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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

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

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.
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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

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.

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Customer Experience Drives 37 Consecutive Quarters of Same-Salon Growth – an Interview with Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips

Aiming for the Heart of their Customers

This is the fourth in our Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers interview series, with seven Minnesota customer experience leaders sharing their strategy for the coming year. You can see all of the interviews here:

Overview

I originally interviewed Rhoda Olsen to learn more about her customer experience efforts in 2011. You can read that interview here. At that point Great Clips had experienced 30 consecutive quarters of same-salon growth. That record has now been extended to 37, and the company has grown to over $1 billion in revenue.

Defining Customer Experience

Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips

Unlike some franchisors, Great Clips defines their customer as the end consumer, not the franchisee. CEO Rhoda Olsen explains, “We believe that if we don’t stay focused on that customer in the salon, the franchisee will not be successful. We define the customer experience from the time they check into the online app or walk in the door to the time they leave. Everything that happens in the wait time and what happens when they leave is part of the customer experience. The interaction with the stylist is their primary brand driver, but if somebody waited 45 minutes and been treated poorly, the stylist has to dig herself out of a hole.”

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Customer Experience is a Sales Job. And We’re Doing it Badly.

Are you selling your customer experience?Rising profits

A friend of mine is in her first year leading her company’s customer experience. A few weeks ago she told me, “I never realized how much selling is involved with this job!” I met another CX leader yesterday, who said much the same thing: “I always need to have my elevator speech ready, to explain to people why they should care about customer experience.”

It’s unfortunate but true: most leaders don’t naturally think about customer experience, and we need to be evangelists for the cause. But recent research from Teletech suggests that we’re not really helping ourselves to sell the mission.

Read more

A Case Study in Loyalty: The Cabela’s CLUB

Cabela's Logo How do you create a world-class customer loyalty program? Focus less on providing best-in-class benefits and more on creating a great customer experience. That’s the advice of Sean Baker, the incoming CEO of Cabela’s World’s Foremost Bank and leader of the Cabela’s CLUB program.

I interviewed Sean to learn more about Cabela’s CLUB and its critical role in driving their customer experience. The lessons certainly apply to retailers as a class, but also have something to teach anybody wanting to create better relationships with customers.

CLUB Components

First, a quick background on the program. The Cabela’s CLUB is a loyalty program paired with a Visa card. It began as a partnership with a small regional bank as a way to give their best customers free gear, but in 2001 Cabela’s brought the program in-house. They are now one of only two retailers who entirely own their own bank to run their loyalty program (Nordstrom’s is the other). Read more