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Has a manager, employee, or even the CFO ever asked, “when is the company going to stop gathering customer feedback?” Underlying this question is the assumption that once you find out what a customer wants at a certain point in time is all that is needed. But customer needs are always changing, so the need to stay up with these needs is ever present. The need to listen and respond, never stops.
I explain on why Customer Experience is here to stay in my current blog after my resent visits and discussions with various clients in June. Customer Experience isn’t a one-time proposition. These visits with clients and prospects emphasized the ever-changing nature of and need for feedback. One client talked about one of the first things they learned once they started the feedback process was just how difficult it was to reach people at their company. They have made strides in fixing this part of the experience, but now a couple of new things have come to the fore. As the manager said to me, “as we improve, our customers have higher performance expectations. We need to continue to learn what those new expectations are.”
I also found that improving customer experience seems to be gaining traction.
Comments from several clients suggest that their employees are paying more attention to customers and are delivering better service. Aside from what I observed in the field, the following article, In 2019, Customer Experience will Matter More than Ever, provides insights into why it is becoming more critical. Additionally, as I mention in my blog, customer experience is here to stay as Chick-fil-A has used it to increase in a slow-growing market.
And, when you don’t listen to customers you don’t know what your customers really want. FTI Journal’s “If The Customer is King, Why Aren’t More Companies Paying Attention?” outlines the real cost of not listening to your customers.
I’ve included two of our blogs for further ideas on continuously improving the customer experience program at your company; How to Build Emotionally Positive B2B Customer Experiences and Customer Experience Icebergs: What You Can’t See Matters Most.
Again, just like our summer vacations, customer experience feedback isn’t going away any time soon!
How to Build Emotionally Positive B2B Customer Experiences
I serve on the Board of Directors of a commercial construction company. At our last meeting, we had a discussion about the increasing competitiveness of the industry and what strategies might be appropriate to differentiate further the company. Management was talking about the increasing trend where a commercial construction company is viewed as a commodity. Whoever can provide the lowest price, meet the quality standards, and hit the completion date wins the bid.
I interjected myself into the conversation and noted that they have several clients that are significant in the commercial development business and seldom use any other construction company. In one case, they are the exclusive builder for a large firm.
Customer Experience Icebergs: What You Can’t See Matters Most
You may already know only 10% of an iceberg sits above water, while 90% is under water, hidden from view. But did you also know customer experience has similar proportions? In the normal flow of business, your company sees only the direct contacts your customers make with you: visits to your website, calls to sales and customer support, etc. That’s the visible 10%.
What you don’t see, the critical 90%, is the time and effort expended by your customers to do business with you, the perceptions they form about your company along the way, and the comments they make to others. This submerged 90% of the experience is where the battle for the customer’s loyalty is won and lost.