"One customer well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising." - Jim Rohn
1. You Value the Customer.
The quote above by Jim Rohn really does sum up, fundamentally, what customers want and need from the brands with which they choose to do business. How well do you take care of your customers? Do you truly value them aside from the revenue they provide your bottom line?
I remember years ago working with the main customer contact at one of my largest strategic accounts. We stood to make millions over a 5-year contract. To be honest, no one could stand working with this contact. In their defense, he acted like he was CEO of the company, and sometimes, he would not talk to them in the best tone.
I knew what it meant to our organization to keep him happy. So, I decided to work with him myself. Once I became his lead contact, I could immediately see how he was rubbing my team members the wrong way, but you know what else I saw?
"I saw a man who just wanted to be valued not only as a decision-maker at a strategic account, but as a human being." - Heather Younger
Sure, we wanted to keep that customer and the associated revenue, but it meant more to me that I could diffuse his insecurity and make him know that he was important in and of himself, despite the title. This endeared him to me.
Later on, when he moved to another larger company where we stood to make even more money, he put us on a short list of top vendors with which his organization would do business.
Just doing things what showed I valued him made a huge difference. Start to think of ways that you can show your customers that you value them. It is the little things that endear them to you and your brand!
2. You Listen To and Act Upon Customer Feedback.
"The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them." - Ralph Nichols
I have to say that this area of customer experience is one about which I am most passionate. As Ralph Nichols points out, all of us want to be listened to. We want to feel that our voices can make a difference
Customers want those same things too.
In this age of customer experience, many organizations are either rolling out or have rolled out a Voice of the Customer and/or Voice of the Employee program. Unfortunately, many fall short in meeting their customer's expectations in this area, because there are no processes in place to listen consistently and then do something about what they hear.
There is really nothing more de-motivating for customers than to take the time to provide candid feedback, and then hear crickets chirping with what organizations intend to do about what they heard." - Heather Younger
Your customers want to know that you are different in this regard. Show them that you will listen intently to what they say and then commit to doing something about it!
3. You Offer a Consistent Customer Experience.
"Trust is built with consistency." - Lincoln Chafee
So you were fortunate enough to differentiate yourself during your sales process and win the business. Your customer is feeling pretty good about his/her decision to buy. Then, one of your service techs drops the ball on making needed changes to the customer's account. Now, that same happy and confident customer begins to question the decision to buy.
I have seen this scenario many times. To be clear, there are not many organizations who get it right every single time, but it is those organizations that focus on creating processes that ensure excellent service delivery that win customers for life.
Over Christmas, I decided to order many of my gifts online to bypass the busy crowds. The system was easy to use and I had a choice between selecting delivery or to pick-up at the store. I chose the latter, thinking that I would get my items quicker. Boy, was that a mistake. When I arrived at the store to pick up my items, the computers were down, and there was only one employee there left to help a whole line of customers. Frustrated, I left that day and decided to come back later. Before heading to the store again, I decided to call ahead to see if they could have the items ready. The phone attendant sounded exhausted and told me that it would not be likely that they would prepare my items ahead of time. Shortly after that call, I headed back to the store. This time, that same very patient employee, told us in line that his computer was down again and that he couldn't find a manager. Attempting to offer a solution, he walked us to the front of the store to check us out.
I could go on and on about this story and there is much more to it, but I think that you get the point. Organizations that say they are committed to providing a great customer experience must first commit to being consistent at every touch point of the customer's journey. It is in the journey that loyalty is built.
4. You Will Innovate Based Upon Customer Needs.
In order for the business world to flourish, it must continue to innovate. This is an important point. The argument can be made that organizations such as Apple managed to innovate because its leader could "see the future" and knew what customers wanted before they even asked.
This is a great example, but very few organizational leaders can innovate in a vacuum. As Mark Twain so aptly pointed out, it really is our assumptions that can get us into trouble.
When we venture into the land of innovation, we should make sure that we have a pretty good pulse of what our customers are trying to get done by buying from us. If we all innovate based upon what we dream is possible without considering their needs, we may end up falling flat on our faces.
Show your customers that the changes you are embarking on are founded on what they are trying to do. They will appreciate your efforts all the more!
5. You Add Value to Your Customer's Lives.
So, what does this mean, add value? In short, do the products and services you offer make the lives of your customers easier, more fulfilling, more memorable, or do you create bigger headaches, more friction and one more thing about which for them to worry? Do they feel better off having decided to work with you?
I would say that this should be one of the first questions for every organization to consider. If you are not adding value to the lives of those you serve, it may be time to re-evaluate your offerings. How do you know for sure? Ask your customers!
The interesting thing about these points is that they apply equally to employees. Both customers and employees want a lot of the same things. It's finding alignment on both sides of the coin and leveraging the learning from one area and applying it to the other. If you make sure your customers are well take care of and they know it, you will do just fine.
I would love to read your comments and insights on this topic. I am open to all viewpoints. If you are interested in reading more of this content visit our website to subscribe and download a FREE whitepaper too!
Thank you for reading!
Have fun showing your customers that you can and want to be all of these things!!