By PowerBuy // 8 August 2015 // Related Categories: Tips

Last week, I had an opportunity to attend an event for small and medium-sized businesses. It was an amazing experience. The business leaders there shared a passion for their solutions and a desire to take their companies to the next level and “make it big.” In a technology-enabled world, the features and functionalities of a product or service typically do not provide a sustainable competitive advantage. It’s certainly possible to grow a company with proper planning. So why do only a few small businesses succeed in “making it big”? What differentiates companies and how do certain small companies become large enterprises?

The answer lies in understanding the end-customer behavior of such businesses. Typically, small companies expand based on their initial customers, who become their “brand ambassadors.” This is especially true with social media. Typical buying behavior no longer depends only on a supplier’s marketing activity. It’s largely driven by word-of-mouth from happy or unhappy customers.

Total Customer Experience

Customers engage your business at multiple touchpoints — far more than ever before. And in the end, the total customer experiences across those touchpoints make them happy or unhappy (Figure 1).

Figure 1 — Connecting the customer journey

The “Total Customer Experience” for a particular customer becomes the key differentiator. If your business exceeds the expectations at each stage of the customer journey you have a greater ability to convert shoppers to promoters of your company’s products and services.

The next question: How do you create a sustainable, process-centric approach to consistently manage the total customer experience and convert customers into “promoters”?

Today, people can engage with your business across multiple channels — anytime and anywhere. The typical engagement happens across different touchpoints. And each interaction is a “moment of truth” for the customer. Enabling customers to reach you through any channel is key. But it’s more important to ensure you provide a positive, contextual customer experience every time.

Positive experience is a subjective term. Essentially, if you make it easy to interact with your company, consumers will count it as a positive experience. This is noted in the book The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty. So it’s important to make it easy for customers to interact through any channel they choose. Creating positive experiences is a question of business strategy as much as it is of technology.

An All-in-One Solution

As a small business, you need an all-in-one, simple solution to manage customer interactions. And as Zack Taylor points out in his recent blog, customers find it very frustrating to repeatedly explain to your company why they are contacting you. So, it is equally important to provide your employees who interact with customers the ability to understand and anticipate each customer’s reason for reaching out to your company.

Unified Contact Center Express (Unified CCX), Cisco’s solution for small and medium-sized businesses helps meet these requirements very effectively. This all-in-one solution provides

customers with the ability to reach your business through different channels, while making it easy by collecting and sharing context with business representatives at each stage of their journey. Unified CCX is simple yet comprehensive, integrating multiple channels into a single omnichannel solution. Context Service, a new cloud-based feature for Cisco Unified Contact Center products, helps the customer care representatives understand past interactions with your customers and easily identify the reason for the current interaction — without asking again!

In this Internet-driven world, it is customers who will help small businesses grow. And they will do so based on the interactions they have with your business. Cisco Unified CCX provides the necessary tools to connect and engage with customers, ensuring a “Total Customer Experience” that enables your business to make it big!

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