Are You Easy To Do Business With?

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Jul, 13, 2016 @ 09:07 AM


Have you asked your customers this question?

First, what do you think they'll say?

Now, ask them. You'll be surprised what you learn.

Customers are looking for products and services to make their lives simpler, easier, and save them time.

Show the consumer that you understand their needs, put them first and you'll have a customer for life. Do not assume all customers want the same thing. Have a 360-degree view of the customer for all your employees so everyone in your company can let your customers know you're concerned with their needs and wants and committed to providing them with a great customer experience.

Providng a great customer experience and earning customers for life needs to be a core value. If it's not you'll just be driven by this month's sales goals. If you put your customers first, sales will take care of themselves and the time and money you spend on marketing will go down because your customers will do your marketing for you by becoming advocates and sharing with their friends and colleagues how easy you make it for them.

Please be clear when I say "provide a great customer experience" that this isn't that hard. It's meeting customers' basic expectations. It's easy because so few companies are doing it. Ultimately this will be how your company can differentiate itself from the competition. However, it does require a change in attitude and focus.

Remove the distractions (a.k.a. "friction") for your employees and customers. Employees want to make customers happy. Happy employees make happy customers. Engaged and empowered employees have passion, pride, and confidence in their ability to provide a great customer experience and customers call tell it.

Think about the companies you go to on a regular basis that make it easy for you to do business with them. They've likely earned your loyalty, gratitude, and repeat business.

What can you and your employees do to make it easier for your customers to do business with you? Ask them.

Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues 

Tags: customers for life, customer satisfaction, customer engagement

Use NPS to Improve Customer Experience NOT to Disempower Employees

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Nov, 04, 2014 @ 10:11 AM

use NPS to deliver an outstanding customer experience








I received a disturbing response to a blog post about companies with outstanding Net Promoter Scores (NPS) from a young man who works for a company that is using the scores to hammer employees.


This is NOT the purpose of NPS.


Happy, engaged employees = happy engaged customers.


If you penalize employees for a poor NPS you have a much bigger problem on your hands.


Use an employee NPS survey to determine how you're doing as an employer.


If your employee NPS score is significantly lower than your NPS score, you need to be doing more to empower and engage your employees -- not increasing throughput with reduced numbers.


My wife is a fan of Panera and I'm a raving fan of Chipotle. These are supposed to be two of the best quick serve restaurants (QSR) in which to work.


I've recently written to both companies as I see the stress on the faces of customer-facing employees, who are my friends, trying to meet the increased demands of corporate to drive throughput and efficiency higher and higher to make Wall Street happy.


While investors are your customers, they're not going to keep you in business.


If you aren't treating your employees well, then your employees probably aren't treating your customers well.


And if your customers start leaving, so will investors.


Use NPS and eNPS to understand where you're already strong with regards to customer and employee engagement and what you need to work on.


Don't use it to punish your workers.


That's short-sighted and ultimately bad for business.


Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales


Tags: customer experience, empower employees, net promoter score, customer engagement, raving fans, employee engagement, NPS

Drive Adoption and Engagement with Employee Advocacy

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Oct, 03, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

employee advocates








Thanks to Susan Emerick (@sfemerick), CEO and founder of Brands Rising, Lori Grey (@lsgrey) of Deloitte and Alex Cramer (@cramer1000) of Dynamic Signal for an informative presentation on empowering and engaging employees to help drive customer adoption and engagement.


I've written before about how loyal employees = loyal customers.


More and more brands are empowering their employees to support the goals of the brand by using content and employee-owned social media expertise and contacts.


When you consider the number of social media contacts and followers your brand has versus that of all of your employees, you have a tremendous opportunity to increase the reach of your message by asking your employees to share your messages and information of value with their social networks as well as your customers and prospects.


Besides, employees generate more trust than companies:

  • 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know while only 15% trust recommendations from brands (Gartner).

  • 70% of customer brand perception is determined by experiences with people (Market Leader).

  • Leads developed through employee social marketing convert 7X more than other leads (IBM).

  • People like to do business with those they know, like and trust. Employees humanize your brand. 


There are several steps to building an employee advocacy program:

  1. Determine the "best fit" candidates.

  2. Provide training, remove doubt.

  3. Personalize. 
  4. Reward and recognize.

Determining "best fit" candidates depends on the vision, mission and values of your organization and finding the people who are already in alignment and equipped to share their knowledge and expertise.
Characteristics of "best fit" candidates are:
  1. Already have a strong social media footprint.

  2. Comfortable collaborating online.

  3. Find value in creating and nurturing relationships via social media.

  4. Demonstrate a long-term commitment to sustained engagement.

  5. Open to coaching, guidance and learning from data. 


There are several steps you can take to provide training and remove doubt given that people and companies have concerns about employees posting on social media on behalf of the company:

  1. Provide education and training on social media best practices, as well as any restrictions the company may have based on industry requirements.

  2. Have peer mentoring or teammates you can bounce questions off of.

  3. Provide an online source of content that's preapproved -- prewritten, preapproved share text that employees can customize. This ensures consistent messaging and eliminates the need for employees to develop information of value from scratch.


Personalize the content you are asking your employees to share:

  1. Employees will be much more comfortable with, and likely to share, content that's relevant to them personally and professionally. They'll also be more comfortable personalizing for the channel or the audience.

  2. Use sign-up forms to create groups to know which topics or industries interest which people.

  3. Use groups to tag and distribute content.  


Reward and recognize those employees that are helping spread the company message via social media:

  1. Professional recognition is having contributors recognized by their peers and executive management about what they are doing, as well as their accomplishments.

  2. External recognition is showcasing individuals as industry thought-leaders giving them an opportunity to represent, or speak on behalf of, the company at industry functions. 


Do you have an employee advocacy program in place?


How are your employees' activities benefitting the company?


Click Here To Schedule a 30-Minute Consultation  to Discuss Marketing or Sales Issues

Tags: transparency, empower employees, connecting emotionally with customers, customer engagement, employee engagement, loyal employees

The Keys to Customer Loyalty

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Sep, 29, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

Warmth + Competence = Loyalty







Great presentation by Chris Malone (@hcmalone), author of The Human Brand at a recent Triangle American Marketing Association meeting.


Chris and his colleague, social psychologist Susan Fiske, conducted 10 studies across 45 companies to understand that consumers relate to companies, brands, and products the same way we perceive, judge and behave towards people.


Keys to customer loyalty are to be warm and competent.


It works like this:


  • If you're warm but not competent, you'll be seen with sympathy and neglect (e.g., VA Hospitals and the U.S. Postal Service).


  • If you're neither warm, nor competent, you'll be seen with contempt and rejection (e.g., Walmart and Bank of America).


  • If you're competent and warm, you'll be seen with admiration and loyalty (e.g., Honda and Zappos).


  • If you're competent, but not warm, you'll be seen with envy and distrust (e.g., Mercedes and Cartier)


Four elements generate more than 50% of customer loyalty:

  1. Warmth

  2. Trust

  3. Competent

  4. Capable


If you and your employees can focus on improving your performance in these four areas, you can increase customer loyalty dramatically. 


We are in a relationship renaissance today. As we do more online via the internet, our interactions with people become more important.


Customers may say they don't want a relationship with a company or a brand, but they do value relationships with people. 


As such, your customer-facing employees become the face of your business and brand.


Starbucks produced the "Little Green Apron Book" to help remind their employees to be:

  • Welcoming

  • Genuine

  • Considerate

  • Knowledgeable

  • Involved


If you can make a difference in the life of another person, so they know you care, save them time, simplify their life, you'll increase the opportunity to having a loyal customer, if not a customer for life.


If you, or your company, are focused on the short-term versus customers, you will not be trusted by customers. No trust means no customers.


You, or your boss, may ask, "Does focusing on the customer pay?" According to Domino's Pizza, they attribute focusing on the customer to a 350% return on investment.


Satmetrix has a lot of data on the superior financial performance of companies that have industry-leading Net Promoter Scores (NPS).


Three steps to improving the customer experience:


  1. Become more self-aware.

  2. Embrace significant change throughout the organization.

  3. Rebalance priorities whereby you're more focused on current customers than new customers. 

What steps are you and your firm taking to improve the customer experience and improve customer loyalty?


Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life" 

Tags: customer experience, customer satisfaction, earn your customers trust, net promoter score, customer centric, customer engagement

Engage Employee Advocates to Accelerate Sales via Social Media

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Aug, 28, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

Engaged employees accelerate sales








Great webinar by Nicole Alvino (@nalvino) of Social Chorus, Susan Emerick (@sfemerick) of Brands Rising, and Jenn Meiner Roumian (@jroumian) of EA on "Engaging Employee Advocates: How Electronic Arts is Activating Employees to Amplify the Brand's Message."


Nicole started the presentation by sharing how companies can "turn social media inside out" by engaging the thousands of insiders a company or brand has -- their best employees, customers, partners and influencers. 


People like to help people they know like and trust. They want to see them succeed. If you let them know that sharing something about your product or service on social media will help your business, your brand advocates are willing to do so to help you.


And, based on several studies, the help of advocates is invaluable:


  • An everyday employee is trusted twice as much as the CEO (Edelman Trust Barometer).

  • 92% of an employee's Twitter followers are new to the brand (Cisco).

  • 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service when they hear about it from someone they trust (Nielsen).

  • Employees have 10 times more followers than corporate accounts (Cisco). 

People build relationships with people, not companies. Brand advocates are great ambassadors for your company.

Employee advocacy impacts all facets of a business:

  • Reputation (Communications and P.R.) -- corporate reputation, awareness, internal communications, thought leadership.

  • Demand (Marketing) -- awareness, reach, buzz, leads, cost savings as the result of social word-of-mouth.

  • Recruting (Human Resources) -- provides an inside view of the company, builds the corporate reputation among potential employees, cost savings from recruiting expense. You have people knocking on your door who want to work for you based on what they've learned about you on social media from your advocates.

  • Close rate (Sales) -- leads, both marketing qualified and sales qualified, thought leadership, local sales, customer stories and testimonials, relationship building.

  • Awareness (Product Group) -- buzz, trusted expertise, demand, awarenss and leads.


There are three critical steps to execute a successful employee advocate social media program:


  1. Executive support -- buy-in, financial support, support of the mission, involvement and encouragement.

  2. Training and onboarding -- must be ongoing and sustainable. Employees must know what is, and is not, acceptable as representatives of the company without diluting their voice or integrity.

  3. Activation and results -- define the program, the strategy and how participants will be recognized, and, if appropriate, rewarded.


Susan Emerick shared three three steps necessary to build a compelling business case for an employee advocate social media program:


  1. Value realization -- how will the program impact revenue, costs, efficiency and productivity? Have the steps in place to measure so you are able to share the results with the management team.

  2. Securing investment -- sell the benefits to the internal stakeholders so they are willing to make the investment, whether it's time or money, to insure the program's success.

  3. Understanding motivations -- how social employees can have a positive impact on metrics: cost/lead, share of voice, sentiment, costs, sales, market share, productivity, efficiency, talent acquisition, retention.

Jenn Meiners Roumain is the Global Brand Manager, Talent Acquisition at Electronic Arts, a leading developer, marketer and distributor of video games with more than 9,000 employees.


Jenn created the EA Insiders as the firm's employee advocate social media team based on the vision, mission and values of the firm. 


The characteristics of an EA Insider are:


  1. A champion and evangelist of all things EA.

  2. A collaborator and partner with Talent Acquisition, Corporate Communications, senior leadership, Public Relations and Human Resources.

  3. A promoter and engager of EA events.

  4. A social media maven. Once EA Insider has 15,000 followers.

  5. An inspirer of, and an inspiration to, Talent Acquisition and employer branding initiatives.


Jenn laid out the six steps to activating the group:


  1. Align the goals to the mission and philosophy of the firm: increase awareness and engagement; influence talent acquisition; engage; provide thought leadership; and, enhance morale.

  2. Identify internal business partners and get leadership involved from Talent Acquisition, Corporate Communications, H.R., Marketing/P.R.

  3. Choose a pilot group -- by region, by department and by social media knowledge.

  4. Define how to measure success. Engagement might be the number of shares or the amount of content generated. Advocacy can include participation and activation. Impact can be measured by audience engagement and increase in job applications.

  5. Create a plan for long-term engagement by providing a diverse mix of content, encouraging employees to recommend new content, and create a thank you and recognition plan.

  6. Scale and grow the program. EA Currently has 60 EA Insiders with a goal of having 100 by the end of the year, 500 to 1,000 after two years and, ultimately, everyone in the company.


After the first few months, the EA Insiders have made 9,300 personal engagements worth more than $25,000 in media value.


How much value can your employees provide you by engaging customers and prospects via social media?   


Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales

Tags: trust, empower employees, customer engagement, employee engagement, social media

Engaged Customers are Loyal, Profitable and Generate More Revenue

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Aug, 19, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

engaged customers










Gallup Research has a proven customer engagement instrument that comprises actionable question items with proven links to customer behavior.


Measuring Customer Engagement



Based on their responses to these items, Gallup categorizes customers into three distinct groups: fully engaged, indifferent, and actively disengaged.


The Three Types of Customers

FULLY ENGAGED customers are emotionally attached and rationally loyal. They'll go out of their way to locate a favored product or service, and they won't accept substitutes. True brand ambassadors, they are a company's most valuable and profitable customers.

INDIFFERENT customers are emotionally and rationally neutral. They have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward a company's product or service.

ACTIVELY DISENGAGED customers are emotionally detached from a company and its products or services. They will readily switch brands. If switching is difficult or impossible, they may become virulently antagonistic toward the company. Either way, they are always eager to tell others exactly how they feel.


Linking customer engagement to crucial business outcomes


Gallup's analysis has found that fully engaged customers are more loyal and profitable than average customers in good economic times and in bad.


Across a variety of industries and target audiences, including business-to-consumer and business-to-business, Gallup's research has consistently shown a powerful link between customer engagement and key business outcomes.


Data reveals that a customer who is fully engaged represents an average 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer.


In stark contrast, an actively disengaged customer represents a 13% discount in those same measures.


In short, when customers believe they are getting more out of a business, they give more to it. For example, Gallup research has found that:

  • In the retail banking industry, customers who are fully engaged bring 37% more annual revenue to their primary bank than do customers who are actively disengaged. Fully engaged banking customers also have more products with their bank, from checking and savings accounts to mortgages and auto loans. Plus, they have higher deposit balances in their accounts than less engaged customers with the same products do.
  • In the consumer electronics industry, fully engaged shoppers make 44% more visits per year to their preferred retailer than do actively disengaged shoppers. And when they do visit their preferred electronics retailer, these fully engaged shoppers purchase more items than they originally intended to. On average, they spend $373 per shopping trip, while actively disengaged customers spend $289 per trip.

Gallup found similar results in other industries, including the restaurant, hospitality, and insurance industries:

  • Restaurant -- casual dining: Fully engaged customers make 56% more visits per month than actively disengaged customers do.
  • Restaurant -- fast food: Fully engaged customers make 28% more visits per month than actively disengaged customers do.
  • Hospitality: Fully engaged hotel guests spend 46% more per year than actively disengaged guests spend.
  • Insurance: Fully engaged policy owners purchase 22% more types of insurance products than actively disengaged policy owners do.


When businesses can provide the meaningful experience their customers want, they realize greater rewards in terms of loyalty and profits.


Though it can be difficult for businesses to connect with their customers on an emotional level, it can be done be listening and establishing a trusting relationship that's mutually-beneficial for the customer and the business.


What actions are you taking to enhance customer engagement?


Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

Tags: earn your customers trust, customer engagement, emotional connection, do what you say you'll do when you say you'

6 Steps to Enhance the Customer Experience (#cx)

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Jun, 24, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

Nordstrom Customer Experience










Great webinar by Robert Spector, author of The Nordstrom Way.


The Nordstrom organization chart differs from other companies in that customers are at the top, followed by sales and support, department managers, store managers, buyers, merchandise managers and, lastly, the Board of Directors.


There's a prominent statement in the Nordstrom annual report, "Good things happen when we let customers be our guide."


Robert provided six steps which Nordstrom follows to provide an outstanding customer experience:


  1. Tell your story. Who founded the company? What does the company stand for? Why was the company founded? How has the company overcome adversity? How has the company evolved? Where is your company today? Create a culture of storytelling that exemplify the vision, mission and values of the firm.

    Stories that exemplify the Nordstrom commitment to providing an outstanding customer experience include that fact that Nordstrom did refund a customer's money for a set of tires from a company that Nordstrom had bought event though they no longer sold tires.

    In addition, Nordstrom would happily sell one shoe to amputees at half of the price of the full pair since that person would provide Nordstrom with referrals and word-of-mouth advertising.

    Nordstrom employees pride themselves of providing real life examples of people going above and beyond to serve their customers.

  2. Hire with care. Hire people with a sense of customer service; willing to work hard; that are self-motivated; that are creative; that are team players; and, that are results-driven. "Hire a smile and train the skill."

    Encourage each member of the team to know their role in the team setting and drive home the importance of being a team player so they every member of the team has the opportunity to meet every customers' needs.

  3. Empower entrepreneurs to own the customer experience. Does empowerment exist in your firm? Are employees comfortable sharing their areas of concern or ideas for innovation? Does management stand behind the best judgment of its employees? Are your employees willing/allowed to go above and beyond their job description to enhance the customer experience?

    The Nordstrom employee handbook is a 3"x5" card with one rule, "Use good judgment in all situations." Implicit in this is to go above and beyond for every customer.

  4. Nuture your employees. Do your employees feel their work has greater meaning than just being a job? How does your company help employees develop their talents and enhance their personal growth? Are your employees trained to understand empathy and the impact it has on your customers? Instead of asking, "What can we sell customers?," ask, "What can we do to improve the customer experience?"

  5. Communications and teamwork. Do you honor and award team achievement? Does every member of your team share the unified purpose of satisfying the customer? Do your employees feel their work has greater meaning than just being a job? How does your company help employees develop their talent?

  6. The sale is never over. Know how the customer found your company and leverage that knowledge. Reward vendors and suppliers for loyalty. Sell relationships, not products. Train employees on ways to develop relationships with customers. Determine how you can make customers feel better about your firm in their moment of need.
Have customers for life by making a commitment to provide a consistently outstanding level of customer service.
Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book  "Customer Bonding Programs:  How to Get, and Keep,Customers for Life"

Tags: customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer retention, satisfied customers, customer centric, customer engagement

Engage with Customers in all Channels to Improve Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Jun, 11, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

engage in social media for better customer experience











Your customers, and prospects, are talking about you, your products and the level of service you provide. Are you listening?


Thanks to Oscar Alban @Verint, Kristen Jacobsen @Calabrio and Mike Hennessy @IntelliResponse for an good disccussion of "How to Understand the True Voice of the Customer." 


I have been urging clients to listen intensely to their customers in order to meet their needs and expectations for years.


As the social and mobile playing fields continue to expand, listening has become more difficult -- let alone intense listening. However, it can be done and needs to be on your radar. 


Customer expectations are changing daily as companies like Zappos provide consistently outstanding customer experiences.


Customers now expect you to:


  • Know them as a result of their personal interactions with you.

  • Offer them targeted and relevant content and promotions based on their past interactions with you.

  • Know how they found you, what they like and don't like about you and how they want to do business with you going forward.
  • Invest in social media and mobile as service channels.

  • Let them control the shopping and service process.

Customer experience (#cx) will be the primary differentiator between both B2B and B2C companies in the 21st century.


What are you doing to provide your customers with a "different and better" customer experience than your competitors?


How well do you, and your employees, know your customers?


Millennials list the phone as their fourth channel of choice at 29% versus:

  • Email/SMS = 42%

  • Social media = 36%

  • Smartphone = 32%

For your business to remain relevant to your customers over time, you must be prepared to interact with, and serve, your customers across multiple channels and touchpoints in an integrated manner.


While your business may remain siloed for organizational purposes, customer data cannot.


Everyone in your company needs to have a 360-view of the customer at their fingertips to be able to provide the customer with an acceptable level of service.


Customer information must flow seamlessly throughout your organization.


The leading omnichannel challenges are:


  • Expectations -- customer expectations are outrunning companies' ability to deliver across channels. Companies that are successful at meeting customers' expectations will have a "first-mover" advantage.

  • Employee knowledge -- customers know more about your products, services and prices than your employees. Will you invest in your employees to ensure this doesn't happen. The average financial institution spends 30 minutes trainng a teller before putting them in front of a customer.

  • Unpredictable -- customers are using different, and multiple, channels to do different things. You need to be listening intensely online to know where your customers are and where they expect you to be. Don't forget about forums, blogs and online communities in addition to traditional social media channels.

  • Loyalty -- a good customer experience in one channel is not sufficient to maintain loyalty if you're failing to fulfill customers' needs in other channels.
It's critical that your contact center and your customer experience management teams (i.e., people, processes and technology) be completely integrated.
The solutions available to engage with customers across channels are improving daily.
Define your goals and objectives with regards to ensuring that your firm is delivering an excellent customer experience across multiple channels and then begin evaluating the platfforms and solutions that will help you achieve your goals.
Talk with your customers about their needs, wants and expectations with regards to research, purchase and service currently and in the future.
Engage your customers to understand what they consider to be an acceptable and an outstanding customer experience in this ever-changing landscape of content, product and service delivery.
Need More Insights From Your Analytics? Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales

Tags: customer experience, VoC, voice of the customer, earn your customers trust, connecting emotionally with customers, customer engagement, listen intensely, social media

Authenticity and Trust are Keys to Customer Engagement

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, May, 06, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

Authenticity trust customer engagement






Insightful interview by Elisabeth Sullivan of Marketing News with Lisa Macpherson, Hallmark's senior vice president of marketing.


Lisa believes the best emotional relationships are based on empathy and authenticity.


Empathy is a function of having an intimate understanding of your customers and their needs.


I know from experience that you're only able to get this level of understanding by having one-on-one conversations in which you are really listening to what the customer has to say and the customer knows that you are fully engaged in the conversation and find what they have to say is of the utmost importance.


I met a Hallmark "emotionaire" at a millennial marketing conference.  This person was a former copywriter attending the conference to gather insights on millennials and how to make an emotional connection with them.


Hallmark uses emotionaires to understand the needs of a customer, what Hallmark calls a "relationship believers" -- someone who genuinely believes that happiness and emotional well-being come from the quality of our relationships with others.


Hallmark's current campaign is "Life Is a Special Occasion." Simply translated it's saying, "Don't wait.  Stop the blur of life.  Recognize and linger in those imperfect moments you share with others.  They can happen any day."  The campaign is result of insights gathered from "relationship believers."


Macpherson believes authenticity comes from being very clear about your brand: what it stands for, what it promises and what it means to your customers.


I know from experience, and research, that authenticity is either reinforced or lost based on how consistent you are with regards to delivering on brand promises and customer expectations.


Consistency breeds trust and confidence that you will do what you say you will do when you say you will do it.


Inconsistency breeds distrust.


Are you earning your customers' trust?


What are you doing to gather meaningful insights from customers?


How consistent are you in delivering on brand promises and meeting or surpassing customer expectations?


How authentic is your brand?


Need More Insights From Your Analytics? Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales

Tags: trust, authenticity, customer engagement, emotional connection

10 Reasons Customer Experience (#cx) is a Marketing Investment

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Mar, 27, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

treat customer service as a marketing investment








Brad Wolansky, president Consumer Direct and CMO of Yankee Candle, was the keynote speaker at a recent eTail West event.

He made some interesting points about why companies need to treat customer service, and ultimately providing a great customer experience, as a marketing investment.

  1. Price isn't the only differentiator. People will pay more for excellent customer service and a great customer experience (e.g., Nordstrom and Disney).

  2. The current sales tax advantage for online retailers will go away. You would be wise to differentiate on customer service rather than price and commit to providing an excellent customer experience.

  3. It's not that hard to improve the level of customer service your provide and improve the customer experience of your customers. It does take commitment, focus, determination and measurement.

  4. Happy customers are good customers. They buy more, they buy more frequently and they tell their family, friends and colleagues about your products, service and their customer experience.

  5. It doesn't require leading edge software. However, it does require a good customer relationship management (CRM) software and a commitment by everyone in the firm to use it.

  6. It's cheaper to retain current customers than acquire new customers. Some studies suggest by a factor of 7.

  7. Any company of any size can provide consistently excellent customer service and "wow" customer experiences. It's a customer-centric attitude that starts at the c-level and cascades down to everyone in the organization.

  8. Happy customers find new customers for you. They provide referrals, testimonials, they share their positive thoughts and experiences with family, friends and colleagues, they post on social media sites.

  9. It pays for itself. Think of providing good customer service as a marketing investment.

  10. Most companies provide lousy customer service and a negative customer experience. This is a great way to differentiate your firm from your competition.

A customer who has an issue that is resolved is more likely to become a long-term customer, and spend more with you over time, than the customer that doesn't complain.


Providing great customer service and a "wow" customer experience can help create "raving fans" that will sing your praises to family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers via the internet and social media.


A dissatisfied customer leaves and tells their friends, and possibly many others, about what a poor job you did.


You're much better off resolving the issue to the customer's satisfaction.


Use simple math to convince the CEO to bring marketing and customer service together.


Listen intensely to learn customers' needs and expectations.


Empower everyone in the company to have a role in providing outstanding customer service.


Attitude is everything. When every employee considers themselves part of the customer service team, your company is able to deliver a level of customer service that's a competitive differentiator for your firm.


Pay back customers for their business with excellent customer service. Raving fans will evangelize your brand.


Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book "How To Get Insights From Analytics" to Accelerate Sales 

Tags: customer experience, customer satisfaction, empower employees, customer retention, customer centric, customer engagement, raving fans, referrals