Small Business Branding consistency is one of the most fundamentally important factors in the keys to your business success. If you want to be known for a level of quality or for being a business that delivers something different, you need to back this up at every opportunity. One miss and you’re down the plug hole, without any jam donuts.
Small Business Branding Fail – My story
Here’s a great example of consistency letting a small business down:
About a week or so ago I bought an online present for my wife. The gift was for a service from a fellow small business. Overall, the interaction had some good and poor elements. It’s a shame, because with a few simple tweaks essentially costing $0, the whole experience could have gone from ok to memorable.
Let’s look at the pro’s and cons of my small business experience
Pros of my Experience
- Good website address
- Enticing website design and functionality
- Great customer service
- Good product
Cons of my Experience
- In the mail I received a generic ‘to who it concerns’ letter, rather than a personalised letter
- My letter wasn’t personally signed
- My letter was ripped
- The logo on the letter was pixelated. Gasp!
So it turns out I had a really good experience at the start of my interaction, but the delivery of the service (voucher) was quite poor. And guess what I remember most – the last thing that I experienced, being the poor voucher. The service attached to the voucher is great, however its voucher representation is not consistent with the quality service it represents.
If the small business owner did a simple mail merge, signed the letter, cut it with a sharp knife and used a better logo, things would have turned out so much better. I would have been a happy customer who had full confidence in the small business.
This story illustrates the importance of small business branding consistency at every turn. And how each interaction can either work to enhance your expectations or erode your trust. We each have a baseline of expectation when we look to engage a small business. For instance if we are speaking to a mechanic, we’d expect more of a matter of fact conversation. If speaking to a lawyer, we’d expect something more formal. Likewise if we visited the website of a global brand, we’d expect a bit more than from the local pizza joint. By understanding these expectations you can not only work to deliver on them, but also exceed them. And that’s what will separate you from your competition.
Important Areas For Business Consistency
Let’s take a look at your small business through a customer lens, so we can try and determine whether your business is acting consistently across all customer points.
- Is your website quick to load, giving the user a seemless experience?
- Is your website easy to use, making it easier to get information?
- Do all the links on your website work?
- Does your website address reflect your business name?
- Does the look and feel of your website reflect your other business operations?
- Does your website look good?
- It’s essential that your storefront is clean inside and out and reflects the personality and pricing point of your products and services. I’ve covered this in detail with mistakes that damage your small business
On the Phone
- Does your business pick up the phone quickly?
- How do you answer the phone? Is it hiwelcometojimsplantsthisisjamie can I help you? Can you be understood and do you come across as approachable?
- Does your voicemail message give enough information, without being too long?
- Do you return phone calls promptly, indicating this on your voicemail message?
- Are your goods presented in their best light?
- Are your goods easily accessible and not cluttered?
- Can people receive goods in perfect condition?
- Is your delivery process seemless?
Take a moment to look at each part of your business. Have a friend pose as a customer or even better, hire a professional mystery shopper. The closer we are to our small business, the more difficult it is to see the view from a customers eyes. If you forget about how customers perceive you, your business is headed for a rocky decline.
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A mystery shopper is an excellent, and inexpensive way to go, to show up one’s shortcomings and make improvements. You have shown how taking a few simple steps can make a big difference.
.-= Carolyn´s last blog ..Cardboard Heart Decoration =-.
I couldn’t agree more, the whole experience has to go smoothly. It is no good having great service if the goods take a long time to arrive etc. We tend to remember the negatives and although I usually give businesses a second chanceI don’t always, there’s lots of other competitors waiting to fill the space.
I have recently been into a store where I have felt it is so easy to buy a product. So much thought has gone into simplifying the process, down to the smallest detail, that I am pleased to spend my money. In contrast, I have been in a shop where the product I am interested in is available but the service is so poor I cannot even find someone to take my money, so it comes out with me & I find somewhere else. It’s often the attention to the simple processes which make the difference.