The Perfect Customer Experience

Turning Satisfied Customers into Advocates – Dale Wolf, Editor

The Perfect Customer Experience - Turning Satisfied Customers into Advocates – Dale Wolf, Editor

Credibility, Trust and Risk — Customer Experience is Up to YOU

fist pushing thru wallB2B buyers realize that they are making decisions that carry a risk to their companies, and to their careers.  Everyone in your organization needs to stay aware of this buyer attitude and work diligently to build both credibility and trust in you as manufacturers of these products that, on one hand, hold such promise and potential for your clients and, on the other hand, ... Read More

Aspirations and Understanding Customers

serving othersB2B executives all have aspirations for success; many do not realize that achieving aspirations cannot be a one-sided track. It cannot be all about profit. If it were, then running a company would be relatively simple.

This would be a great business, we all joke, if it were not for those pesky customers. But as Peter Drucker once wrote, “the business of a business is to acquire customers. So we have to run our businesses to please customers while still making ... Read More

Steps To Creating Your Own Marketing Manifesto

There are signs of life in the economy.

Bright glimmers of hope are starting to radiate from what had been some ominous, dark clouds of an economy that looked to be in retreat. Jobs continue to be created, industrial production is nearly back to its pre-recession levels, blue-chip stocks have re-couped their losses, and consumer confidence is finally climbing. These are the glimmers of hope that show an economy on the ... Read More

Hope is a Terrible Thing

I know, you’re thinking that without hope there is nothing to look for. Your next vacation. Your son’s graduation. Your daughter’s wedding. Retirement and a life of reading and fishing.

That’s the good side of hope. Looking forward to something exciting and rewarding.

There’s another side to hope, and it can be terrible.

A husband hoping against all reality for a cure for a debilitating and terminal disease that knocked on his wife’s door ten years ago. Hoping. Praying. Please find a cure in time. But time has run out for her. The damage done is irreversible. This blind hope is like someone playing a dirty trick on you.

... Read More

The Perfect Storm: Wired and Dangerous Customers

By Chip Bell, Author and a new contributing author to this blog.

Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What To do About it; co-authored by Chip Bell and John R. Patterson

George Clooney taught us the meaning of the phrase “the perfect storm” with the movie by the same name.  It is a rare combination of circumstances that create a synergistic, negative result.  It is the weather version of 1+1+1 is “a whole lot more than 3.”

The worst recession of this century left customers anxious and risk-averse.  Even those not impacted directly had plenty of friends who were.  It left customers picky and fickle.  New normal customers only care ... Read More

Apple and Zappos: Flip this House

You Ask: What About You? Read on and you will see.

We all start our businesses with a dream, a vision, an idea. Something we’d like to do for a living. Something we think we can do that customers will want, and that we can do better than anyone else. So we hang out our shingle and go into business.

Now there is one thing all of us who run businesses need. It’s paying customers. Some of us are better at finding paying customers than others. And those of us who do this better are the ones that become successful.

There are all kinds of ways to find customers. That’s what marketing and sales are all about 

Or at least, that’s what marketing and sales used to be all about.

Now, we need to flip this house upside down – not ... Read More

Southwest Red Tape … get the fish on the table

Example: The recent Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Program.

While just about every airline (except maybe Virgin) is upcharging for snacks, water, pillows, luggage, smiles, the restroom key, movies … and while they are making it nearly impossible to use the rewards miles you earned, Southwest is removing the red tape. They just launched the program, finally returning to customers what all the other airlines once promised. If Southwest Airlines can do this, it indicates they have a management team that understands how to create an intentional, differentiated brand experience.

The most energizing part of the customer experience journey occurs when the many parts of the organization make the commitment necessary to breach silo walls to take the whole organization in ... Read More

Process simplification becomes a matter of survival.

The processes we use to deliver our products and services become the fingerprint of our organizations. They are how we get things done. They determine our productivity. They define our company from the competition. They reflect out to our customers and tell them who we are and whether we care about their needs.

On the other hand, our processes can take on a life of their own and become a bewildering maze of handoffs. They grow complex and proliferate, making us more difficult to work with. They remain labor intensive and paper-driven. In many companies, these proliferating processes come to reside in functional silos with the corporate left hand unable to communicate across the maze efficiently, quickly – or, sometimes at all – with the corporate right hand. The result is ... Read More

Leveraging a Great Value Propositon into Great Customer Experience

Information-based strategies leverage expert knowledge of the profitability, preferences and transaction histories of individual customers to increase the effectiveness of marketing, sales and service. To transform your ho-hum, run-of-the-mill value message into an eye-popping, head-turning, “must have” proposition that positions you head and shoulders above the competition, we suggest you implement the following solutions:

  • Define what makes your product-service offerings unique and better than those of your competitor.
  • Improve customer service and market it as a key differentiator.
  • Offer value-added services to your most profitable clients.
  • Provide highly customized, one-to-one relationships, through a personalized marketing and ... Read More

The People Factor in Customer Experience

By Shaun Smith

Traditional measures of customer satisfaction have little to do with financial performance. According to research 80% of customers who switch suppliers express satisfaction with their previous supplier. Revenue growth has everything to do with advocacy, the extent to which customers prefer a supplier and then refer others to it.

The principles of customer advocacy hold true whatever the nature of your industry and ... Read More

Channel Issue No. 3: Lack of Process and Data Integration

Not long ago, providers could deliver complete customer service through just one or two channels.

As channels proliferated, firms deployed them around their economic interests rather than around customer demand.

Some have not been able to adapt to handling complex services, and worse yet, very few institutions have all of these channels integrated around the same complete set of customer data.

We can only imagine the frustration that a business manager must feel when he or she knows exactly how they want to run the business only to discover that their distribu­tion channel will not support the strategy … or that the channel is costing so much to maintain that funds cannot be deployed to drive the total business plan forward … or that the channel simply is not ... Read More

Channel Issue No. 2: Waning Customer Satisfaction

With more channels in which to communicate, customers become disenchanted due to inconsistent service and transactions among channels. Lack of confidence and satisfaction are the leading causes of customer defection.

In fact, nearly one in five customers have left their current retailer in favor of another that proffered a value proposition more geared to meet their specific needs. Two out of three customers leave because of unsatisfactory service, and one in five leave because of the institution’s indifference or lack of attention.

Every customer that defects must be replaced and the process and expense of developing that customer’s potential value begins anew.

When channel strategies fail to deliver customer expectations, channel productivity goes ... Read More

Channel Issue No. 1: Proliferation without Strategy

It all happened so fast. Change was everywhere. Technology promised new ways of distributing products and services at a dramatically lower cost. A few innovative companies jumped in and opened up remote and electronic channels. No one could sit back and let others pass them by. And so, the race was on. Unfortunately, strategy was left behind at the starting line. We rushed into multi-channel distribution before having a firm grasp on effective channel management issues and strategies. As new channels were opened up, silo management structures were created to manage them. Expectations were high everywhere.

But now, years later, we see that “the more, the better” channel approach did not work out like most managers had hoped. With perfect hindsight vision, all can see that ... Read More