2009 has not been a nice year to a lot of us. Working harder and seeing less in the way of tangible returns. But despite the economic problems there has been some good solid upgrades in many of my customer service efforts, more is needed but progress has been made. What kinds of efforts have I been working on? Efforts that make a real difference? Well, poorly designed interactions, broken processes, out of date business runes, insufficient customer insight, and a business culture that is far from being customer-centered. So what’s up for next year? We are planning on being even more active than we were this year both on line and f2f so what is on deck?
1st We will be working hard to drop any kind of executive commitment façade. We will continue to work at not saying the customer experience is important but that despite the problems in dedicating the time and energy required to make it happen we will make it a real top priority not just in word but in deed!
2nd We have come to the conclusion we do not know our customers as well as we could or should. That being said, it takes us too long to market our products and services. We need to develop programs that in 2010 that provide ongoing and continuous access to us and us to them.
3rd We cannot allow ourselves to get overly distracted by social media. Twitter, Facebook, Nings, MerchantCircle and all the rest may seem like they are producing but they are only another marketing channel. Nothing more and nothing less. We need to learn from social media feed back; learn from it, but not over react because of it.
4th Stop Killing Customer Service. Yes taking away what good customer service does. Customers care more about good customer service then they do about low prices. Many customer interactions are critical moments that promote customer loyalty. Price and discounting does not do that. Companies like to treat customer serves as an unwanted stepchild of necessity (and pay their customer service people accordingly putting no value in what miracles’ they perform)
5th Put a purpose behind your brand. Your brand is want makes you, YOU. It is more than your corporate color, your logo, your marketing slogan. It is the essence of what separates you from the competition. We all need to redefine our brand and embedding it in the hearts and minds of all your customers, prospects and employees.
6th Don’t expect your employees to get on board all by themselves. Your employees are often the most critical part of any customer experience effort but you can’t just sit back and expect them to jump on board. They have seen management, yes all you suits out there talking the talk, but not walking the walk of solid customer service. So we all need to engage your employees, our share holders and our stake holders to come with us.
7th Translate your customer experience into business terms. There is a strong correlation between customer experience and loyalty and on the average I have found that on the average a company can generate 2.84% more in gross sales with good customer service in the short run and can keep a customer coming back for years if they are treated right.
Larson Notes: We will be developing a customer experience check list that shows tracks service points not just financial results. We will be attempting to create a customer voice program to provide coos channel team access that forces us to listen, interpret, react and monitor actions in real time from our customers and hot prospects. We will treat all SM media as one of the many ways to listen to our customers, prospects and competition in unstructured feedback and at the same time promote new and untried ideas. We will find ways to measure our customer service based on how effectively we help customers instead of treating that essential service like a meat market. We will be translating our brand into promises that will be made in conjunction with our customers at every touch point possible. Open the doors of communication with why customer service and the experience is important to you, and do it, Walk that walk and let the talking be done with your actions not your mouth. We will be communicating why the customer experience is important with all our people front line and back line. We will be engaging our “money people” to help translate what impact it really means to put in place top of the line customer service people and make wages set accordingly. I’m thing it is more than the $9.00 to $10.00 an hour I see in the paper all the time. If these front line people are engaged with my customers I want the best of the best!
Larson & Associates
Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition
Making good businesses great and great businesses even better
P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.
P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.