Does Your Business Have the “WOW” Factor?
Every year in Denver Colorado, the Small Business Development Centre works with existing and up and coming businesses to launch, relaunch and just generally “better” their businesses. A lot of the time business owners feel that consulting on their companies is about fleshing out “weak links” and fixing them. However, the Executive Director of the Small Business Development Centre, Tameka Montgomery, says that simply delivering adequate service is not enough in the 21st century. Montgomery stresses what she calls the “wow factor”. Instead of simply pleasing customers, businesses should routinely be striving to exceed their expectations. Think about the last time you had a consumer experience worth sharing. Chances are it contained some element of surprise or unexpected delight. Think of the small boutique which uses personally stamped paper bags and tissue paper over the chain store that puts all of its merchandise in uniform plastic bags. Which experience leaves you feeling like you have purchased a more “valuable” item? The same can translate beyond the retail experience - for example a B2B business who sends personalized cards after transactions. Delighting your customers and ensuring positive word of mouth is as simple as some small personalized touches, or an unexpected “extra”. For more on “how to wow” check out the full article here: http://www.ourcoloradonews.com/business/growth/creating-a-wow-experience/article_639fbb4e-daa9-11e0-ae77-001cc4c002e0.html
Are Your Customers Loyal?
Anyone in business knows that customer creation and retention are vital if you want to continue to hang the “open” sign on your front door. Many companies spend the majority of their marketing resources attracting new customers with flashy advertising and tempting price incentives. However, what they are failing to consider are the advantages of retaining existing customers. You see, customer “loyalty” is twofold; not only are you ensuring repeat sales, you are also increasing the opportunities for recommendations from a satisfied clientele. In other words, free advertising.
In the recent 2011 Temkin Loyalty rating, 6,000 US consumers were polled across several industries. Participants were asked to assess their levels of loyalty based on 3 criteria: willingness to purchase additional products (or services), reluctance to switch to an alternate provider, and the likelihood to recommend the company to friends and family. Amazon.com, Kohl’s, and Costco took the top spots, respectively. Additionally, the survey revealed that consumers don’t have a high degree of loyalty across many industries. Retailers score the highest level of repeat customers, while health insurance and TV service providers score the lowest.
What can those in the non-retail sector do to boost levels of loyalty? The answer is simple: customer service. It doesn’t take rocket science to ascertain that low loyalty levels are associated with health insurance providers because of their customer-hostile business models. However, there is no reason why those in the B2B, service, and other non-retail industries can’t capitalize on customer loyalty. The criterion listed in the Temkin study are a good starting point - why not ask yourself how your customers would rate you? What are you doing to make yourself indispensable and worthy of praise? Creating a “wow” experience for your clients is essential for not only keeping their business but capitalizing on their referral power.
For the full article and more details on the report, check it out here:
Three Businesses That Failed For Lack of Customer Service
There are a number of reasons why businesses fail; poor planning, inexperienced owners, market downturns – you get the idea. But a new article for Inside Tuscan Business.com suggests that one reason is showing up more than any other – bad customer service. The Better Business Bureau in Tucson, Arizona deals with a variety of customer complaints across all industries; but what these complaints have in common is that they are usually rooted in customer service.
While some situations leave customers so irate there is just no pleasing them, the majority can be satisfied if a business listens and engages with them appropriately. With the recent bankruptcy of the customer service- adverse Blockbuster, the number or business failures related to poor consumer relations warrants closer examination. While customer service is certainly known to have a bigger effect on small businesses, are larger businesses who fail to listen their customers becoming just as susceptible?
When a huge corporation like Blockbuster fails it is often seen as due to a lack of innovation or increased competition. Then again, what is seen as a “failure to adapt” could just as easily be expanded to ‘a failure to listen to what customers want’. Instead of taking note that people who watch movies increasingly liked to watch them online and/or without the inconvenience of having to leave their home, Blockbuster continued to offer the same basic service (including what many considered “exorbitant” late fees).
Customer service is not just about resolving complaints; it’s about analyzing customer feedback and listening to what the people who use your products want. Most CEO’s don’t deal with unhappy customers face to face, thus they either don’t clue in fast enough to changes in consumer behavior (or worse) they just don’t care. In any event, listening to your customers just got a whole lot more important.
Check out the full article (including a great chart of BBB statistics) here:
You Can’t Bottle CX
The internets were abuzz recently over the announcement that multimedia linchpin Adobe was rolling out yet another incarnation of its industry leading business software. With “Digital Enterprise Platform”, Adobe has added themselves to the growing list of businesses peddling customer experience technology, with a package that provides companies with a full suite of customer experience management (CEM) products. What differentiates this new software from previous offerings is that it is designed to make the multichannel customer experience a priority. In other words, Adobe is betting that digital marketers (not IT departments) will be the primary consumers.
With a rich and successful history in software design and multimedia channels, Adobe’s new customer communications solution should be taking the customer experience world by storm, right? Wrong. Anyone with a vested interest in CX (present company included) is fundamentally wary of products which promise to deliver “customer experience” in a neat little box. As Adobe’s vice president of enterprise marketing, Kevin Cochrane, stated ““Technology is the least important consideration on the entire journey. Those focused on technology alone are, frankly, going to lose. There is an organizational challenge around who is going to champion transformation so you need to have involvement across all points of interaction. “
A good customer experience is not something that can be programmed, and believing that a product is capable of engaging in a customer relationship is optimistic at best and delusional at worst. After all, the whole “magic” thing is something really only Disney can promise. Trying to bottle customer service is like trying to bottle air – it’s essentially intangible.
Check out the Q & A with Kevin below for more insight on Adobe’s platform and strategy: http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/7926-q-a-kevin-cochrane-of-adobe-on-customer-experience-management
You’re Being Watched: By Your Customers
We’re all familiar with those old detective movies; a tall man with a hushed but authoritative voice lurks in the shadows (his face artfully hidden by a hat and trench), fervently murmuring observations into a winding tape recorder. While mobsters are generally familiar with these types of individuals, businesses are not. In a struggling economy the importance of customer service grows exponentially as businesses compete for consumer dollars. As a result, numerous websites devoted to ‘policing’ customer experiences have cropped up and they specialize in separating the good guys from the bad ones. However (unlike our dapper detective), these consumer P.I.’s are literally everywhere.
Now we’re not talking some little old lady typing ten words a minute about how the price of beans went up at the supermarket again, these guys mean business. The Consumerist, RipOffReport.com, and My3Cents.com are but a few of the websites broadcasting bad (and in some cases ridiculous) customer experience stories. The people behind Consumerist are slick, humorous, and putting up dozens of posts every day. Businesses of all kinds need to take these sites seriously; because they are taking customer service to task (and hopefully bringing it to new heights in the process).
Having an unflattering post go up on any one of these sites is certainly not ideal, but it should be taken as an opportunity. Face it, no business runs perfectly 100% of the time (sometimes a bill will be incorrect or an item sent slightly damaged). Most customers understand that – it’s how a business handles the situation after the fact that makes a difference. So listen to your customers, take responsibility for your actions and turn mistakes into opportunities to win back loyalty. As long as you’re one of the good guys, you’ve got nothing to hide.
Check out virtual detectives at Consumerist here:
Why Should Christmas have all the Fun? Thank Your Customers on Thanksgiving
You love your customers, you really do. You send them cards after they make purchases, calendars every January, and bourbon every Christmas. Their business card sits in your wallet and thanks to your CRM you never miss a birthday. The good news is this means you are well on your way to building relationships with your customers. The bad news is, so is everybody else. Why not do something different and send valued clients a card for Thanksgiving? After all, that is the spirit of this turkey-fueled holiday. American and Canadian Thanksgiving provide an ample (and often missed) opportunity to stand out from the pack and let customers know just how grateful you are for their business.
“The Cycle of Gratitude” as it is referred to on E-Myth.com is an essential component of building business through reciprocity and one of the easiest ways to score referrals. “When you deliver your product or service “on time, every time exactly as promised” you create a customer experience that can turn a one-time customer into a life-long advocate. In short, you’ve nurtured a customer’s gratitude — and they’re likely to turn around and reward you with a referral”.
But the gratitude cycle shouldn’t stop with a referral if your real goal is to establish long-lasting customer relationships. You can keep the cycle going year round by thinking outside the box a little bit. Small gestures like an unexpected thank-you card score points with customers and increase the value of your customer experience. So this Thanksgiving weekend when you’re picking up your turkey and stuffing, grab a few thank you cards. It’s a small token of appreciation with big possibilities.
Read the full article here: