5 Reasons why your small business is struggling (and what to do about it now!)

In today’s competitive landscape, customers expect a lot more from brands and businesses they buy from. As an entrepreneur, you come up with new innovative ideas to serve your customers but how do you really know if that’s what the customers really want? You may offer world-class products and yet the customers continue to buy from old outdated brands. How do we fix this? How to find out the customer pain points and what can we do about them? In this blog post, we take you through the steps to create a customer journey map, find their pain points and ways you can solve their issues to deliver the kind of experience they really expect.

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What’s a customer journey map?

In simple words, creating a customer journey map urges you to step into the customer’s shoes and understand their challenges and motivational factors. The customer journey map is the accumulation of all customer experiences with your brand throughout the customer journey. Building the customer journey map allows you to gain a deeper insight into the whole customer experience from their standpoint. Instead of analyzing experiences at individual touch points, the customer journey map enables you to view it from your customer’s perspective.

In order to create the customer journey map, we recommend you to start by creating your buyer persona and then mapping it to the customer journey from their perspective. You can start by gathering insights into consumer behavior. This persona includes a general description of your customers including their demographics, what kind of backgrounds they come from, general personality traits, their goals and challenges, and their motivational factors.

List down your touch points: Create a list of all possible touch points where customers interact with your brand. This can include your website, social media channels, paid advertisements, customer service calls, public events, in-store promotions, product documentation, etc. and analyze what message are you communicating at each touch point. In addition to this, test out the system as a customer and observe the kind of experience received by customers at each of these touch points.

List down your touch points

Create your own framework: Understand what is the end goal of this customer journey and at which stage you ensure the buying cycle of the consumer is complete. Plot the touchpoints into different stages of the consumer life cycle which includes stages like awareness, consideration, acquisition, service and after-sales support. Define the customer expectations at each stage and try to understand the gaps from their perspective. When you visualize their path and step in their shoes, you can better understand the pain points at each stage of the buyer journey.

Most common customer pain points and how to fix them

1. You’re difficult to reach out to for your customers

The number of fake and illegitimate websites on the web are increasing by the day, and you don’t want to be perceived as one of those businesses who people can’t trust. Don’t hide out your contact information on one of the least visited pages of your websites. Customers regularly have queries and appreciate human interaction. When they don’t find the contact information easily, they feel like you are not committed to solving their issues and no business can grow without their customer’s support. Make their life easier and always stay easily reachable for them.

We recommend using a live chat option which allows you to connect with the customers at the time they have any questions about your products/services and want to reach out to you. If you’re a small business, it’s possible that you only have limited time to chat with customers. In that case, you can opt for adding a personal online booking schedule on your business website with free software like SuperSaaS. You can keep some part of the day like 1 hour each day to connect with customers. You can divide this time in smaller time slots of 5-10 minutes and allow them to book any of those slots online. The system sends you and the customer a quick reminder before the scheduled call time so you don’t forget.

A small initiative like this will not only help your customers in staying connected to you but also help you in always staying up to date about the frequently asked questions and understand about customer’s needs and pain points.

2. You have a complicated payment structure

A lot of businesses have moved their shops online, and you may also be selling your products or services online. Customers value transparency, especially when it comes to pricing and payments because it is one of the most important factors affecting their purchase decision. Customers do not trust businesses who tend to hide the delivery charges, have a habit of adding VAT/taxes later or offers a complicated pricing structure with additional delivery charges only displayed on the last stage.

We’ve also seen a lot of businesses who create a complicated pricing structure where the customers need to pay extra money for getting access to the most important features of the product/service. Customers often end up frustrated with such pricing plans because they already spent a lot of time in understanding about your product, doing research about the features only to realise in the end that all their efforts were futile as the most important features are only available in your most expensive packages.

If you’re conducting worldwide, it’s possible that each local market has its own payment methods that are popular in that country. Customers find it difficult to conduct business with you when they cannot pay using the popular payment method in their market. In this case, consider a 3rd party payment provider like Adyen which allows you to accept payments seamlessly across markets in multiple currencies and via multiple payment methods. Accepting multiple payment methods makes it convenient for your customers to do business with you

3. You’re not listening

Your customers are the reason why your business exists. Your aim is to provide a great customer experience and build long-term relationship with your customers. And like any other relationship, building a relationship with your customer needs to be a two-way street. But are you really listening to your customers? Not receiving any complaints doesn’t always mean satisfied customers. Customer feedback can help you measure the level of customer satisfaction and help you identify the gaps in your services. Your product/service may be great, but unless you adapt your products, services and your marketing communication to your customer’s needs, it’s all in vain.

Be open to listening to your customers and open different channels to allow customers to share their honest review/feedback with you. We understand that you’re a small business, and it may be expensive to set up a customer service department or have a phone line for customers to share their feedback. However, you don’t need a dedicated resource to listen to your customers. You can get started with small steps like allowing customers to choose between a thumbs up or a thumbs down at the end of a blog post to find out if they enjoyed the content or not. Or by simply adding a feedback form on your website. You can also spend some time to schedule appointments with customers to find out more about their experience with your product/service.

Collecting customer feedback shows that you value their opinion and assures them that you’re available for them in case of any issues. Satisfied customers tend to stay longer and more loyal towards products/services they love. Use customer feedback to determine areas with scope of improvement and use this feedback to improve your offerings continuously.

4. Your website may be repelling the potential customers

Your website is your online identity where your customers can find all the information about you. There are many elements that work together to keep your website interesting for your website visitors. Unfortunately selecting a website template and adding simple business information is not enough. Your website should contain all important features relevant to your business, for example, your logo, unique value proposition, introduction, contact information and so on.

In order to find out how your customers feel about your website, consider including the free code from Google Analytics to your website pages. You can then track some key metrics like bounce rate, traffic sources, search terms, etc. to find out what visitors do when they visit your website. Visitors land on your website from various sources. Your website should be able to answer the questions they seek about the product. Here are a few areas you can evaluate on your website to find out whether your website attracts or repels potential customers:

  1. Low readability index: Your information should be well organized and without too many jargons. Not all visitors understand complicated industry terms, so ensure that you keep your content simple and organized into sections and subsections to improve readability.
  2. Too many ads: Remember how many times you left a website because there were too many ads on the page. Visitors are annoyed by too many ads. Ads prohibit readability and irritate the visitors with unnecessary information. Ensure that your website is not ad-heavy.
  3. Too many or too less call to action buttons: It’s important to have enough call to action buttons on the website to encourage users to take action on your website. However, ensure that you don’t place too many or too few CTA buttons on your home page and landing pages.
  4. Utilize white spaces: We understand that you have a lot of relevant information you wish to share with your readers. However, it is always better to logically organize the information in readable blocks and have enough white space on your web pages. Not having enough white space can repel your users and make them feel overwhelmed with the volume of information shared in very little space.
  5. Mobile-friendly website: In today’s world, more searchers look for information on their mobile phones than on their desktop. This essentially means your there’s a good probability that your potential customers land on your website on their mobile phone. Test out your website pages on a mobile to ensure good loading speed, and right alignment of content on your web pages.

Above are just a few areas which may be repelling your potential customers. There are a thousand more areas which may go wrong on your website. We would recommend evaluating your analytics on the Google Analytics dashboard to find out what problems have been haunting you and then working on them one by one.

5. Inconsistent experience across channels

Delivering a great customer experience to a few customers may get their attention, but it doesn’t win their loyalty. You can only win their loyalty by delivering a consist customer experience throughout customer lifecycle. Are you capable of delivering a consistent experience across all touchpoints? What are the challenges faced by your customers at each touchpoint? Do you have infrastructure to deliver this type of consistent experience?

When your business is struggling to find new customers beyond your own network, it’s time to evaluate the experience of existing customers. Disappointed or dissatisfied customers are less likely to recommend your product/service to others. Irrespective of how much you spend on your marketing, unless your product/service meets customer’s expectations it’s highly probable that your business will find it difficult to find new customers. Test your product/service yourself by putting yourself in their shoes and find out the gaps in expectations.

Customers worry about the value of your product more than the price. It’s also possible that your product has the capability to meet the needs of your customers, but your customers are unable to recognize the value. In such cases, you need to create helpful content and marketing communication material to communicate the value of your product. Help your customers in identifying how they can solve their problems with your product/service. Speak their language, and once they recognize that your product/service really serves their needs, they will be happy to refer you to more customers.

Is your business struggling to find new customers? Please share the challenges you’re facing in the comments section below. In case we haven’t covered the area, we would be happy to add follow-up content to our existing article.

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