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Improve the Customer Experience (#CX) by "Checking In"

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Dec, 02, 2014 @ 00:12 AM

customer experience satisfaction and improvement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you or your company has made a sale of a product or service to a customer what do you do next?

 

Do you know if the customer was satisfied with their purchase?

 

Did they find value in what they bought?

 

What's working or not working for them?

 

What are they telling others about you and your product or service?

 

Customer experience management and customer satisfaction and retention are still woefully underfunded and underemphasized relative to demand creation, lead generation and sales even though an existing customer is more likely to buy from you again than a new customer is for the first time.

 

Once a sale is made, let the customer support team know so they can send the new customer a satisfaction survey to learn how the buying process went.

 

When the company engages with the customer after a transaction, it makes the interaction feel more personal, like a relationship is being formed, rather than a one-time experience.

 

The insights you gather by interacting with customers will be invaluable.

 

Get sales, marketing and customer service to sit down and map the customer engagement experience you would like customers to have and then use you marketing automation platform or customer service reps to implement the multiple touch-point program.

 

Don't stop there. Ask your customers about what they think of your plan.

 

This will vary depending on the type of product or service being sold, as well as what the customer defines as a positive, or better yet, outstanding customer engagement experience.

 

Learn when to send a Net Promoter Score survey and how to follow-up on the results of the survey. Have a closed-loop process for handling feedback and resolving all detractor comments.

 

Determine how many times you should touch a customer who has bought an annual subscription/contract so that they're not just hearing from you in month 11 when it's time to renew.

 

Mapping the customer experience journey, measuring customer satisfaction and then committing to improve it is a great way to generate more revenue from the same customers and have customers for life.

 

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Tags: customers for life, consumer insights, customer experience, net promoter score, connecting emotionally with customers, customer retention, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement

Use Mobile to Make an Emotional Connection with Your Customer

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Nov, 21, 2014 @ 12:11 PM

use mobile to make an emotional connection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great presentation by Tim Hayden (@TheTimHayden) author of The Mobile Commerce Revolution at yesterday's Triangle American Marketing Association's (#triama) monthly luncheon.

 

Tim's presentation on "Mobile Marketing: How B2B and B2C Marketers Can Stay Ahead" reiterated several points I have made in earlier blog posts about the power of SoLoMo (social/local/mobile) to drive revenue and relationships.

 

 

Mobile offers a very unique opportunity to establish a 1:1 relationship with customers and prospects -- the one that Peppers and Rogers starting promoting more than 20 years ago.

 

Mobile gives you the opportunity to be connected and personal.

 

I saw statistics at the Internet Summit (#isum14) that said we check out smart phones an average of 150 times a day. The person who presented that statistic admitted that she checked her phone more often than that.

 

According to Business Insider, 90% of 18 to 29 year olds, sleep with their smart phone. I know I use mine as an alarm clock -- what about you?

 

Tim showed how Dell has been placing a QR code on every server so that systems operators could access the "Quick Resource Locator" on their smart phone whenever there was an issue with that particular server. The Quick Resource Locator enables users to get immediate access to extensive system information and detailed how-to videos using their smartphone.

 

Unfortunately Dell did this in response to all of the "Dell Hell" feedback they were getting for their poor customer support. Imagine what Dell's reputation, and revenue, would be if they'd come up with the "Quick Resource Locator" as part of a proactive customer satisfaction and retention program in advance of all the hate on social media.

 

Sadly, most companies are more interested in making the near-term sale than ensuring they have a satisfied customer that will generate more revenue over the long term.

 

Starbucks has a mobile app that now accounts for 10% of their sales and is responsible for anywhere from 5 to 40% incremental revenue depending on the store.

 

If you remove friction to buy, people will buy more and more frequently.

 

If you save people time, if you make their lives simpler and easier, you're on your way to having a customer for life.

 

The opportunity to make people's lives simpler and easier with a smart phone is everywhere.

 

CVS Heath has expanded their digital marketing team from 6 to 200 in the last two years. They plan to expand from 200 to 400 in the next two years.

 

Do you think CVS Health can help address the chronic adoption and adherence problems with regards to people taking their medication thereby improving health outcomes and reducing medical expense? I sure do and I applaud them for taking the lead.

 

Sadly, most of the companies with whom I meet do not have CRM systems that provide a 360-degree view of the customer required to provide this level of service; however, the early adopters do and are taking advantage of it.

 

The more you show your customers and prospects you're committed to making their lives simpler and easier, the more likely you are to have that customer for life and not lose them to a competitor.

 

Chipotle, Healthtrax and Whole Foods are missing huge opportunities to connect with me and use the information they have about me to improve my customer experience.

 

It will be interesting to see if any of their competitors begin focusing on delivering an exceptional customer experience through smart CRM, beacons and mobile to get me to switch.

 

Have you thought about how you can use mobile to make an emotional connection with your customer and provide an outstanding customer experience?

 

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Tags: emotional connection to the brand, customer experience, improve customer experience to accelerate sales, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement

5 Ways to Deliver an Improved Customer Experience (#cx)

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Feb, 11, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

improved customer experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accenture's 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Research was recently published.

While companies are spending a lot, and talking about the importance of providing an improved customer experience, little progress is being made in understanding what customers want and need.

Companies are not making it easier for customers to do business with them.

This is likely a function of companies continuing to focus on revenue and their own products and services versus the needs of the customers.

51% of U.S. customers, and 66% of global customers, have switched providers because of poor experiences. In the U.S., these switches are typically among retailers, retail bank and cable and satellite providers.

Primary reasons for switching include:

  1. 91% are frustrated with having to contact a company multiple times for the same issue.
     
  2. 90% for being put on hold for a long time.
     
  3. 89% are tired of repeating their issues to several company reps.
     
  4. 85% switch because companies don't make it easy to do business with them.
     
  5. 84% are frustrated by companies that promise one thing and deliver another.
     
  6. 58% are concerned with inconsistent experiences across a provider's different channels.
I think we've all experienced these issues and have our own unique level of tolerance based on out past experience with the company.
DirecTV had earned my trust and referrals over 15 years. However, when they were unable to provide me with high definition service without even engaging with me to consider other options, all the equity they had built over 15 years was lost. 
Companies are generating and collecting a lot of data on their customers. They may have the analytical tools to glean tremendous insights into what customers need and want. However, all of this work, and more importantly its results, are not being seen by the customer.
Companies need to learn from every customer interaction and tailor future communications and interactions to make them more relevant and meaningful to customers.
I have written before about the need to have a dialog with your customers. Big data can provide a lot of analytics; however, at the end of the day, it can't tell you why a customer did, or did not, do something and what they were thinking at the time.
To this day, I'm not sure DirecTV knows why I'm not a customer. They're still sending me "win-back" mailers even though they left me in the lurch.
I have also written before on the need to have a system which allow you to collect all of the information you learn about the needs and wants of your customer, what they buy, their social media activity and all their CRM data. This information needs to be at the fingertips of every customer-facing employee so they can deliver a personalized interaction witht the customer.
Following are five specific ways you can deliver an improved customer experience:
  1. Deliver a more customized and tailored user experience. Let customers know you hear them, especially their compliants, and that you are addressing them. Actions speak louder than words. Use all of the data you are collecting and provide it to your customer-facing employees so they can provide a great customer experience.

  2. Create a seamless experince across all channels. Customers expect to receive the same level of excellent customer service whether they're in your store/office, on your website, on the phone, on email, on social media. Be prepared, and prepare your employees, to deliver an excellent experience across all these channels.

  3. Use technology to give customers access to your products and services when and where they want. Make it simple to do business with you -- anywhere, anytime. The easier you can make your customers' lives the more value you are providing them and the more equity you are building.

  4. Be mobile friendly. Make sure your website and email are optimized for mobile. This is frequently the first point of contact your prospect with have with your company and it's how 67% of your customers will open your emails. Ask customers about their mobile experience with your firm to understand what's working and what's not working for them.

  5. Engage customers on, and monitor, social media. This is a great way to know how customers really feel and what they're sharing with their friends and colleagues about you and your competition. Empower your employees to engage with customers on social media. 
The more ways and the more places you and your employees can engage customers, the better. Listen intensely to what they have to say.
If a customer complains, say thank you and then figure out how you will address the complaint. Let the customer know you heard them and what action is being taken.
Most importantly, do what you say you will do when you say you will do it. This will earn the customer's trust.
Be open to other suggestions from consumers. They know what they like and they don't like. Encourage them to share with you. If they don't, you won't know or won't be able to ask follow-up questions to get a better understanding.
What are you and your employees doing to improve your customers' experiences?
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Tags: consumer insights, dialog, empower employees, satisfied customers, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement, listen intensely, do what you say you'll do when you say you'

10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your CRM to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Dec, 18, 2013 @ 06:12 AM

A good CRM helps accelerate sales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Jennifer Lornoff Shiff for quoting me in her article for the eCRM Guide:

Ten Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your CRM System
By Jennifer Schiff

Last month, eCRM Guide asked leading customer relationship management (CRM) software vendors NetSuite, Salesforce.com and SugarCRM for 10 of their top CRM tips.

This month, we asked CRM users, business owners and executives what advice they had for colleagues looking to improve CRM adoption and get a positive return on their CRM investment. We received literally hundreds of tips, all of them good, many of them similar, which we narrowed down to the following 10.

1. The CEO and top executives should set the example. Many business owners complain they can't get their salespeople to use their CRM system — when they themselves don't use the software. So if you want to improve CRM adoption, "the CEO and the rest of the C-level executives have to use it and understand it," said Tom Smith, marketing consultant at Insights From Analytics.

2. Teach your sales team well. "Train, train, train!" admonished Daniel K. O'Leary, vice president for global solutions at LincWare. "If people don't feel comfortable using a CRM system, they will find another way to do it, like paper or a spreadsheet. So make sure they understand how to use the CRM system, and why it's important."

3. Introduce changes slowly. "With CRM software, a good starting point is to have the team start entering their sales contacts. Once they have fully incorporated this process, start tracking sales with the new system. Next, have them use the software to generate reports. Continue adding new elements on a regular basis until they are using every function of the new solution in their daily routine," suggested James Wong, CEO of Avidian Technologies.

4. Be consistent with data. To get the most out of your CRM system, you need to have "agreed upon protocols for how names and addresses will be handled for consistency of data entry," said Smith.

5. Your CRM system is only as good as the data it houses. "Given that email today is the most cost-efficient channel for communicating with one's customers, it's critical for companies to validate and correct email addresses prior to entering them into one's marketing/CRM database and perform regular hygiene processes to ensure these email addresses are kept as up-to-date as possible," said Bill Kaplan, CEO of FreshAddress.

6. Use your CRM system to track marketing results. "Simply pass your web form lead information directly into your CRM system," advised Susan Thayer, director of marketing at Firespring, which uses Salesforce.com. "Set up a campaign for each web form or lead source so you can get real-time counts of how many leads your campaigns are getting and how many are turning into sales. You can also set up your CRM system to send an auto-response to your leads that complete web forms and ongoing 'drip' or auto-generated emails if leads meet pre-specified criteria."

7. Use pre-made add-ons and applications before investing thousands of dollars in custom solutions. "A great example of this is Salesforce.com's AppExchange, which offers many free and paid apps that can immensely streamline your business processes," said Terra Williams, CRM director/marketing for Cibaria International. "For example, our company has made use of Pervasive's DataSynch module, effectively saving us thousands of dollars a month while allowing us to synch our QuickBooks data to Salesforce and bridge our sales pipeline in the process."

8. Use Google Alerts to email your CRM system when it detects your customer as a keyword. "Google allows you to set up keywords that will be emailed to you or your CRM system when triggered," allowing you to better keep track of what your customers are saying and doing, noted T.J. Bloom, operations manager at MDL Technology.

9. Make sure that you have an easy way to migrate your data before choosing a CRM system. "If you ever want to switch CRM systems, it can be very painful if the data can't be downloaded [or migrated] in an easily accessible format/way," said Bettina Hein, founder and CEO of Pixability. "We just learned how hard switching is because we're migrating from Highrise to Salesforce.com."

10. Reward those who influence CRM success, even if it's not their job. "If an employee gives great feedback or streamlines a process, be sure to have a reward or incentive in place," suggested Williams.

What tips do you have to add?

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Tags: empower employees, connecting emotionally with customers, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement, customer bonding programs

CRM for Healthcare Accelerates Sales, Improves Patient Outcomes

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Dec, 16, 2013 @ 06:12 AM

Patient Relationship Marketing resized 600

 

 

 

 

 

I recently read a wonderful article by Lawrence A. Crosby in Marketingpower.com entitled, “Healthy Relationships.”

This comes on the heels of a bad experience with our local hospital and general practitioner.

The gist of Mr. Crosby’s article is that we need to think about relationship management when it comes to solving the healthcare crisis.

He cites Ben Sasse, U.S. assistant secretary of health and human services from 2007 to 2009 who declares, “U.S. healthcare is an ‘embarrassment’ with 68 percent of medical expenditures for 23 percent of the population who have one or more chronic conditions.”

Contrary to popular perception, the U.S. is far from having the best system of healthcare in the world based on studies examining life expectancy, mortality, 5-year survival rates and error rates.  Also, the U.S. spends twice as much per person on healthcare as its peers.

Patient perceived quality is highly influenced by the level of service rendered.  However, this metric is discounted by healthcare professionals who do not believe patients are capable of judging the technical quality of the care they receive.  This is a major disconnect and one which the medical establishment needs to rectify.

Attention doctors, patients are your customers.

The Journal of the American Medical Association has shown interactions with patients and their families – properties of care that qualify as “service” – have very strong effects on clinical outcomes.  Gains in service quality improve outcomes with respect to chronic conditions.

We know perceived quality drives customer loyalty and engagement. 

Satisfied customers come back, provide referrals, learn the customer role, accept advice and adopt new offerings. 

These are the same behaviors we want from chronically ill patients – return for follow-up visits, take their medicines as prescribed, follow preventive care regimens and participate in trials.

A Patient Relationship Management (PRM) system would facilitate all of these things, improve health outcomes, reduce costs and enhance service performance. 

Someone like Allscripts or Cerner could certainly develop a PRM system.  However, their clients, physicians' offices and hospitals, have to see the need and be willing to make the commitment and investment required to improve patient satisfaction.

As we know from our call to the general practitioner, initial service interactions are the foundation of relationships.  Positive interactions foster trust.  Trust creates relationships.  Relationships create a sense of community.

Based on my recent experience, I don’t know if the healthcare community understands the importance of service, versus critical care, or is willing to make the investment to improve it.

It doesn’t appear the U.S. healthcare system is currently organized to manage relationships which are inherently long-term.  PRM is incongruous with the structure of our fragmented healthcare system.

Patients rotate among primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, nursing center doctors, et.al. who don’t always communicate, share medical information or engage in long-term monitoring.

If healthcare providers would adopt a “patients for life” philosophy, this would lead to patients having a better quality of life.  Patient satisfaction will increase as well as patient outcomes.  All of this would drive the cost of care down.

Electronic medical records (EMRs) will improve care if healthcare providers, including health insurers, care as much about improving patient outcomes as they do minimizing patient payments and care expense and maximizing profit.

IF EMRs aren't the answer, perhaps Cisco's HealthPresence is?  This will enable you to have lifetime relationships with the physicians you choose regardless of where you, or your physician, might relocate.

Do you think there’s a place for patient relationship management and a “patients for life” philosophy in healthcare?

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Tags: patient relationship marketing, patient outcomes, satisfied patients, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement

Why Don't More Firms Use NPS for Customer Loyalty?

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Nov, 01, 2013 @ 06:11 AM

Net Promoter Score

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having used Net Promoter Score for several years to get customer feedback and begin a dialogue with the customer, I'm perplexed why more B2C and B2B firms aren't using it.

It's easy to implement and easy for customers to complete.

It provides a great opportunity to learn who's a "promoter" and who's a "detractor."

Are companies afraid to hear what their customers think about them?

Do they not care?

Given the better financial performance of firms that provide outstanding customer service, and have high NPS scores, you would think more companies would use this valuable, inexpensive tool.

I recommend every company employ a three question survey that will let them know what their customers think about their products and services, as well as the fact they even care what their customers think of them.

  1. On a scale of 0 to 10, 10 being "extremely likely," how likely are to recommend __________ to your family, friends or colleagues?
  2. Why did you give us that score?
  3. What would it take to earn a 10?
This survey can be fielded in-person, via email or snail mail and takes the customer less than five minutes to complete.
It provides the company fielding the survey with tremendous insights:
  • Do your customers like what you're doing well enough to recommend it to others?
  • What do your customers see you doing "different and better?"
  • What can we do to improve our product, our service, the customer experience?
  • Who's a "promoter?"
  • Who's a "detractor?"
  • What do we need to do for the "detractor" to address their concern(s)?
  • What can we do to move "passives" to "promoters?"
  • What's happening to our Net Promoter Score -- are we improving or going backward?
If you'd like some help letting your customers know you care what they think about you, as well as invaluable insights for improving your business, let me know.
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Tags: net promoter score, referrals, promoters, passives, detractors, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement

Consumer Insights Reduce Costs

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Oct, 30, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

consumer insights reduce costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Villone is the head of customer experience at Barclaycard, Barclays Bank's credit card unit.

Given the crowded credit card space in the U.S., Barclays' strategy for growing share was: 

  1. Reducing complaints
  2. Increasing customer satisfaction
  3. Reducing attrition
Given the low customer satisfaction ratings with leading credit card providers, the bar on all three of these metrics was low.
Doug began playing recordings of customer calls at company meetings. After a few of these meetings, participants began taking a different view of the customer and began validating their concerns.
Now, everyday at Barclaycard, a customer call is selected at random and sent to all employees' email by 7;30 a.m. so they can hear an accurate reflection of customer experience.
The emails helped employees see and hear how there actions helped create the customer experience -- be it good or bad.
Barclaycard instituted the "Customer Experience Roadmap" project that identified six areas of improvement and had senior executives sponsor initiatives and form teams to solve them.
One team delivered 200 improvements that resulted in a 70% reduction in complaints and saved Barclaycard $10 million a year.
A suggestion from one customer about improving the website saved Barclaycard a lot of money and improved the user experience for all customers.
Key takeaway: "In customer experience, sometimes the simplest things are the most impactful."
What are insights are you, and your employees, getting from your customers to make a positive impact on your business?
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Tags: dialogue, consumer insights, customer experience, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement, employee empowerment

12-Step Customer Service Manifesto

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Oct, 28, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

customer service manifesto

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great post from Barry Moltz in a recent edition of SmartBrief Jobs on "How to Make Customer Service Easy for Your Employees."

Offering great customer service is hard.

The definition of what it is exactly changes from customer to customer and from situation to situation. This makes it especially difficult for employees who try to apply their company training to a particular situation.

In a connected world, customer service has become the new marketing. A dissatisfied customer used to be able to tell seven people. With social media, they now can tell 7 million people!

In focusing on customer service, leaders need to answer these questions first.

  1. What does the customer mean to their company mission?
  2. What is their personal attitude toward customers?
  3. What do their employees and customers think they do right and wrong?
  4. How do they personally stay in touch with customers?
  5. What characteristics do they look for in front-line sales and service people?
  6. Have they empowered their employees?
  7. How much process is in place to identify issues and solutions immediately?

Next, to provide great customer service consistently, every leader needs to achieve two things within their organizations.

  1. Establish a customer service manifesto on what customers can expect each time they do business with their company.
  2. Train their employees on this manifesto and how to respond to customers in 99% of the situations, since the biggest complaint people have is being forced to explain their problem over and over again to different employees inside the company.

Here is a sample of what needs to be in that manifesto.

  1. We will deliver on what we promised.
  2. We will listen attentively to all your concerns.
  3. We will be easy to reach especially when things go wrong.
  4. We will resolve your issues in a reasonable time frame.
  5. We will admit when we made a mistake.
  6. We will empower our employees to solve your issue at the point it occurs.
  7. We will not charge separate nuisance fees or surcharges.
  8. We will treat you with respect and dignity at all times.
  9. When we decide to change something, we will tell you in advance.
  10. We will never sell any information about you without your permission.
  11. We will offer you several convenient ways to provide us feedback.
  12. In every situation, we will ask you what it would take to make you feel satisfied.

Studies show that when employees know what is expected of them, are trained well and have control over their work, they are more satisfied in their jobs. Happy employees always treat their customers better. Happy customers always come back and refer their colleagues.

How are you training and empowering your employees to provide better customer service?

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Tags: empower employees, connecting emotionally with customers, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement, customer bonding programs

7 Dimensions for Creating an Emotional Connection with Your Brand

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Oct, 25, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

emotional connection to the brand

 

 

 

 

 

Your brand is the heart and soul of your business.

Humans have a hard-wired need to have a relationship with other humans, as well as the functional and fun items and tools we use in our daily lives.

Consumers typically have the most powerful connection to their smartphone engaging with it 150 times a day.

While we love novelty and change, we also have a strong need for constancy and commitment.

Brands serve a vital human purpose. They give identity, meaning and connectivity to our experiences and possessions.

Ultimately we want to create a passion for our brand with the customer.

This is done on seven dimensions:

1. Form -- the physical manifestation of the brand. Visual as well as audio elements including tone, timber, beat and harmonic qualities. Form is the face and voice of the brand.

2. Function -- those that are indispensable and unique to the brand. Explicit functionality can be easily and well articulated by the consumer and implemented by the product designer. Implicit functionality is found to be valuable and indispensable by the consumer but they have trouble articulating these elements verbally.

3. Feelings -- automatic emotional associations arise at the thought or mention of a brand. Shorthand for a large network of attributes and connections (e.g., place, social setting, occasion; act of preparing; enjoying; post enjoyment; larger cultural context; and, live events or cycle of life).

4. Values -- broader social and moral values that a brand may be connected with either explicitly or implicitly. Values that may be relevant to the essential character of specific brands are: personal, spiritual, moral, communal, social, political, economic, philosophical, historical, traditional, cultural, national, environmental, legal or lifecycle-related.

5. Benefits -- personally meaningful rewards we expect to acquire by using brands. The following benefits stand out in associating a brand with a consumer's personal identity: beauty, intellect, sexual attractiveness, fashion, knowledgeable, success, pride, exclusive and elite, access to power and resources, genetic and racial pride and uniqueness of personality.

6. Metaphors -- reveal larger than life expectations that come to be consciously or subconsciously associated with a brand and its meaning to a consumer. The metaphor is useless unless it is tangibly and consistently reinforced (e.g., Volvo = safety).

7. Extensions -- natural extensions make sense in the consumer's mind. The most successful extensions use one of the following strategies: functionality addition (e.g., 3M sticky notes); functionality merge (e.g., shampoo and conditioner); occasion merge (e.g., turkey beyond holidays); interaction and interface merge (e.g., Baskin Robbins and Oreos); technology merge (e.g., Intel inside); and, device merge (e.g., iPhone).

Established brands should drive home the core feelings consumers have about your brand.

New brands need to focus on unique benefits and function that will differentiate the brand.

Commodity brands need to focus on form, function and benefits to engage the brain on a practical level.

Luxury brands need to generate an emotional response to compensate for the premium pricing.

How does your brand stack up on these seven dimensions?

Have you asked your customers?

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Tags: dialogue, emotional connection to the brand, one-on-one interviews provide consumer insights, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement, core values

9 Characteristics of Outstanding Customer Service Providers

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Oct, 24, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

customer service

 

Great article by Donna Fluss in the February, 2013 edition of Customer Relationship Management entitled, "Surveys Alone Are Not The Answer."

The gist of the article is that you must take action on what you learn from the feedback in your customer surveys or you're just wasting your time.

Surveying your customers and then doing nothing with the feedback is disingenuous.  

Companies field surveys to give customers the impression they care about their feedback and customers think their feedback will be used to improve the product, service or customer experience.

Companies that provide outstanding customer service share the following characteristics:

  1. Customer service is a priority and integral to the customer service.  A commitment to deliver outstanding customer service starts at the top -- it's part of the vision, mission and values of the firm.
     
  2. All employees and managers have customer service goals that are measured.  Employees are empowered to provide an outstanding customer experience.  Outstanding performance is recognized and rewarded.
     
  3. All employees view themselves, and are treated, as customer advocates.  Management values the feedback from customer-facing employees.
     
  4. Senior executives frequently interact with customers, solicit feedback, promote a dialogue and address any concerns.
     
  5. The customer service, support, or contact center reports to a senior executive and is frequently consulted with regards to how the customer experience can be improved.
     
  6. Customer issues are quickly escalated and resolved.  Ideally, there is minimal escalation and the customer service rep is immediately able to rectify the issue to the consumer's satisfaction.
     
  7. Recurring causes of customer complaints are identified and fixed. Identification and resolution is ideally made by the customer-facing employees.
     
  8. The organization listens on an institutional basis.  Everyone in the company is aware of the company's commitment to providing outstanding customer service.
     
  9. Employees are treated with great respect.  Employees will only treat customers as well as they are treated by management.

I implemented Net Promoter Score at my former employer.  Doing so raised the internal awareness of the firm's commitment to delivering an outstanding customer experience as well as our customers' awareness of our commitment.

I thanked everyone who completed the survey.  We requested testimonials and case studies from "promoters."  We resolved outstanding issues with "detractors" and we told "passives" we were committed to doing what we could to convert them to "promoters."

After all of our 

communications, our customers knew we were serious and committed to improving our level of customer service.

Is everyone in your firm committed to providing a consistently outstanding customer experience?

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Tags: net promoter score, connecting emotionally with customers, promoters, detractors, customer satisfaction measurement and improvement