Saturday, September 28, 2013

Customer Experience is important

Greg Lederman has written a new book titled "Engaged!: Out-behave Your Competition to Create Customers for Life".  He makes the point that the value of the customer experience is a significant factor in creating fierce customer loyalty. He suggests that the customer experience is really the brand of your company as much or more so than your company logo.

In his book he offers eight key principles to manage the customer experience. The principles are:
1. Keep every employee on stage, delivering an experience
2. Keep your team happy to create engaged customers
3. Don't just announce your culture, make it visible
4. Focus on culture change rather than culture talk
5. Turn common sense into common practice
6. Build relationships and stop surveying customers
7. Incent engagement with training and recognition, rather than rewards
8. Build trust in you as a leader by managing the experience.

Lederman suggests that highly engaged organizations grow profits as much as three times faster than the competition. Other benefits that he mentions are that they can reduce staff turnover by as much as 87%, improve performance by 20%, and increase customer satisfaction by at least 12%.  He suggests that companies who provide memorable experiences will create what he calls fiercely loyal customers.

The bottom line is that he makes some obvious and some not so obvious points that every corporation should consider as significant aspects for their customer relationships. A few of the eight points have been given very little attention in the literature. The idea that building relationships is even more important than serveying the customers is not very popular. However, upon reflection, it is easy to understand that loyalty come from the customer experience, not from a survey.  Making the case for the customer experience as a significant component of corporate strategy is as exciting as it is novel.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What makes a sticky customer?

There has been some interesting research completed recently which needs to be reported. One of the key findings was that the most important factor in getting customers to return to your site or company or business was identified as “decision simplicity”. Decision simplicity means the ease of getting the information the customer is looking for in the midst of marketing propaganda or advertising that is being offered at the same time. In other words customers come back to you when you make it simple (not complicated) for them to make a decision or a purchase without overwhelming them with other information.

Another study has found that companies can increase loyalty by helping customers make their buying decisions with the least effort. Another way of saying that is customers don't want to work hard in making a decision or to complete a purchase.  This conclusion came out of a study by Francis Frei  and Anne Morriss in their study of service businesses.  

The idea of making it easy for the customer has been discussed before in this blog. You will find in a previous blog a research company that focuses on customer effort as a metric.

Your company will become more appealing to customers as you find ways to simplify the policies and procedures that your employees are instructed to follow when dealing with customers. Customers are your best consultants and they are free. Listen to them about how to simplify your processes.  Simplifying your organization and your processes for dealing with customers is often constrained by internal politics and personalities. Customers, on the other hand, do not have these constraints.

The bottom line is that every company should strive continuously to simplify the policies and procedures of their customer contact personnel. This also includes simplifying all social media that influences or guides customers to your business. By keeping it simple your customers will appreciate the efforts you take to make it easy for them to do business with you. Some call this stickiness which is another way of saying making it easy for your customers to stay and come back is the best way to create customer loyalty. 

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