Hobbit Business Review

Want to Keep Your Customers? Keep It Simple — Here’s Why.

Key Takeaways

  • Why do businesses stray from simplifying their services?

  • What can be done to maintain a balanced service offering and customer experience?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It’s a common issue among businesses of all sizes, startups and franchises. It plagues the customer experience, strains sales teams, and overcomplicates or creates unnecessary billing. What may have started with simplicity in mind after staying on the core of your messaging has turned into expanded service offerings, sometimes without clear reasoning or need. An overcomplication of products or services, typically by adding too many, depleting servicing of the core offerings, and other complications arise, removing the ease of access and simplicity the core customer base has enjoyed. All can lead to a drop in sales, dissatisfaction, and, if prolonged, continued loss of market share.

Why do businesses stray from simplifying their services?

Too many startups and businesses get stuck in this ongoing trap of trying to match competitors or thinking that more products or services increase sales. Competing franchises commonly do this with benefits and even product or service naming. The constant pull to innovate, offer and announce something new, and be more top of mind to intended audiences can pull businesses into continuous change and unique offerings that distract from the excellent, existing services already offered. Additionally, efforts towards brand realignment or placing the entire brand into new messaging that aligns differently from the core audience regarding values, market segment, or need can cause significant disruption or even PR nightmares.

What can be done to maintain a balanced service offering and customer experience?

There will always be a need to innovate, better serve an existing customer base, and maintain market share in an ever-increasingly volatile market. Constant change will remain consistent. However, that does not mean that every brand’s reaction to change is a change of its own. Depending on the market segment, consistency may be the best, most profitable strategy to stand out in the loud noise of change from competitors.

In business, and frankly, in life, there is sometimes nothing easier than reacting to change with more change. Change occurs for no reason, an impulse to change for the sake of change (without strategy), or change because someone (likely a competitor) is changing or revamping their offerings to the market. Just because someone else is embarking on change for the sake of change does not mean your business should also change. Best steps first — map or remap your customer experience strategy.

Start with breaking down barriers for your current customer base. If a startup, a vital part of any customer experience strategy right after mapping how customers find you is how easy it is for those potential customers to purchase first, purchase well (best fit for their needs), and purchase again. Start to build key messaging around how your startup fills a need better than what is currently available and how your services are more accessible to utilize than anyone else. Part of that key messaging should include a commitment to consistency and reliability with systems that continuously offer simplistic processes. As a startup, you are taking market share from others for a reason. When growth happens, remember what first propelled that growth.

For an existing business through the startup phase, the magic happens when simplicity can be maintained. New employees must be hired through launch and scale, and additional layers and systems are established. It is so easy to build layers that have added complications. With each layer, a founder or CEO must understand that it represents another wall between the customer base and revenue. While it is true that only some employees are customer-facing and even revenue-generating, their importance in keeping the business streamlined, simplistic, and consistent matters as much as hitting sales goals or keeping accounting up to date.

Use simplicity as a sales strategy

Stop trying to be everything to everybody. It is a phrase used often and commonly overlooked. If your startup or existing business is winning with clear key messaging, has a core audience that remains loyal and advocates for your brand, and scale looks like your brand continues to be a market leader for the solutions offered, do not let up on that core. Use it as a selling point in the sales strategy your brand incorporates. Too often, sales techniques and selling points sound more like an encyclopedia than bullet points of solutions. Or worse, service offerings are just repackaged solutions already offered that only add complexity and do not differentiate your brand from competitors.

A simplified sales strategy — including the sales funnel, offerings, and ease of customer access and journey through the sales process and service after the sale — is rare. Think about the last time you needed assistance from a massive Fortune 500 call center or online support. If the customer journey experience your brand has developed is a better experience over rivals, use it in sales! Most have been dissatisfied with service from others in the past, and it is overlooked by many in sales as a selling point.

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