During the previous economic boom, growth came easy to many companies. It was almost as if they got swept up in the current of growth. In many ways, it was hard not to grow revenue.
Now we find ourselves in a challenging economic environment. Growth is not a given. In this uncertain economy, how can we set ourselves up to make growth more predictable?
I specialize in helping companies grow their revenue, so during the past four months, conversations with clients about their revenue growth strategy have shifted. Not only is there more of an urgency, but there is also a resolve to figure out how to recover and grow revenue.
The prize of revenue growth goes to the companies that make the right shifts. In an environment where many things seem out of control, there are two things businesses can control that will help ensure revenue growth:
1. Refocus your message.
Buyers don’t buy products; they buy the outcomes your products deliver. While your products haven’t changed, the outcomes your customers want probably have.
For example, when identifying post-Covid-19 workplace trends, a recent Gartner article observed that companies are transitioning from “designing for efficiency to designing for resilience.” Business-to-business providers that used to talk about efficiency and productivity should now lead with things like resiliency and flexibility.
You can see the shift in message everywhere you look. Instead of talking about how great their food tastes, smart restaurants are messaging about how quickly they can deliver. Rather than talk about how fluffy the pillows are, hotel chains can message about the safety of remote check-in and mobile room keys.
While you likely sell the same product or service, the outcomes of your customers’ value have changed. Look through your marketing and sales materials. What needs to shift in your message?
Using yesterday’s message might mean you get tuned out by your prospects as they seek to direct their limited resources to the new outcomes they want. Refocusing your message ensures you are relevant, therefore putting you in the position to continue to drive revenue.
2. Enhance your experience.
In their 1998 Harvard Business Review article, B. Joseph Pine II and James Gilmore famously announced: “Welcome to the experience economy.” They continued to expand on this critical topic in their 2020 update of the book, The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention, and Money. They assert that in a world where products are commoditized and service is expected, improving your customer experience might be the last bastion of competitive advantage.
Right now, customer experience might be the biggest area companies can leverage to drive growth.
Fortunately, the current environment presents plenty of opportunities to improve your customer experience. Let’s be honest: Doing business in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis is frustrating, inconvenient, and painful.
What can you do to reduce the frustration for your customers? How could you make your experience pleasant, memorable, and even fun?
Gather your leadership team and map your customer experience. At each stage of engagement, ask three questions:
• What is the customer thinking?
• What results do we want?
• What could we do to make this more pleasant, memorable, or fun?
In the mix of frustration, fear, and inconvenience, companies that intentionally enhance their customer experience will build loyalty in the short term and the long term.
Right now, buyers are shifting to companies that provide a better experience.
At the beginning of the crisis, consumers flocked to companies that could simply deliver goods and services remotely or virtually. As this goes on, I suspect that consumers will want more, giving preference to companies that not only deliver remotely but also provide a good experience in the process.
How can you improve your customer experience? Get your team together to map out your customer experience and brainstorm ways to make it more enjoyable.
Listen and pay attention.
How do you refocus your message and enhance your customer experience? You listen. Ask your clients about the challenges they are facing. Ask your team what they are hearing from customers.
Pay attention to other businesses. What are you seeing other companies do to address the shift in expectations from their consumers? What messages are you seeing that resonate with you? What could you do to alleviate the hassles of the shelter-at-home, socially distanced, mask-wearing world we live in? How could you bring some joy to the process of doing business with your company?
Refocus your message and enhance your customer experience. Efforts you make here will yield short-term results of competitive advantage, and you might even build long-term loyalty.
Originally published on Forbes.