Many large corporations are modifying their organisational structure by changing the Chief Marketing Officer’s role to be the Chief Customer Officer and bringing the marketing and customer experience functions together. This is to ensure a greater emphasis on the customer and the overall experience they have with the organisation – because they are recognising how this can deliver greater revenues.

As a small business, you can’t afford to employ a Chief Customer Officer, so why don’t you ask someone from another business (not a competitor, of course) to become your very own Chief Customer Officer – for an hour! Invite them to come into your business as an anonymous customer and to run their critical eye over the end-to-end experience they have with your business. Make sure it’s someone who you can trust to give you the good, the bad and the ugly side of their experience. Ask them to consider the big-picture experience as well as all the little details they experience.

This approach is called mystery shopping and is used widely by many large organisations – but you’re doing the small business version of it. And in return, you can offer to do the same for the other party’s business.

Your next steps…

Make a list of all the things that you believe are important for the experience of your customers in your business:

  • What are the first experiences customers have when they walk into your business?
  • What are the highlights that you hope stand-out about the experience you deliver?
  • Is the moment when customers actually receive the core value you deliver appropriate to what you want to achieve?
  • Do you close out the interaction in a special and meaningful way?

Add other important items to this list – but don’t give it to the person who is helping you by being your Chief Customer Officer.

Once they have experienced your business and given you their own feedback – then you can ask them the questions on your list. You need to get their impressions about what stood out – both good and bad – before you put your thoughts into their head with your areas to explore.

Just do it…

Why not make this arrangement with someone you know and trust right now! It can be a scary thing to do but you need to know honestly what customers truly think of their experience with you. Just pick up the phone now – and make it happen!