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Get out of your office!

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In 2008, I left Best Buy. I had been there for six years, and before that had been with a small business. So I just assumed that every company was obsessed with their customers!

Yes, I was naïve. I still am.

From there, I joined a new company. And I learned there were other approaches to running a business.

This was a division of a Fortune 100 company that was growing at an incredible rate. We had the highest market share, and we were growing at 25%. So the organization felt like they had everything going right. They were so confident that their new strategy was to become a $1 billion business.

Missing the Point

Those who have read Good to Great probably know where this is going.

When I joined the company, I was amazed to discover that nobody in marketing or product development had ever met a client!  Their sales came because the parent company sold the products. The parent company had the relationships – so our product teams were comfortable sitting in their offices making up strategy PowerPoints. Read more

How To Build Stronger Customer Relationships & Why It Matters

3M1WKORDOL-1Guest post by Brooke Cade.

The way we communicate with each other has changed. Digital marketing and social media has transformed our world, the way we gather information and how we engage with each other. Because of this, businesses have had to reevaluate the way they communicate and market to their customers.

Millennials are a huge driving force behind this shift. Unlike the generation before them, millennials are more engaged with brands and are more likely to post product reviews, share links about products, and follow brands on Twitter (and other social platforms). Compared to the generation before them, this is a 150% to 250% increase in brand engagement.

Because of the changes we’re seeing in how brands do business, now is the time—if you’re not doing it already—to stand out from your competitors and find ways to connect and build strong relationships with your customers. Millennials are looking for brands that deliver authentic and high quality experiences to them each time they engage.

So, where do brands even begin? Read more

Proof That CX Pays

Watermark GraphAs a customer experience professional, you know CX pays. How could it not? Customer experience leads to loyalty – so if your customer experience is poor, you have to spend an inordinate amount of time replacing the customers you’re losing. You understand this, and you understand the ideas and practices that underlie CX and all the ways it can be utilized in order to maximize companies’ engagement with customers and profit margins. Despite this, though, your boss still doesn’t quite trust it. Or your internal customers don’t ‘get’ it, or wonder how effective it really is. “What is the customer experience stuff?” you keep getting asked. “Does it really work?”

You know it does and we know it does – so we’re here to help you out when you run into those who don’t. Read more

Webinar: Drive Growth by Reducing Customer Effort

Blog Post BannerNow more than ever, customers are demanding top-notch service. In an age when there are options upon options for any service they could require, customers are taking full advantage of that fact: when they aren’t satisfied with the service they receive at a company, they simply bring their business to another. After a poor service experience, 71% end their relationship with that company, and most of them—61%—choose a competitor to go to.

Customer service is a key component of the customer experience, having a disproportionate impact on a customer’s loyalty. A company that offers differentiated service will retain loyal customers. But what does differentiated service entail? According to a study by Bain, 80% of companies feel that they offer superior customer service—but only eight percent of customers agree.

Common customer service practices, such as service calls, can seem to exemplify quality customer service to the company that provides it. In fact, service calls are nearly four times as likely to decrease loyalty as to increase loyalty, and as this shows, companies are often in the dark when it comes to what customers themselves want from their customer service.

How to Combat This?

When it comes to loyalty, it’s been shown that reducing customer effort and offering a seamless experience works best. Designs and options that are intuitive for a customer to navigate encourage customers to return to the companies that provide the kind of service they can understand and connect to.

BT’s research found that their customers who rated their service experience as “easy” showed a 40% reduction in their propensity to churn. Improving your customer service can show dramatic increases in growth. Increasing customer loyalty by just five percent leads to a profitability growth of 25-90% making superior customer service but important to a company’s growth and profitability.

So, how can you make it easier for your customers? I’ll address this in an upcoming webinar. I’ll be joining Talkdesk on Wednesday, August 19 for a webinar that will dive into these questions. You can register here.

What the heck IS loyalty, anyway?

Is it your Net Promoter Score (NPS)? Customers who say they’re likely to purchase again? Some other survey metric?

Or is it something else.

If you spend as much time reading customer experience (CX) reports as I do, you might pick up on a theme. Many of us actually believe that if a customer says they’ll purchase more from us, then they actually will. So we call that loyalty.
Read more

How does customer experience pay? Check out your portfolio

Return on CXYou would think that the return on customer experience is obvious.  A better customer experience improves loyalty, and loyalty means you can spend more time serving customers than chasing new ones, resulting in cost savings.

What Do The Numbers Say?

There are a number of studies that support this contention, including: Read more

Create Better Customer Outcomes through Journey Mapping Workshops

This post was originally shared through the ICMI (International Customer Management Institute) newsletter. You can view the original version here.

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Call center managers have seen it before. Customers form an expectation from your sales channel or marketing literature, receive a different experience through operations, and then call your contact center where they may receive a third perspective.

It’s the setup for a rough call, and an even rougher customer experience. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Great companies have found a way to create a consistent end-to-end experience. They align their silos, creating a consistent experience from start to finish. How do they do it?

Enter customer journey mapping.

Customer journey mapping is a series of techniques that map out your customer experience from start to finish. It follows your customer across silos as they go from initial awareness through the sales process into ongoing engagement.

A popular way to conduct journey mapping is through a workshop. Read more

State of Minnesota: Customer Experience is an important investment

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development invests strategically to help companies grow. Last month, the organization granted over $220,000 to develop a customer experience curriculum. The courseware will be initially created for Western National Insurance, but will afterward be available for other Minnesota companies.

This is a game-changing development in the growth of customer experience!  It is, to my knowledge, the first time a state has specifically said, “Customer experience is important to the growth of our business communities – and so we’re willing to invest in it.”

The press release is below. Go to the Contact tab above to connect with me to learn more.

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DEED Partners with MnSCU and Normandale to Expand Opportunities for Western National Insurance Group Employees  Read more

The Metrics that Matter – Does Measuring Customer Satisfaction Pay?

Heart of the Customer's Customer Experience ModelWhat’s your top customer experience priority? If you’re like most of the 290 respondents to the Temkin Group’s survey of customer experience professionals, “customer experience measurement and metrics” are a big priority. 81% said they expect to put more effort into this area next year, with 79% putting more effort into “customer insights and analytics,” and 73% doing more around their “voice of the customer program.”

Effective metrics are central to a Customer Intelligence program, your first step in creating a great customer experience. This is the first of a series of articles to discuss popular relationship metrics and whether they might make sense for your business. We’ll start with that old standby, satisfaction.

In this series I’m focusing on relationship metrics – those once-a-year measurements that are not part of a transaction. Customer satisfaction is a great measurement to use when measuring a transaction or touch point – but when does it make sense to use it for measuring the strength of your customer relationship? Read more

Just say “No” to your customers

Uncommon-Service-Jacket

We often think about customer experience as saying yes to our customers.  Understand their needs and build solutions to meet them.  And that’s often the case

But sometimes, it’s more powerful to say no.

Saying no frees up the ability to say yes in other areas.  Saying no to service might allow you to give better prices.  Saying no to some options can result in an easier interface on your website. But saying yes to everything is a path to mediocrity.

“No” Can Be Good

Let me use a few examples to clarify.  Some of the top retailers in Temkin’s Customer Experience ratings are Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Nordstrom’s.  While all are retailers, their approaches couldn’t be more different.  Each says no to something different on their way to that great experience.

Read more