Are you always playing the catchup game with your sales target?
Pop this question to a few others and I am sure you will find many others in the same boat!
In this race of spiraling profits and skyrocketing sales figures, the more important figurine of customer experience is missed out. No denial, sales is indeed the backbone of ANY business; but what about Customer Experience?
Customers are the reason your business exists! Without customers, who will you sell your products to?
With all the hype that surrounds bringing in new customers, here is a statistic to shatter that thought into oblivion.
Caveat emptor is the unspoken doctrine that rules every organization in today’s world of fierce competition. This calls for a radical change in the definition of profits. Till now, profits were merely financial in nature; but now they have a new dimension- that of enhanced Customer Experience.
As customers are flooded with various options for their purchase, brands are faced with the daunting task of retaining their customers. And the best way to do so is by creating raving fans for themselves. These raving fans will be the source of incremental revenues and profits through repeat purchases, more referrals, and low customer acquisition costs.
Repeat purchases are not equal to loyalty
A common myth is that customers who make more purchases with your brand are loyal. However, the story is a little foggy because there are various factors that combine to make a customer purchase goods or avail services from a particular organization. Owing its allegiance to this myth, the senior management often focuses on persuading customers to purchase more.
Increasing sales targets with a short preparation time are more likely to rake in bad profits while investing time and money in customer experience will rake in good profits.
Aren’t profits always good?
Turns out, the answer is a resounding NO.
Yes, both are financial surpluses over expenses; yet they both leave behind a completely distinct footprint.
To understand this better, let us imagine a bucket. As you pump harder, the bucket fills initially, but as the bucket wears down and you notice gaping holes at the bottom. You must pump harder to keep the level of water constant and even harder to fill it. But what if, instead of pumping harder, you plug the holes? To put this into context, the bucket is your organization; the holes are your detractive customer practices. Pumping is the action of your sales team, while your customer experience team empowers the stakeholders in your organization to ensure these holes do not appear.
In essence, you are losing customers faster than you are gaining new ones. Remember, it costs an appalling five times as much to attract a new customer than to retain an old one.
Strategies for Customer retention by improving Customer Experience
Building a customer-centric organization where the customer would love to do business with your brand is the responsibility that should be shared by everyone in the organization. Here are 7 strategies for you to retain your customers and unite your team in this vision as well!
Sensitize your team to deliver an exceptional experience
Your team should always focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience and realize the impact it can have on your business. Draw a leaf from Ritz Carlton’s book. When a young customer once left his soft toy at the hotel, the management not only returned it back by post but also sent along freebies and some photographs of the soft toy enjoying a massage at the spa, riding in a golf cart by the beach, and lounging by the swimming pool. All these create memories which the young customer will probably not only cherish forever but also spread the news. This act, in turn, will attract new customers, thereby increasing revenues and subsequently profits.
Eliminate the friction between teams if any, so they work as a team in delivering a one company experience
Remember the principle you probably studied, known as “unity of direction?” The organization and all its departments should work together like a well-oiled machine and move forward with coordination towards the same direction – customer loyalty. If there is any conflict between departments, it must immediately be resolved as this conflict will seep through to the front line and ultimately to the customers. Your customers should relish your one-company experience, and not run between different departments to get their desires fulfilled.
Build the competency of your team to deliver the experience you promise to your customer
Never over promise. This will only lose you customers in the short run and long run. Imagine your local pizza store’s receptionist saying that they will deliver a pizza at your residence in an hour only to later call back and say that it won’t be possible as there is a shortage of ingredients. That is what disaster is spelled like.
Innovate in product and business model by listening to the Voice of the customer
Innovative products go a long way in encouraging your customers to make purchases. Several instances can provide substantial evidence to corroborate that. Let’s take the example of iPhones. When the first few iPhones released, there wasn’t much hype or paparazzi around it. However, once new ones were developed and released with new, interesting, and unique features, customers flocked to purchase the new devices. This helped Apple gather an unprecedented 15.3% of the global smartphone market. New innovations often set the cornerstone for a company’s expansion into a new market is built. Forbes noted that organizations often miss on new product designs by not taking the customer experience into account.
Identify the lessons learned from feedback given by customers
One of the most famous entrepreneurs of all time, Bill Gates famously said, “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. ” As is obvious, there is no point of feedback if you do not intend to act upon it. Break down every customer feedback into bite-sized chunks and devour them with the appetite of a starving wolf. Analyse every piece and see if the asked for change is practically applicable or not. If not, do inform the customer and thank them for their valuable inputs.
Deliver personalized experience to your customers
Everyone likes some personal attention, and a customer is no different – ensure that the customer feels special by personalizing your service. This can be achieved by using emails to send promotions to customers based on their persona. A worthy example is Proflowers (www.proflowers.com) that does so by sending special promotions to customers on specific dates that it knows are important. This makes the customer feel special and important to the organization. Another tactic that can be used is calling customers to check with them or to follow through with sales. Dell Computers does this very well. Roughly two to three weeks after expected delivery of a Dell product, a customer service representative gives the customer a call. This is done as a courtesy to the customer and definitely gives a boost to customer loyalty.
Monitor and communicate internally the net customer growth or loss
Net customer growth or loss is an important factor that often shows whether the compass is pointing north or south. You do not have to rely just on what the customers are saying in their feedback but also see how it reflects in action. It helps organizations get a quantified view on how effective have their projects and initiatives been and the tangible results of the same. Internal communication on the net growth or loss is equally vital to engage your team to come up with new plans, policies, or strategies to enhance the customer experience and earn the right to their loyalty and retention.
NPS® as a system helps you not only quantify your customer loyalty but also find out the root cause of your customer delight or unhappiness. Addressing negative feedback, and communicating these changes to your customers is just as vital as retaining the positive feedback.