Well, 50% of cattle anyway. That’s how many cattle world-wide are handled by systems designed by Temple Grandin. She is the God-Mother of what cattle experience during handling.
Before her, cattleman only worried about equipment costs, clumsily cramming cattle through crummy handling systems as quickly as possible.
This causes increased cattle stress and in some cases, death. That literally kills profits.
For the past 40+ years, Grandin has shown that by designing systems with the cattle’s behavior in mind, productivity increases and animal injuries and death are dramatically lowered. Treating cattle according to their needs, increases revenues for cattlemen.
So, if we can do this for cattle, why can’t we run our businesses with the customer in mind? When we focus only on productivity and our need to make a profit, we forget about the customer.
Today, if your small business is to be successful, you’d better have the best customer experience (CX).
Not too long ago, I went into a local store to buy some greeting cards. The whole experience was crummy. The store was crammed full of merchandise. I clumsily made my way around displays trying to find the Mother’s Day cards. It was hard to find what I was looking for, and the card display was a mess.
At check out, it got even worse. I don’t want to join your loyalty program. I don’t want to donate to your charity. I don’t want to play 50 questions. I am not interested in the cashier’s opinion on my purchase. I just want to give you money, isn’t that enough?
When the customer experience at your store is too painful, I won’t be back. You have just killed a customer. What’s even worse for the business is, today I can post about how bad you are on Yelp, Facebook and many other places.
So why isn’t there more focus on customer experience?
Sure Apple and Amazon are amazing at this. But try and think of a person who is considered a thought leader on CX. I couldn’t think of one single person who is widely recognized in business as a CX expert – and especially not in agribusiness. So I did what one does. I Googled and found the Top 60 Customer Experience Influencers from Digitalist Magazine.
I knew 4 of them:
- Ann Handley @MarketingProfs
- Guy Kawasaki @GuyKawasaki
- Fast Company @FastCompany
- Zappos.com CEO – Tony @tonyhsieh
Maybe that says more about me than I think. Maybe I just haven’t thought enough about CX before. I have been pre-occupied with marketing and branding, trying to figure out what images and messaging would attract the most attention. I have come to realize that Brand is more than just the look of your logo or ads. It’s how a customer experiences all aspects of your business or products and then thinks about you.
If what your customer experiences is crummy, or even slightly painful, no amount of slick adverting and logos will help. And you can’t out-market the large brands. Monsanto spent $74 million on promotion and advertising in 2015. That’s $200,000, every day of the year. If you’re one of the little guys in the ag market, it’s hard to get noticed when the big guys spend like that.
You cannot compete.
You can be remembered by how you make your customers feel.
How you make the customer feel when interacting with your business is priceless. It’s also relatively inexpensive, though it takes some hard thinking and planning. Large brands cannot compete with the CX you can provide. This is your edge.
By focusing on giving your customers a better experience than the big guys – or even the little guys who aren’t up on this concept, you can create loyal customers who are compelled to tell their friends and keep coming back.
That is how you build a brand.
Know any CX thought leaders in agriculture? Let me know!