart. What impacted us most was learning that most companies try to hire the best A-players on the market rather than individuals who are best suited for their business. This essentially means that many companies try to overhire and get someone for less than they’re worth, and that person almost always leaves for a better opportunity.

So with that in mind, the first thing you need to do when you’re ready to start hiring is to create a budget for each position. Once you know this, you can start searching for the best candidate within that range. 

Now that you’ve determined your budget, here are the first 3 roles you should consider hiring to boost your company’s growth. 

The Sales do’er

New clients and revenue are essentially the most important thing for a growing company to keep the business moving forward, and it’s the oxygen needed to survive. 

However, you shouldn’t just focus on getting new clients but on getting the right new clients. This is why it’s important that you hire a salesperson who has marketing experience. A great sales leader knows how to bridge the gap between any new client and the right new client.

What To Look For When Interviewing Candidates

The main thing you should be looking for is whether they can tell a story.

In terms of sales and marketing, it all comes down to good storytelling. Can your salesperson create an engaging and emotional story that resonates with people? During the interview, pay attention to how engaged you are with them as they describe past experiences. Do they have your attention and make you want to know more?

Once you know if a candidate can engage people, you need to explore their tactical abilities and look for things like:

  • Results from previous experience
  • CRM & sales funnel building
  • Ad campaign creation
  • Coaching experience

A well-rounded sales leader needs to be able to execute after getting your attention with a great story.

Where can you find this type of person?

Generally, your network of people is the best place to start. Having someone else speak highly of someone is an excellent indicator of their character.

The Customer Experience Champion

What’s the point of bringing on new clients if you can’t keep them? This is why customer service is so important for any growing business, as it sets you apart from the competition. In fact, 58% of consumers will switch companies if their customer experience is poor. So the investment in taking care of your customers is a must. 

What To Look For When Interviewing Candidates

The main thing you should be looking for when hiring your customer service leader is a two-pronged skill set. 

Your customer service leader must be empathetic and have thick skin. They must be able to listen and understand, even if the customer is wrong. 

This skill set is one of the hardest to find, but the best place to start is by looking at their previous experience. There are two things specifically you should look for:

  1. Front-line customer service experience
    • Real-world experience directly with customers.
  2. Length of previous employment
    • This is a sign they are willing to stick it out when things get tough.

Where can you find this type of person?

This might seem obscure but be more aware the next time you’re shopping for something in person. Take note of the person helping you. Are they helpful, honest, and caring? In our experience, there is a lot of amazing talent out there who just need the right opportunity to shine.

The Money Manager

Now that you have steady sales and happy customers, you need to make some money. Because at the end of the day, a business that doesn’t make money is just a hobby (and usually an expensive one).

66% of business startups say that financial problems are the reason for failure. In other words, two out of every 3 businesses will fail due to poor money management. 

The Money Manager is a position every business requires but rarely gets the glory. They keep the roof over everyone’s head and make sure you have balance. The great thing about hiring for this position is the proof is in the pudding. When it comes to numbers and performance, there’s no way of skirting around the facts. So when you try to hire the right candidate, their previous results will tell you exactly how good they were.

What To Look For When Interviewing Candidates

Inquiring about their personal financial strategy is a great way to gain insight into how candidates think about finances during an interview without invading their privacy.

You’re hiring them to be partially responsible for your livelihood, so you want to know how they plan for themselves. You don’t need specifics, but if they can articulate their personal finance strategy, it’s a good indication that they take it seriously and recognize its significance.

Where can you find this type of person?

Again you should tap into your network and ask other business owners you know about their strategy and financial management. Outsourcing is also a great avenue for small businesses as you can hire a professional team for a flat rate to help manage and build your financial strategy.

Wrapping up

As I mentioned before, hiring is hard. However, it is not impossible if you take the necessary time ahead of time to plan out your strategy and create a budget that you can afford. When getting your business started, the Sales Do’er, Customer Experience Champion, and Money Manager will help get your brand up and running.

This is also the order you should look to hire in as well. Hiring in this order follows the natural evolution of most businesses and addresses where their pain points start. 

If your business is already up and running and you’re looking for more advice on managing the hurdles of business ownership, check out our guide on how to survive any curveball. This guide will help you: 

  • Create company culture with your Customer Experience Champion
  • Build a financial model with your Money Manager
  • Launch a content strategy with your Sales Do’er

Check it out to learn more about how your brand can thrive amidst uncertainty.

5 Types of Businesses That Can Benefit From a Virtual Receptionist

5 Types of Businesses That Can Benefit From a Virtual Receptionist

Entrepreneurs often feel like they’re drowning in too many responsibilities.

From financial management to keeping customers happy, it’s a never-ending cycle that leaves you feeling both exhilarated and exhausted. Like many other overstretched entrepreneurs, you are trying to balance everything with your small team.

But it isn’t working; you need additional support. 

A virtual receptionist can help take some of the load off. Here’s everything you need to know about virtual receptionists and how they can elevate your service-based business.

What is a virtual receptionist?

A virtual receptionist uses software to keep track of (and respond to) calls, messages, and other customer interactions. Virtual receptionists can also:

  • Manage social media accounts
  • Manage calendars, appointments, and emails
  • Prepare reports
  • Schedule appointments

How much does a virtual receptionist cost?

One of the best perks of hiring a virtual receptionist is that you only pay for the time you use, with hourly rates ranging from as low as $2 to as high as $30 per hour. According to Payscale, the average hourly wage for a virtual receptionist in the US is $16.44 per hour. To give you some context — the average base salary for a full-time receptionist in the US is $15.52, but that doesn’t include benefits such as health insurance, vacation leave, etc. Your total payout for a full-time receptionist will be more per year than the payout for a part-time receptionist.

How can virtual receptionists improve a business?

Photo by True Agency on Unsplash

You’ll get the most out of your virtual receptionist when they’re aware of what’s happening in your business. The line of communication should consistently be open between them and your team. Bear this in mind as you read the list of benefits below. 

Provide a great customer experience

Nearly 52% of consumers tell their friends and family not to buy from a brand because of a negative experience they’ve had. These negative experiences typically include waiting too long to be helped, dealing with an unpleasant representative, and never getting an issue resolved. Virtual receptionists reduce these pain points by putting the customer first. They ensure each customer who calls receives answers in a quick and efficient manner in order to help your business to thrive. 

Virtual receptionists have extensive customer service experience. They know how to answer the phone with a smile and resolve customer concerns in the most efficient manner. Also, virtual receptionists know how to adjust their greetings and customer interactions to suit your brand’s style, thus helping your customers have great experiences that keep them coming back. 

Transfer calls correctly

Virtual receptionists can help vet the quality of the leads that reach out to your business. This helps you save time and close more deals since you’ll only be speaking with leads who are most likely to become paying customers. 

Also, experienced virtual receptionists use warm transfers to better handle customer complaints.  With a warm transfer, customers don’t have to repeat the problem each time someone answers because the people they speak to make each other aware of the problem before transferring the call. 

Gives you time back

A study shows that 40 percent of small business owners spend 1 to 3 hours per day talking on their phones and dealing with business-related issues. A virtual receptionist is able to handle all calls, only transferring when necessary. This gives you more time as a business owner and allows you to focus on running your business. 

Which industries can benefit from a virtual receptionist?

Small Businesses/Entrepreneurs

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash

As a business owner, your time is spread thin when trying to get your business off the ground. Because you don’t have the luxury of being a household name yet, it’s crucial that you give customers an authentic brand experience. With a virtual receptionist, you can be sure that a customer’s first interaction with your brand is a positive experience. On top of providing great customer experiences, virtual receptionists also handle administrative tasks such as managing calls and scheduling appointments, so you can focus on running your business.

Law Firms

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Attorneys need time to focus on their cases to provide the best service. A virtual receptionist can handle the firm’s inquiring clients so attorneys can focus on current clients. You won’t have to feel pressured to answer each incoming call (or worse, miss calls) while also trying to give your existing clients the best service. Overall, you and your team will be more productive and better able to represent your clients in the boardroom or courtroom!

Medical Offices/Clinics

Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

While the in-office staff handles current patients, virtual receptionists can handle incoming calls/inquiring prospects. Front desk staff typically take 8 to 12 minutes to deal with the signing in and appointment setting of patients in the office. Imagine you have 10 patients in one day; that’s 80 to 120 minutes lost. Other patients could be calling during that time with their calls going unanswered. With a virtual receptionist, calls can be rerouted if they go unanswered for a few minutes, thus covering what may have been lost during that time gap. 

Some medical practices get over 20 calls per day from patients, with only a small percentage of those calls being related to pressing situations. A virtual receptionist can help you screen those calls and transfer them to the right people.


Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Spa owners can’t give clients the time they deserve while trying to handle inquiries from other patients. With a virtual receptionist, spa owners can give their undivided attention to clients for appointments knowing that the receptionist is handling other inquiries and setting future appointments.

This is particularly important for spa owners who’re running their spas solo. A virtual receptionist can help you streamline appointment setting, answering calls, and dealing with customer queries so that your day runs smoothly from one patient to the next.

Other Service-based Businesses

Photo by Daria Pimkina on Unsplash

Beyond the businesses specified above, any type of service business can benefit from a virtual receptionist. Virtual receptionists give your business time back so you can focus on providing excellent service while receptionists continue to grow your business through outstanding customer service.


You have two choices when it comes to your business — keep yourself in a frenzy trying to manage administrative tasks or hire a virtual assistant who helps you save time and money. Option two will give you peace of mind and the freedom to grow your business. Learn more about how Smiledog  virtual receptionists can elevate your business for enhanced customer experiences.

The Sales Funnel: The Right Way to Automate it.

The Sales Funnel: The Right Way to Automate it.

I love all kinds of automation. It’s one of those geek-out things where even the simplest solution gives me such a feeling of satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about adding a messenger bot to your website to help answer questions… incorrectly. I am talking about the automation you implement into your business where your customer stays top of mind, their experience with your business is improved, and the pressure on your team is relieved. 

Automation comes in many forms, but for us today, in how we are looking at it, it means creating pre-built systems that trigger automated actions by the user without needing help from someone on your team.

For me, I look at automation from more of a mindset perspective.

This means that, when implementing automation in your company, you should always think about how it will lower friction for your team and help them stand out even more in the eyes of your customers. Automation should never replace people. It should augment them even more.

The key to automation has and will always be about time. So you need to ask yourself three questions to justify if your time is even worth exploring:

  1. Will this save my customers time?
  2. Will this save my team time?
  3. Will it save me time?

If you answer yes to all three, then implementing that solution is definitely worth exploring. 

What I want to explore in more depth today is specific to Sales Automation. How can you design a frictionless funnel that ensures new leads contact the appropriate employee at your company, receive attentive care during onboarding, and convert to paying customers?

The Sales Funnel

The key to having a good sales funnel that will benefit from automation is determining what style of interaction you need with your customers that will result in the most success for your business. Once you know what that is, you build your funnel around it, and this is where automation comes into play. 

Your funnel can be fully automated until that crucial interaction where the person steps in to seal the deal. This is exactly the flow I was talking about earlier, where the automation you have in place should make your team front and center. 

These are the essential things you need to have in place to help build an automated sales funnel:

  1. A Landing Page
    • You can make it as pretty as you like but focus on its functionality. Your landing page should effectively direct your customers to the actions you want them to take.
  2. Online scheduling tool
    • Make sure the system you pick has a two-way sync with the personal calendar system you use. For example, I use Gmail, so my online scheduling tool syncs with it to ensure no double bookings happen.
  3. CRM Software
    • Analytics: make sure the system you choose has a robust analytics tool that is customizable to fit your business and not a pre-built platform that you must cater to. Custom reporting is key to analyzing the success of your sales funnel.

For us at Smiledog, everything is about the phone call. It’s where we have the most success. This is what our high-level sales funnel looks like:

  • The Consultation Call (phone)
  • The Assessment Call (Zoom)
  • The Onboarding Call (Zoom)

The most important touch points are all handled by a specialist on our team. The rest is handled by automation on the back end to ensure the process is seamless and easy for the client.

The Consultation Call

Here is an example from our sales funnel highlighting the automation we have built around getting the initial consultation booked in.

The whole process of booking your initial consultation with us is frictionless and easy. In fact, 4 quick steps take 15-30 seconds to complete. This quick, efficient booking process results from hundreds of tests to ensure the automation works correctly. We noticed the following optimizations helped us reduce friction and increase conversions: 

  • Clear CTA’s
  • Simple Forms
    • 2-5 data points. We use: First & Last Name, Email, Number & Interested Service
  • 2 call lengths options 
    • It helps fit more personalities. The person who likes it short and sweet as well as the person who is more comfortable diving into the details.
  • Lots of available booking times
    • Potential customers want to choose the best time for them, not you. So make plenty of available options for them.

The Assessment Call

The assessment call is the second phase of our sales funnel. It’s a “two birds one stone” type of approach. It allows us to:

  • Establish more expertise to increase the potential customers’ confidence in us.
  • Audit the clients in-depth to determine if they are the right fit for our service. 
    • The assessment call is not done every time as some clients want to move quickly, so we use this as a 2nd phase when clients need more data to help with their decision.

Here is how it works:

  1. Once the initial consultation call is coming to a close and the prospect is still “on the fence,” we offer them a more in-depth free consultation via zoom. More often than not, they like how it sounds and ask how it works.
  2. We explain the structure of the assessment.
    • We explain that it is a customized live two-way demo.
    • They will show/explain to us how reception currently works at their end.
    • We then show/explain how we can make that work for them virtually.
  3. Follow up immediately post consultation.
    • They receive an email with information about the assessment and a booking link so they can choose a time to complete it right away.

You’re probably thinking, where is the automation? 

Well, that comes into play in the follow-up stage. We use sequencing to follow up with prospects who have not yet had the chance to book their assessment.

Sequencing is a process that allows you to create automated flows, where each flow has a unique step that is strategically timed to happen based on the criteria you set. An entire sequence can be customized to do what you want when you want. They can automate task reminders, emails, and team notifications and really help you scale sales and marketing funnels.

Remember that email I mentioned that we send out after consultation calls? Well, that is an automated feature we added to optimize our sales funnel, and it has 5 automated check in’s attached to ensure we get the customer booked. 

They are pre-built messages strategically timed to go at the highest open rate times of the day with a quick reminder and booking link to have the prospect schedule the free assessment they agreed to. 

The best part about sequencing is that the flow continues until we get a reply or it ends. Meaning our team doesn’t have to manually remember to check in and only needs to act when the lead replies or the sequence stops.

The automations we built on the backend let us put the action into the customer’s hands so we can free up our team’s time to handle a higher volume of what matters and converts the most: the phone call.

The Onboarding Call

The onboarding process has the same approach as the assessment call, and we put the action into the customer’s hands with automated sequence follow-ups. 

As soon as the assessment is finished, we send the customer everything they need to get started.

  1. A quick clickable link to their intake questionnaire
  2. Automated electronic agreement sent directly to their email
  3. Direct link to book their full onboarding call

These steps are quick and easy for the customer as all it requires of them is to click the links we send and follow the steps. For us, it’s all pre-built, integrated with our CRM, and ready to send, saving time on both ends.

How can this help your business?

Really what I am trying to emphasize here is how the automations we have built are all focused around the interaction that gives us the most success with our clients: the phone call. For us the phone call highlights the best part of our business; our team, and that is why we have the most success with it. 

So for your business, the key to owning your sales process is truly narrowing down what exchange with your customers will yield the highest return, then automating the funnel around it.

You are an expert at what you do, so you need to ensure that you give yourself the best chance to show off your knowledge to any prospect who comes through your doors. If you need help balancing your sales funnel, then our virtual reception service can help you catch leads so you can focus on closing them.

The Science Behind Answering the Phone With a Smile

The Science Behind Answering the Phone With a Smile

There’s an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Dr. Amelia Shephered is about to do one of the most difficult surgeries in her career. She’s terrified because of how much the patient means to her and the fact that so many things can go wrong. Before entering the operating theater, she stands in the prep room in a superhero pose.

A medical  resident walks in and asks, “What is happening?” 

Amelia responds, “I’m being a superhero. There’s a scientific study that shows that if you stand in a superhero pose for five minutes before a really hard task, you’ll not only feel more confident, but you’ll also perform measurably better.”

The intern joins her, and, interestingly enough, the surgery goes well.

Amelia is right — there’s a study that highlights the benefits of the superhero pose, but it has been shrouded in controversy, and there have been calls for more detailed research. Regardless, there’s no denying the psychological impact of how adjusting your physical state can impact your mental state.

Similarly, smiling behind the phone can affect your attitude and, therefore, provide a better customer experience. In this article, we’re diving deeper into the science behind smiling so that you and your team can provide the best possible experience to your customers. 

3 Benefits of Answering the Phone With a Smile

A study conducted by Microsoft shows that “90% of customers continue to place a high value on the quality of customer service when choosing or remaining loyal to a brand.” The same study shows that most customers continue to use phone interactions as their preferred channel to contact customer service. 

Many factors impact customer experience, one of them being how team members respond to calls. Phone calls offer opportunities for more organic conversations, but they also make verbal cues, such as tone of voice, more prominent. Here are three ways science proves that smiling not only impacts your tone of voice but also improves the overall customer experience. 

Smiling improves your mood

Smiling causes a chemical reaction in the brain that leads to the release of ‘feel good’ hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. Having that ‘feel good’ vibe when talking to customers helps keep your team level-headed so that they can handle problems appropriately. They may even transfer that improved mood to your customer on the other end of the conversation. Remember that your ability to provide a great customer experience gives you a competitive advantage as a small business owner.

Smiling makes it easier to handle stress

Your receptionists are the first people your customers speak to when they call your office. They sometimes work with difficult customers and have to quickly resolve issues on their own where possible. Depending on how busy your office is, this situation can produce a lot of stress and present a greater risk of your receptionists taking out that stress in some way on your customers. 

You can do many things to help your receptionists better manage the stress of their jobs. One possible solution comes from a study done by psychologists from the University of Kansas —  smiling can help reduce stress. Sure, it’s not the cure for stress, but it can offer relief for “brief, acute stressors for short periods of time or as an antidote to a passing negative mood,” according to Sara Pressman, one of the psychologists involved in the research. 

Smiling puts customers at ease

There’s a principle called emotive perception where we mimic the emotions we perceive. Although typically highlighted in face-to-face contexts, emotive perception can also occur during telephone conversations. Customers can’t see a receptionist’s smile, but their perception of a smile based on the receptionist’s tone can make them happier.

Smiledog’s Receptionists Answer Calls With a Smile

The three benefits of smiling on the phone help you and your team better connect with your customers. That’s why it’s so important to train your receptionists to answer the phone professionally and with a smile. Their smiles are just like the superhero pose giving them the drive they need to offer the best possible customer service.

Don’t have a virtual receptionist yet? Smiledog has a team of virtual receptionists who know how to answer calls with a smile and put your customers at ease. Connect with one of our virtual receptionists today.

3 Principles That Can Help Improve Your Customer Experience

3 Principles That Can Help Improve Your Customer Experience

In my experience, shifting your business to be more customer-focused is a tall order. Customers are demanding, and there isn’t one thing you can do that works for every client. Some will like it, and some will hate it. It is just the nature of people. However, the time and energy spent on developing a customer-focused system are all worth it when you get a message from a client who tells you they appreciate the effort made to create that experience for them. It is a rare moment but always worth it.

I want to share my (failed many times first) approach to creating a more customer-focused experience that we use in our business. This is not the answer, nor will it work for everyone, but we have found a good rhythm using these principles to improve our customer experience here at Smiledog.

Be Your Customer, Everywhere

Your business has more than one customer-focused experience, and you must constantly monitor them to ensure they reflect the experience you want to create. This is one thing I do regularly. All of these are customer experiences:

  • Ad experience 
  • Landing page experience
  • Website experience
  • Social media experience
  • Sales experience 
  • Onboarding experience
  • Customer support experience
  • Client issue experience
  • Cancellation experience

The list could honestly be 10 times that length, but you get the picture. What I am trying to highlight here is that each moment a customer has with your business is an experience, and you need to consistently make sure they reflect your brand’s identity.

I enjoy doing this mainly because it’s my chance to play with our business. It keeps me creative and stimulates my mind to improve. I have finally accepted that these experiences will never be perfect. I find joy in discovering the missing piece because that is the chance for innovation and to improve the experience for our customers. Take pride in where you are now and be diligent in making sure you are always looking to improve.

Don’t Change It All for One Client

This scenario may hit home for a lot of business owners. That difficult client who is always the first to let you know you’re doing everything wrong, they try to tell you how to serve them because they “know” better than you. Don’t worry—they don’t. 

The key to this is striking a balance between serving the client and your business. More often than not, these situations are more of a personality clash rather than a problem with how you’re delivering your service. 

In my experience:

  1. I let them unload and take the brunt of the issue head-on. It’s only personal if you choose it to be. It is you and your client working together vs the problem. Not you vs the client.
  2. I try to listen and look for the true problem. Get underneath the complaining and try to narrow down where the frustration is coming from.
  3. Get a solution that doesn’t compromise me or the business. If there is pain, people want it gone. The solution can certainly cater to that client but never upend your entire system to appease them. Confidently serve your clients, don’t be run by them.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

I actually can’t stand it when people say the customer is always right. If the customer is always right, why did they come to you for help in the first place?

Most of the time, customers don’t know what they want and are looking to you for the answer. Solve their problem with ease, and you have a happy customer.

When is the customer right? 

When the promise you made is no longer being kept. If your service or product quality has declined and is negatively affecting the customer, you need to make sure you do everything you can to turn that interaction into a positive experience. 

When you make a mistake:

  1. Own it.
  2. Apologize.
  3. Find a fix. 

This goes back to being your customer. Creating a positive experience around a negative event is a crucial part of your company’s reputation. The effort to make that customer happy now is always worth it in the long run.

Wrapping Up

Your customer experience is unique to your business, and certain things will work better for you than others. Be your customer whenever you can, stay disciplined and confident, don’t change it all for one client, and remember that you are the expert and the customer isn’t actually always right. And if you need some help managing the day-to-day with those clients, we’d love to help! find out how we can right here: Smiledog.

Only 7.5% of the world’s 7.75 billion people have chosen the path of entrepreneurship. Be confident in the fact that you are a rare breed, and you know what you’re doing!