Blog

Are You Easy To Do Business With?

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

easy.jpg

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

Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Mar, 07, 2016 @ 09:03 AM

Customer_Experience-resized-600.jpg

 

According to Forrester, a customer-centric culture is “a system of shared values and behaviors that focus employee activity on improving the customer experience.” While more than 90% of executive say that improving the customer experience (CX) is a "top strategic priority," a majority of firms are ill-prepared to achieve their CX goals.

A survey by the Temkin Group indicate that 90% of North American firms aspire to be CX leaders in the next three years; however, only 10% are truly customer centric.

Following are 15 steps to build a customer-centric culture:

  1. Make customer centricity and providing an outstanding customer experience part of the corporate culture by inculcating into the vision, mission and values of the firm.
  2. Make a commitment to differentiate your brand based on customer service and providing an outstanding customer experience.
  3. Hire people with aligned values that understand the importance of the customer and have examples of providing outstand customer experiences.
  4. Align recruitment criteria with customer-centric values.
  5. Empower employees to find like-minded people.
  6. Tune the selection process to test for desired results. Zappos offers new hires up to $3,000 to quit following the four-week training period.
  7. Provide guideposts with onboarding and training.  Companies who fail to have a onboarding program are doomed to having a misaligned employee base.
  8. Empower employees to use their judgement to provide outstanding customer experiences.
  9. Create an emotional connection with storytelling. Ritz-Carlton has a daily line-up at all properties which includes a “wow” story during which “ladies and gentlemen” (staff) share great things they’ve done for guests.
  10. Reinforce day-to-day activities with routines and rituals. At Disney, “cast members” (employees) are expected to take five minutes from their normal daily duties to do something special for guests.
  11. Recognize and celebrate personal achievement. Starbucks encourages personal recognition with MUG awards which partners give to employees as a thank you for “moves of uncommon greatness.”
  12. Compensate and promote based on customer-centric metrics. Mercedes-Benz is now evaluating dealerships on customer satisfaction measures as well as sales.
  13. Hire, socialize and reward process mavens. Fixing internal processes to reduce problems that lead to increased call volume and line in retail branches.
  14. Tie rewards for product and service innovation to customer metrics.  Intuit attaches a Net Promoter Score to each new product release.
  15. Develop support systems for a culture of empathy in which you listen to customers and reach out to them to determine how you can improve their experience.

When is the last time you publicly recognized an employee for providing an outstanding customer experience?

 

Tags: customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer centric

One Thing EVERY Company Can Do To Improve Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Nov, 17, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

free wifi > customer experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just attended the Internet Summit (#isum14) at the Raleigh Convention Center.

 

I heard plenty of speakers sharing statistics about the growth of the internet, the growth of mobile and how to use the Internet to improve customer experience.

 

Ironically, internet access at the Raleigh Convention Center became limited as the attendance reached 2,000 people.

 

The one thing every business can do to improve the customer experience is to provide an always on, high-speed internet connection.

 

We're all using mobile devices, or laptops, to do business, research, stay in touch and stay informed.

 

By providing always-on, high-speed internet access, you're making your customers', and employees', lives simpler and easier.

 

Making customers' lives simpler and easier gives you a better chance of having a "customer for life."

 

Making your employees' lives simpler and easier gives you more empowered and engaged employees that are more likely to provide your customers an outstanding customer experience.

 

Conferences will have happier attendees.

 

Hotels will have happier guests.

 

Airlines/airports will have passengers that are able to get work done, or stay connected with their loved ones, even if their flight is delayed.

 

Restaurants and coffee shops will provide a valuable service to guests whether they're there on business or pleasure.

 

Businesses will ensure their clients, customers or guests are able to say connected while they're in their offices or stores.

 

How would high-speed internet access differentiate your business from your competition?

 

How would making your customers' lives simpler and easier change their impression of, and willingness to continuing doing business with, you?

 

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book

Tags: customers for life, customer experience, customer satisfaction, empower employees, customer retention, satisfied customers, customer centric, employee engagement, employee empowerment, customer service

Happy Employees = Happy Customers

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Oct, 06, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

Tony Hsieh

Photo Credit: Charles Henry, Flickr – Altered with Quote

Thanks to Jenn Lim, CEO of Delivering Happiness, for the following thoughts.
Happiness continues to be elusive in the workplace as headcounts are kept low and leaders remain focused on driving higher rates of productivity and profits.
Morale is low and employees are clueless about the vision, mission and values of the firm as they get no, or conflicting, information from management.
Studies show that employees who are happy and engaged in their work are more successful and more likely to deliver great customer service.
 
It all starts with the vision, mission and values of your company and ensuring that everyone in the firm is in alignment.
Once you've identified the greater good their everyone is working for, have champions to hold everyone, including the management team, accountable.
While Jack Welch liked to fire the 10 to 20% of underperformers, Zappos has been successful by letting go the 10 to 20% of employees who weren't in alignment with brand values. 
There are clear levers to increase a person's happiness:
  • Sense of progress – “is a person developing in their role or in their life?”
     
  • Sense of control – “is a person making decisions and are those decisions being executed on or at least considered?”
     
  • Connectedness – “the depth and breadth of relationships in your work and life.”
     
  • Having passion and flow – “flow is a psychological term that describes something you are so engaged in that it feels like minutes have gone by but in reality it’s actually been hours. How you create that sense of flow in the workplace is basically when you have the level of challenge meeting your level of skill.” We should think about how we can work together and “group teams of people to have that sense of flow so they really want to be engaged in their work.” 
     
  • Sense of higher purpose and meaning (ultimately the most important element) – “what are you doing that is greater than yourself? What is your personal higher purpose and is that aligned with your company higher purpose?”
Results:
  • Recent studies from the Harvard Business Review and The Economist show that business results of happiness are 10 to 30% increases in profitability and 10 to 20% increase in sales.
  • One top-20 ecommerce company increased monthly sales 39% and reduced monthly absences by 96%.
Is your company ensuring its employees are happy?
Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book

Tags: customer satisfaction, empower employees, vision, mission, values, employee engagement

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   

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

Customer Journey: From Funnel to Circle

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Sep, 16, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

customer journey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKinsey & Company noted the change in 2009. The customer journey is no longer a funnel, it's a circle.

 

The traditonal purchase funnel of: awarness, familiarity, consideration, purchase and loyalty has been made obsolete by the internet and social media.

 

In today's digitally driven marketplace, the customer journey is more like a circle with four phases: initial consideration, active evaluation, closure and post-purchase.

 

In order to provide customers and prospects with information of value, you need to know where they are in the journey and what information they want at that particular point in the journey.

 

Begin mapping the customer journey by understanding all of the places your customers go for information before they ever interact with you -- search engines, social media, reviews, other online channels.

 

Understand what information the customer is trying to get at each touchpoint and strive to provide some information of value at that touchpoint.

 

The more information of value you provide, the more awareness and trust you build with your prospective customer.

 

Engage with customers during the pre-shopping, decision-making process. Do what you can to simplify their life, save them time and make a confident, well-informed decision.

 

When mapping the customer journey, make sure you are able to indentify barriers to the purchase process.

 

If you're able to remove the barriers, you've just simplified the buying journey, and the customer's life.

 

I buy running shoes from an online retailer. I'm also a "VIP" so I can get discounts and free shipping. However, this site is unable to recognize my VIP membership so I always end up having to call them to order what I want. A major barrier.

 

So far, they've overcome the barrier by being available by telephone; however, at some point, I'll just buy from Zappos since they are the masters of providing an outstanding customer experience.

 

Don't forget to follow-up after the sale to ensure your customer is happy with their purchase and that your product or service is solving the problem your customer purchased it to solve.

 

This follow-up is critical to ensuring satisfaction, building loyalty, obtaining feedback and referrals -- online and in person.

 

Don't assume you know the customer journey. Once you've mapped it, share your perceived customer journey with a few of your best customers and get their insights on what they really do and where they experience barriers in the process.

 

What have you learned by mapping the customer journey?

 

Need More Insights From Your Analytics? Download the Free e-book  

Tags: dialogue, loyalty, consumer insights, customer satisfaction, satisfied customers, customer journey, referrals

Listen Intensely, Solve the Problem, Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Sep, 12, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

Listen intensely to solve customer problems

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Jim Gould, the General Manager at my local Chipotle, for finally coming up with an excellent solution to an ongoing problem.

 

I've been eating at Chipotle every day for the past seven years.

 

For the last four or five years, I've been buying $50 gift cards rather than having so many entries on my credit card.

 

It was very rare for the magnetic stripe on a gift card to last the entire $50.

 

If the card was scanned too fast, the magnetic stripe was fried and the host would have to enter the number on the back of the card -- a time-consuming process for the host that also slowed the line during the lunch rush.

 

I'd raised this issue with a number of different people at Chipotle over the years. 

 

Last week Jim suggested I send myself an e-card, load it to my phone and then just load additional value to the same card.

 

Great solution to a nagging problem!

 

Now, I no longer have to carry a gift card. I'm able to use my iPhone to pay for my meals at Chipotle. And, I don't hold up the line.

 

Jim, thanks for listening to the problem and simplifying my life!

 

What can you do that will simplify life for your customers?

 

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book

Tags: customer satisfaction, accelerate sales, genuine interest, listen intensely

Improve Customer Experience (#cx) to Accelerates Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Aug, 26, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

customer experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a white paper, "The Business Impact of Customer Experience 2011," Forrester showed the potential results of an improved customer experience in 11 industries.

 

The research was conducted among 7,728 US consumers about their interactions with brands in a range of different industries.  The data was used to model the effect that providing an improved customer experience may have on companies in 11 industries.

 

Analysis showed a high positive correlation between customer experience and loyalty with people willing to buy from the company again (R2 = 0.66), likelihood to recommend the company (0.70) and likelihood to defect (-0.40).

 

The strong correlation between customer experience and loyalty means that companies with higher customer experience scores tend to have more customers who:

  • Will buy from them again;
     
  • Will not take their business elsewhere; and,
     
  • Will recommend their products or services to a friend.

 

All of this generates more revenue.  In fact, here is how much incremental revenue Forrester projects for each industry based on their projections:

  1. Wireless service providers = $1,574 million
     
  2. Hotels = $1,068 million
     
  3. Airlines = $784 million
     
  4. Insurance providers = $260 million
     
  5. Credit card providers = $245 million
     
  6. Banks = $217 million
     
  7. Investment firms = $149 million
     
  8. TV service providers = $81 million
     
  9. Health plans = $70 million
     
  10. Internet service providers = $70 million
     
  11. Retailers = $27 million

 

I worked on a customer satisfaction measurement and improvement program for a wireless service provider several years ago.  By reducing churn by 29% we saved $16.2 million in potentially lost revenue.

 

Companies I've consulted with most recently, are more concerned with generating sales than increasing customer satisfaction, maintaining renewal rates and reducing churn.

 

They are adding to their sales team and doing nothing for their current customers.

 

While these companies are owned by private equity companies, your would think the private equity firms would see the value in having satisfied customers since they spend more, buy more frequently are are more likely to share their positive experience with family, friends and colleagues in person and with followers via social media.

 

Why do companies spend more money to generate new leads and customers than they do providing an outstanding customer experience and adopting a "customers for life" philosophy?

 

How much are you investing to provide a better customer experience?

 

How does the ROI of providing a better customer experience compare to the ROI of the rest of your marketing efforts?

Download the Free e-book

Tags: customers for life, accelerate sales performance, customer satisfaction, improve customer experience to accelerate sales

Customer Service Drives Outstanding Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Aug, 05, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

Customer service 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great webinar by Frank Eliason (@FrankEliason) of Citi, Nick Ayres (@nickjayres) and Hansen Lieu (@hansentweets) of SAP on ""Customer Service is the New Marketing: Turning Satisfaction Into Sales."

Interesting points shared by the panel:

  • 88% of customers have been influenced by customer reviews.
     
  • Customer service is engaging with customers every day.

  • 48% of customers will praise a company about good service on social media.

  • 66% of customers will spend more money with companies that provide good customer service.

  • 78% of customers have bailed on a transaction because of poor customer service.

 

Implications:

  • Customer service should be aligned with marketing.

  • Every company that wants to be successful should be comitted to providing customer service excellence.

  • Engage with customers to win their heart and make an emotional connection with them.

  • Drive advocacy among your employees and your customers, to drive revenue.


What are you doing with the information your customers provide to customer service to improve the customer experience?

 

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book   

Tags: emotional connection to the brand, customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer centric, customer service

How to Measure Customer Satisfaction

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Jul, 11, 2014 @ 09:07 AM

 

customer satisfaction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest post: Harvey Hammond

Customer satisfaction is difficult to measure due to several reasons. Counting on customer satisfaction owing to their feedback is not the case because most people prefer keeping quiet when satisfied.

Some people see no need of contacting the service provider while others seek to pass their complaints.

Requirements for customer satisfaction are not only unique but difficult to quantify. Setting standards and improving employee relationships with customers is central strategy of measuring customer satisfaction and ensuring that success is determined.

 

Ways of measuring customer satisfaction include:

 

Survey customers

Surveying customers is the only probable way of getting customer feedback unless they contact you.

Most people are busy and have no time to pass redress.

You can provide survey through several ways such as emails and use of phone calls.

To get credible feedback you need to allow customers to answer questions on weighted scale.

You can conduct repeated surveys, over time, to measure changing comments from customers.

 

Understand expectations

Understanding what customers expect from you will provide ground to satisfy their expectations by giving them enjoyable service.

Making an effort to discover what customers expect from you in terms of service and products is the way to satisfying their needs.

 

Find out where you are failing

On situations where you are not fulfilling customer requirements, it is credible to find out where you are failing.

Incidences where products are less than advertised should not arise.

Find out if employees are making promises that cannot be met. 

Take strides and attend seminars that will equip you with better managerial skills.

Know the chain of communication so as to know where communication faults are and foster amendments.

 

Pinpoint specifics

Whether a customer is satisfied or not, you need to collect information to help you assess the situation.

Collect information about what customers purchased, what they liked and they did not like, their actual purchase expectation and their suggestions for improvement.

 

Assess the competition

Have the initiative to know why customers consider other brands above yours.

Through the survey, invite customers to come and compare and contrast your services and products and make judgment on what you are not offering.

 

Try to measure the emotional aspect

Customer experiences after buying a given product are attributed to quality.

Feedback from customers in relation to quality, reliability and extent satisfaction should be matched.

Comments customers make are a measure of their satisfaction.

Customers showing dissatisfaction prompts change of strategy.

 

Loyalty measurement

Customer loyalty is the likelihood of repurchasing products or services.

Customer satisfaction is a major predictor for repurchasing and it is influenced by explicit performance of the product, value and quality.

Loyalty is basically measured when a customer recommends to a friend, family member about given product.

Overall satisfaction, repurchasing and likelihood of recommending to a friend are indicators of customer satisfaction.

 

A series of attribute satisfaction measurement

This strategy takes into account the affective and cognitive pattern.

Affective behavior is intrigued to liking and disliking owing the benefits the product is attached with.

Customer satisfaction is influenced by perceived quality the product is attached with and it is regulated by expectations of the product or service.

Customer attitude towards a product are as a result of product information through advertisement and any experience with the product whether perceived or real.

Cognition is the judgment on whether the product is useful or not useful.

Judgment is always intended use of application and use of occasions for which the product is purchased.  

 

Intentions to repurchase

Future hypothetical behavior that indicates repurchasing the product is a measure of satisfaction.

Satisfaction can influence other post purchasing trend through use of the word of mouth or social media platform.

 

Monitoring

Monitoring can be directed at phone, email and chat communications.

Monitoring includes automated phone interactions designed by companies to help give real world glimpse.

Feedback cards

Dishing out cards will help gauge customer comments.

 

Author Bio :
I am Harvey Hammond and a freelance writer. I have worked for customers from all over the world which made me to be expertise in the field of writing.  I have been working with all chapters dissertation writing service for the past 7 years as a writer. My past experience as a writer gave me plenty of opportunities to deal with many of the essays, articles and various assignments from the clients to get done which in fact developed my knowledge. Presently, I have completed an article on the title of “How to Measure Customer Satisfaction”.

 

Download the Free e-book

Tags: customer experience, dialog, customer satisfaction, customer service, lifetime customer value