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Implementing a Robust Customer Reward Program


May 27, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” – Valeria Maltoni A customer reward program is a product or service loyalty program run by a … Continued

“The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” – Valeria Maltoni

A customer reward program is a product or service loyalty program run by a business enterprise. These programs are designed to attract customer attention, acquire new customers, and engage with customers at a deeper level. These programs are typically offered to frequent customers because and are meant to encourage more sales of a product or a service. Customer reward programs are of various types and typically offer free merchandise, reward points, shopping coupons, and advance previews of new products and services. Consider this: an airline that operates across multiple regions and different geographies may choose to reward frequent fliers with additional flying miles. Every hundred miles flown by a customer can translate into one point that entitles the customer to five miles of free flying. Once a sufficient number of points are allotted to a customer, the airline may offer a couple of free trips to said customer in exchange for the accumulated reward points. A robust customer reward program can therefore, be used to gain publicity by the said airline, and to forge a deeper and more meaningful relationship with frequently flying customers.

Points-based customer reward programs are the most common among modern enterprises. We have to bear in mind that a robust customer reward program is designed to lock in the customer into a certain product or service. This is significant because it helps to build customer retention in a market where acquiring new customers can be an expensive proposition for the business. Customer reward programs can also be viewed as an extension of the customer service protocols operated by a business enterprise. The special treatment, certain freebies, and the many discounts are all geared to serve the customer better through privileged treatment. We may consider the instance of a fast food chain that operates a customer reward program predicated on the customer dollars spent in its many stores. Every point gained by a customer can translate into a dollar and once fifty dollars have been credited to the customer’s account, the customer is entitled to a free meal of his or her choice. This simple points-based reward program has the potential to draw more paying customers to the fast food chain. In addition, customers that top the rewards program in every calendar quarter can figure in the news letter sent out by the chain to all its customers. Further, a certain number of points may allow the customer an opportunity to bring friends and family to the restaurant and enjoy special meals at a discounted rate. Therefore, a customer reward program should be consistently operated to achieve the desired effect.

An online retailer that operates a distinct business model should ideally craft its own version of a customer reward program. Online shopping has become common in most parts of the civilized world and therefore, such businesses deserve to reward their most frequent customers. The reward program may require interested customers to pay a certain annual fee in exchange for many benefits that attend their online shopping at the portal throughout the year. These benefits could include free shipping for all the product categories available for sale at the portal. Premium packaging, lower taxes, and priority processing also star as key benefits that accrue to customers that avail the customer reward program. The business case for such customer rewards is based on the fact that subscribers to the said program typically spend significantly higher monies at the online portal. Therefore, the online business values them as special customers and hence, the special treatment. The higher number of transactions from each privileged customer is sufficient to underline the business logic that justifies this reward program. We could say that this is a key instance of a robust customer reward program operated by an online business.

Co-branding is a different manifestation of a customer reward program. This approach does not hinge on a dollars and cents basis, but offers the customers an option to spend their money on similar businesses. Consider this: an automotive company can have a sub-division that deals in automotive tyres. This sub-division can announce and operate a customer reward program, wherein customers can avail a whole raft of automotive services (such as car washes, car servicing, car insurance, etc.) from select business partners that offer such services. The co-branding initiative is one example of offering discounted services to an automobile owner. The said businesses gain from the fact that the said automotive sub-division is sending a steady stream of customers to their doorstep. Meanwhile, customers are assured of superior and timely service standards, which translate into higher vehicle availability. This customer reward program can also lead to greater owner satisfaction and possibly, greater business volumes for the said enterprises.

Customer reward programs bring significant business benefits to the enterprises that operate these programs. A lot of information and data can be gathered from the expert operation of such a program. Customer demographics, preferences, complaints, and accolades can yield key insights into customer behaviour. These data points can be accumulated and assessed in the interests of creating future products and services. The said information can also be used to craft specific services for a particular customer demographic or for a particular region. Processing such information also helps a business to understand the disparities in customer spending in different regions. The root cause analysis can help to create insights into what works for a particular business, and what does not. This information can be used to re-set business strategies and business priorities, thereby gaining an edge on the market competition.

A business enterprise needs to create new goods and services and market these to its customers. The members of a customer reward program represent a target group for new product trials and new service tryouts. The feedback from such testing processes can be used to tweak and optimise the product or the service before these are launched in the public markets. A discounted rate can be attached to these products and services to entice more customers to enrol for the said tryouts. These actions enable the business enterprise to gain solid insights into new product development and aligning these efforts to market trends and customers demand. Therefore, the pilot testing of new products and services assumes fresh importance in the achievement of business goals.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined the various methods to build and operate a customer reward program. Every business should try to optimise these programs in line with the particular conditions that attend its industry. Retail, aviation, hospitality, manufacturing, and high technology are some of the business domains that can operate such customer reward programs. The ongoing participation of customers should be roundly encouraged and the business data emanating from these programs should be examined in the interests of serving the customer through a profitable business enterprise. The business should bear in mind that innovation and upgrades are the key planks that are central to customer reward programs. These programs also help to build customer confidence in a business enterprise, lock in long term customer dollars, help the business to flourish, and in the ultimate analysis, to dominate the competition.

 

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Developing Customer Friendly Policies


May 26, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“Service is the most powerful competitive advantage we have. Service is not a cost; it is an investment. It’s a growth engine for our company,” – Jim Bush Business enterprises need customers to stay in business and should therefore be … Continued

“Service is the most powerful competitive advantage we have. Service is not a cost; it is an investment. It’s a growth engine for our company,” – Jim Bush

Business enterprises need customers to stay in business and should therefore be friendly to all customers. This holds true for every business. Customer friendly policies should ideally be the cornerstone of every business enterprise. These policies send the signal that the business enterprise operates to benefit the customer, that the enterprise values customer satisfaction, and is working to widen its customer base. For instance, a wireless telecommunications service provider can create a policy that enables new customers to try its services for a limited period of time. Per the said policy, the customer can use the equipment, bandwidth, and air time of the service provider during said period. Should the customer be satisfied with his or her experience, they can continue to use the service. In case the customer chooses to withdraw, the service provider would not impose any termination fees or initiate any adverse action against the customers. Further, the service provider may choose to reimburse the call costs and the cost of the used equipment incurred by the company to the customers. We may say that this is a stellar example of a customer friendly policy, wherein the business enterprise is working to create goodwill for itself and legions of new customers.

Customer friendly policies should be fashioned keeping the customer’s benefit in mind. Consider this: a retail establishment that operates across multiple regions should encourage shoppers to consider its products and arrive at purchase decisions. The enterprise should also seek customer feedback and in case a customer is not happy with his purchases, he or she can seek a full refund upon returning the merchandise in question. Corporate history and case studies indicate that the majority of shoppers are unlikely to avail this policy, but the fact that the enterprise operates this policy is a big assurance to paying customers. The outcomes of such policy include higher customer confidence in the business, higher uptake of product inventory, a high margin of customer retention, and excellent scores in terms of public relations. All these factors represent emphatic wins for the business enterprise.

Developing customer friendly policies also means that the business should gear itself to serve the customer better. Internal processes and mechanisms should be put in place to ease the execution of such policies across the enterprise. This implies that any action of the customer that commences after the sale is completed does not meet a haphazard reaction. For instance, if a customer chooses to return an item or a piece of inventory, the back-end processes should be ready to receive the returned product and work to fully reimburse the customer. This is only possible when the business enterprise has put in place robust mechanisms to deal with such situations. Further, a retail customer may place a large order for a particular piece (or pieces) of merchandise. The business back-end should commit to a date and time of delivery of the said product(s), which should ideally match the customer’s convenience. We must note that such actions are possible only when the business has fully committed itself to anticipate every customer interaction or situation.

Acting on customer feedback and complaints is a fundamental aspect of developing customer friendly policies. Every business enterprise should keep a keen ear to the ground, and should listen to the voices of all stakeholders. This attribute of a business enterprise should ideally be predicated on face-to-face dealings between an authorized employee and the aggrieved customer. The employee should take care to present a courteous attitude and a friendly demeanour in order to win over the customer. Paying attention to the customer and recording the details of the complaint should be part of the interaction, following which, the executive should set in motion certain processes to remedy the situation. We must note that a customer-friendly outcome reflects positively on the business enterprise; therefore, this should be the first priority for every business executive.

Staff motivation remains an important aspect of creating and implementing customer friendly policies. The enterprise needs to realise that a motivated workforce is a precious business asset that can help the business to achieve its goals. Motivating staff persons is a way to achieve business outcomes consistently. This is because staff persons represent the public face of the enterprise and this face needs to be immaculate. These personnel often create the first impression upon a customer and therefore, they need to be trained and motivated to present a customer friendly face. The training needs to be ongoing so that the enterprise manages to impress upon all staffers the importance of being earnest. Staff members need to understand that they are the ambassadors of the business enterprise and that customer service should be their first priority while on the job. We should bear in mind that customer feedback often hinges on the customer’s experience of an interaction with staff members. Therefore, a smooth and efficient service experience should help the business to win and enhance mind share among customers.

The leadership team of the enterprise should also be trained to abide by customer friendly policies. Every business has its own compulsions and constraints, but when it comes to customers the business should move with alacrity. No customer is too small or too insignificant to merit attention. Every customer deserves attention and fair treatment; business leaders should abide by this dictum. This attitude should be actively encouraged and can then be cascaded into all levels of staffers that serve the organization. Customer service should become embedded in the corporate culture of the organization. Moreover, business leaders should be encouraged to interact with customers, listen to their stories, their complaints and their suggestions. Paying attention gets the job done and the information culled from such interactions can be compiled systematically. This is one of the ways an organization can attain customer delight and thereby, rightfully retain its market position.

A company’s policies need to be re-visited and re-invented at regular intervals in keeping with market trends and the evolving market landscape. These actions can help the company to remain a young organization that is aware of its priorities and its duties. Refurbishing existing policies, procedures, and processes should be an ongoing activity. The changes that have been made need to be documented and their efficacy should be assessed from time to time. In this context, it should be pointed out that an external consultant should be used to evaluate all changes. This exercise should provide an unbiased view which can be shared with the management team.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined the various means that can be employed to fashion customer friendly policies. These policies should be treated as living, breathing entities. The public face of the business should be friendly and amenable to feedback – once attained, the business should work to retain and enhance this impression. Every policy may not have an immediate payback, but it is important to keep working on such matters. The ground level execution of such policies should be flawless if the business is serious in terms of achieving the desired outcomes.

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Key Customer Service Skills and Strategies


May 25, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“To succeed in business you need to be original, but you also need to understand what your customers want,” — Richard Branson Every business enterprise needs to cater to the needs of its customers. To that end, the business should … Continued

“To succeed in business you need to be original, but you also need to understand what your customers want,” — Richard Branson

Every business enterprise needs to cater to the needs of its customers. To that end, the business should train its staff members in customer service skills and strategies. A positive outlook should be the first priority when it comes to serving the customer. We may assume that the customer has a complaint or a serious concern regarding a product or a service. The business should respond to this situation by engaging with the customer and assuring him or her of all the assistance it can provide to remedy the situation. Consider this: a showroom that sells cosmetics and beauty products hosts a hundred customers a day. Every customer may not make a purchase, but the business should use customer service skills and strategies to convert every visitor into a paying customer. We could say that every customer interaction should be infused with enthusiasm and positivity. The sales personnel should allow the customers to peruse the wares on display before making a choice. However, special attention should be paid to customers that complain, because this offers the business enterprise an opportunity to deepen the customer interaction. Additional products should be offered to said customer; the specific complaint should be examined in detail and thereafter, resolved with care. This may satisfy the customer and can translate into an emphatic win for the enterprise.

A detailed knowledge of the products and services is important for every customer facing executive. This can create an impression of professional competence on the part of the business and may serve to inform the customer about the many choices available to him or her. A customer interaction predicated on such knowledge can lead to fruitful business outcomes and can enhance the market reputation of said enterprise. The technical details of a product or a service should be mastered by every customer-facing business executive. Such knowledge can also help business executives in cross selling and up selling activities. These are important for the modern enterprise because the multiplicity of products and services should be marketed efficiently. We could say that every person on the payroll of the enterprise should make it a point to gain a deep knowledge about products and services. Periodic updates to the knowledge base are critical because these can help to maximize value for the clients by providing clear and complete information. Further, product knowledge also assumes importance because modern businesses operate in competitive markets and therefore, should exert themselves to attract and retain every customer.

The modern business enterprise should try to build a consistent track record of its interactions with various customers. This information is important because it can be used to train and inform staff members about human behaviour, the likes and dislikes of particular customers, and the various strategies that can be used to deal with customers. We could say that the data from prior customer interactions can be leveraged to educate corporate staff on a continuous basis. This initiative could also qualify to be used for on-the-job training modules to bring fresh recruits up to speed. The key human attributes of empathy, patience, and paying attention can be inculcated into all staff personnel through the use of such information. In addition, cross-functional skills must be encouraged to prevent the business from being restricted to silos. An executive should be skilled in multiple disciplines in the interests of serving the business enterprise. We could well say that customer interaction can be raised to the level of an art, provided the business chooses to invest systematically in such skill development programmes.

Empathy and patience are widely acknowledged to represent key customer service skills. These qualities need to be cultivated over a period of time because of their centrality to crafting a superior customer service experience. The staff persons should realize that even a solitary customer complaint poses a challenge to the business enterprise and needs to be treated delicately. In addition, the realization must include that a paying customer is entitled to his or her expectations and the business is duty-bound to fulfil its promises. Therefore, staff personnel have to listen carefully and analyse the complaint before they set in motion internal processes to resolve the situation. Every customer complaint may not be resolved immediately; therefore, the business enterprise should track the issue and work towards resolution within a reasonable time frame. This needs to be communicated to the customer in an effort to manage customer expectations. Subsequently, the customer may be polled for feedback and for his or her opinion regarding the outcome.

A seasoned business executive should have the ability to read customers. This skill ranks high among customer service skills and strategies. The customer’s body language, his or her choice of words, external appearance, countenance, etc. can be quickly assessed by an experienced customer service executive. We could say that this assessment helps to prepare the executive to deal with said customer. We must note that this skill can be developed and honed over time and must be wielded to deal effectively with any customer. The business executive should make it a point to accomplish this survey discreetly and use additional information that emerges from the subsequent conversation to solve the customer’s problem(s). We note that a case study could be developed to capture the interaction for future examination and analysis. This initiative can ensure that the particular details of an interesting interaction are preserved for posterity.

Conversational skills are important for business interactions; therefore, every customer-facing business executive should be trained in the craft of initiating and pursuing a meaningful conversation. A polite and respectful attitude can also help to set the tone for a business interaction. These qualities can help customers to form an impression that the business is interested in their problems and concerns. In addition, small talk can help to relieve tension and (any frustration) that may have built up in the customer. These soft skills can engage customers sufficiently so that they can relate their concerns about a product or a service. The interaction also has the ability to create confidence and support a rapport between the customer and the business; this can be critical in helping both the parties to arrive at a desired outcome. The positive impression created by a successful business interaction can pay long term dividends to the business enterprise in the form of enhanced customer mind share. We should note that this ranks as a significant achievement by any business.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed the various techniques that inform customer service skills and strategies. A corporate enterprise and its employees should invest effort to continuously upgrade these skills in the interests of achieving fine business outcomes. We could say that the enterprise should be able to lock in the customer through excellent service. These efforts can also help to expand the customer base, and win accolades for the business. We must bear in mind that a corporate reputation takes time and effort to be created. First rate customer service skills can help to burnish and sustain such reputations. An emphatic stamp of customer approval should work to the benefit of every business enterprise.

 

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Importance of a Customer-focused Website


May 24, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away,” – Doug Warner A customer-focused website is designed to allow the consumer to voice his or her concerns, feedback, and suggestions. … Continued

“In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away,” – Doug Warner

A customer-focused website is designed to allow the consumer to voice his or her concerns, feedback, and suggestions. This is an important metric when evaluating the design and architecture of a website because it enables two-way communication between the business enterprise and its many customers. The modern commercial enterprise can use all the information and feedback to validate its existence; an important source of such information lies in the feedback that a customer can offer in a bid to share his or her impressions. An open platform can be designed into the website in the form of a customer feedback page, or a brief questionnaire that interrogates visitors regarding their experience on the website. In addition, the company’s Internet presence can also bear links to its various handles on social media platforms; these links enable the customers to transmit their opinions and voices through social media. In essence, this attitude helps the business enterprise to create a customer-friendly image that can help it to enhance and grow its business reputation. We must bear in mind that a customer-focused website can also indicate the company’s seriousness of intent in terms of inviting and assessing customer feedback.

An intelligently designed customer focused website should prioritise the sharing of business information. For instance, the content on the website can highlight the benefits of using its products and services. The website should convey the tangible gains that accrue to the customer; such commercial messages should be accompanied by product views and customer testimonials. These actions can help to direct the entire end-user experience to a successful conclusion and may result in positive business outcomes. Products and services should be graded and segmented in tune with customer demography and preferences. The web design and navigation protocols should enable such segmentation. We could say that the online content, graphics, images, and navigation should guide the customer smoothly to arrive at the desired information. The outcomes of such design can include higher numbers of digital footfalls, customer recommendations, and greater interest in the website. In addition, the business should pose online questions designed to decipher the customer’s experience, encourage the sharing of feedback, and perhaps offer a points-based rating system to assess the end-user experience.

A customer-focused website should also make efforts to connect with the customer in terms of real world experience. Consider this: a retail chain that operates across multiple regions through brick-and-mortar shopping establishments can use its website to solicit customer feedback. This can be achieved by including the website address on the customer’s bill of receipt and by including a personal request to the customer to visit the corporate website. We could say that the said business enterprise is attempting to bridge the offline world and the online domain in an engineered attempt to harvest customer feedback. The customer could spend time perusing the said website and keying in his feedback, the high points of his experience at the retail destination, his queries, concerns, and suggestions. Such actions can be accomplished in the comfort of the customer’s home or using connected mobile devices. We note that every customer that undertakes these actions helps to inform the business enterprise about the customer’s thoughts and therefore imparts direction to the future developments in the business enterprise.

Further, a business may also attempt to retain and build customer interest by providing engaging content on its website. Great content has huge potential to bring back customers to a company’s Internet presence, thereby building mind share among customers. We must note that the content need not be directly connected to the said business enterprise; it can include great pieces of literature, outstanding photographs and images, pieces of digital music, notable instances of graphic art, a quiz for young customers, top rated customer testimonials, and general business news about the said enterprise. Regular updates to such content can convert occasional online visitors to regular business customers. However, the business should take care to update regularly, content in an attempt to capture the customer’s continued interest. The growing number of digital footfalls can help the enterprise to inform the customer’s mindscape, while relaying additional information about new and upgraded products and services. These actions can add up to an active, on-going dialogue between the customers and the business enterprise, and can work wonders for the commercial fortunes of the business.

Great web design can also be considered crucial for a customer-focused website. The business enterprise should employ top talent to design its website and its back-end mechanics. Every web-link should be validated and custom design templates can be used to create pleasing aesthetics. The corporate enterprise should take pride in its online presence; this demands that the website must be continuously monitored and evaluated on technical and functional parameters. This will create an indelible impression on the minds of all visitors. Design awards should be featured prominently on the front page of the website because these announce a stellar browsing experience to online visitors. The search field should be all-powerful on the website because customers use this field to navigate to the desired information. We could say that the search engine should be the beating heart of the website and should boast superior functionality. Further, responsive design and an optimal viewing experience should be guaranteed on both desktop and mobile platforms. To summarize, the website should be feted as a brand ambassador of the business enterprise.

Offering customers an opportunity to blog can be a great idea for a customer focused website. This can encourage customers to sign up for the said activity and speak their minds on a variety of topics. This is a clear instance of content generated by the customer and a great example of fostering a sense of community among online visitors. Such a sense of community is akin to creating an online discussion board (or an online forum); the content thus generated can be mined for significant information from customers. However, businesses would do well to hire a full time online regulator and moderator to monitor such activities, curate the best of such content, and flush out undesirable content. Chatbots can be featured on the website in an attempt to answer customer queries at any time of the day, at the customer’s convenience. Therefore, modern online technologies can be leveraged to fashion an outstanding customer service experience through corporate websites.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the various tools and techniques that can be leveraged by a business in its pursuit to create a customer focused website. We have to note that the enterprise should make the customer central in its efforts to conduct business. This attitude will then reflect in every sphere of business activity and may become second nature to all the moving parts that comprise the enterprise. The customer should ideally dominate the business landscape and this should reflect in the customer focused website at all times. The thoughts and impulses that precede the design of such websites should be nurtured with fresh information, customer feedback, and the latest trends that grace the online domain. It seems obvious then, that a company must do whatever it can to attract and retain customers – a good start would be a customer-focused website.

 

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Consistently Personalizing Customer Service


May 23, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“A customer service apology is stronger with a personal touch,” – Shep Hyken Customer service is one of the pivots on which modern business enterprises revolve. Serving the customer with a smile can be said to be the basic form … Continued

“A customer service apology is stronger with a personal touch,” – Shep Hyken

Customer service is one of the pivots on which modern business enterprises revolve. Serving the customer with a smile can be said to be the basic form of personalizing customer service. A business that is serious about itself and its customers should make such service a business priority. This is especially relevant in the service industry where the business and the customer often operate in close contact. The primary intent behind service personalization is to offer a custom service experience to every paying customer. Secondary intentions include the business imperative to widen the customer base, retain existing customers, create a signature business reputation, and develop a deeper rapport with business customers.

A business enterprise should seriously consider the downside of not personalizing customer service. Customers may not be pleased at the prospect of regularly encountering cookie-cutter service experiences and this may prompt a mass flight of customers to competing businesses. This situation could seriously dent business prospects and imperil the competitiveness quotient of the enterprise. Consider this: a mobile telecom services operator can choose to direct all customer complaints and problems to a call centre staffed with the operator’s business executives. The telephone-powered contact centre is the primary touch point of the business with its customers. A negative customer service experience is generated every time the call centre keeps customers on hold, or when an executive is not able to fully answer a customer’s queries and concerns. In addition, unfriendly and impolite customer service agents may cause consternation among customers and this can serve to sour the end-user experience of the paying customers. The word-of-mouth publicity generated from such negative experiences can drive customers to competing business enterprises and dent the corporate reputation of the said telecom service provider. Therefore, not personalizing customer service can exact a heavy price from any business enterprise.

Personalizing customer service can also signal intent to keep customers happy at all times. Every single customer represents revenues and sales to the business enterprise. Therefore, the business must actualise its staff and management cadre to serve the customers better. Businesses must bear in mind that we live and work in an era of multiple brands and competing business enterprises. The customer is aware of the many choices and his rights. Therefore, the said business must go out of its way to fashion consistently a noteworthy end-user experience by personalizing customer service. We may examine the hospitality industry to illustrate the point. Every hotel has a system that guests may use to wake up in the mornings. Usually, the wake-up call service plays automated messages to remind guests to start their day at a specific time. The service differentiation begins when the hotel chooses to deploy a human staff member to call the guest’s telephone and wish him or her a good morning – this experience can certainly delight the customer and may result in multiple customer wins. Such courteous gestures highlight the hotel’s concern for immaculate customer service and should win it plaudits in the hospitality industry.

Personalizing customer service also indicates that a business is keen to highlight the human face of doing business in a world that is being powered increasingly by automation technologies. The human touch can help to foster deep business relationships that will stand the test of time. The competition for customers is intense in modern times and a personalized service experience is one of the tools that a business can deploy to retain its customers. We have to bear in mind that this attitude should be a conscious decision among the management cadre, not an afterthought. In effect, there is no merit in bolting the stables after the horses have fled. A consistently executed customer service experience should be a watchword in every business enterprise.

The use of various electronic technologies can be used to achieve the corporate goal of personalizing customer service. Email addresses, cell phone numbers, personal identification papers, and full names of guests and their spouses can be stored in the IT systems of business enterprises. Technology can be used to record and preserve customer preferences without any effort on the part of the paying customer. In addition, efforts should be made to consistently add information regarding the likes and dislikes, the preferences and personal choices of each customer. These can be collated to develop a complete profile of each customer; such initiatives can be leveraged by the modern business enterprise to craft a unique service experience for every individual customer. In effect, the business can create a one-to-one relationship with the customer. When repeated consistently, these activities can multiply the effect of achieving customer delight. However, we must bear in mind that care should be taken not to infringe on the privacy rights of customers because this is a sensitive issue in many countries. Enterprises should endeavour to stay on the right side of the law of the land and request permission from guests before collecting personal information.

The evolution of business landscapes has wrought changes in every aspect of doing business. Personalizing customer service is important because the multiplicity of services offers exhaustive options to the modern customer. It must be borne in mind that most customers choose good-value-for-their-money options in day-to-day transactions. However, a fantastic customer service reputation also has immeasurable power to attract and retain customers. Companies that choose to deliver positive experiences to every customer tend to attract more and more business opportunities and therefore, exert an edge over their competitors. This could be one reason why management cadres in modern corporations include a chief customer experience officer. This position is expected to monitor and improve all the customer experiences that a business creates in every field of its operations. The officer is expected to impart direction in the creation of new standards of service, and attempt to meld customer service into the core business ethic.

Personalizing customer service should enable any business enterprise to create its own distinct identity. The ceaseless pursuit of such goals can enhance brand value and brand recall among customers, thereby unleashing multiple benefits that can help to raise the business above its competition. We must bear in mind that the whole process should begin in the mind of the business enterprise and the high service standards should percolate down to the lowest rungs of the business. Over time, said service attitude will become part of the corporate work ethic and can be executed without any special effort on the part of the business or its personnel.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the benefits of personalizing customer service. A happy customer can be counted as a priceless business asset that offers manifold returns, both tangible and intangible. The perfect business enterprise should ideally nurture its corporate culture and train its staff members to arrive at such service levels. Customer appreciation, customer loyalty, and customer retention will automatically follow these hallowed service standards. It is interesting to note that modern enterprises are following in the footsteps of basic commercial etiquette when they seek to personalize the customer service experience. Tradecraft down the ages has valued a smiling shopkeeper as the first step in the journey to achieve customer service in the true sense of the term.

 

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Importance of Empathetic Listening in Customer Service


May 22, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“The capability to listen at scale will define best in class organizations. It starts with a cultural shift away from a broadcast mindset to listening.  The ultimate objective is for the customer or employee to feel they were heard,”- Robert … Continued

“The capability to listen at scale will define best in class organizations. It starts with a cultural shift away from a broadcast mindset to listening.  The ultimate objective is for the customer or employee to feel they were heard,”- Robert Pace

Conversations represent the oldest form of human communication and continue to be relevant in the present day. Every domain – the personal, casual, and the transactional – are powered by conversation. Empathetic listening comprises an important part of every communication because it helps to process and understand the points of view of the different voices that are party to a conversation. A business should listen to the voice of the customer in every sense of the term – ensuring that empathetic listening is a inextricable part of customer service. The quality of human empathy can help to raise the levels of customer service to an art. Consider this: a customer service executive who operates via the telephone would connect to various customers in the course of normal business interactions.

Customers typically connect to a customer service executive when there is a requirement for clarifications regarding a product or a service or other routine queries. We can say that the attitude and the approach of the executive can make or mar the end-user experience. This stems from the fact that the customer service executive is a human being interacting with the customer, another human being. Both parties are required to converse clearly, so that the business case is defined and suitable, and remedial actions can be initiated if required. Customers would be more amenable to take on suggestions, if they can perceive empathetic listening on the part of the company through its representatives.

An active and empathetic listening attitude is required for a business to excel in its field of operations. We have to bear in mind that corporate management executives have a duty to perform consistently in the interests of serving the business enterprise. Customers of every hue are connected to the business and can offer various levels of feedback. Therefore, listening to the customer is one of the important pathways to achieve such goals. A better understanding of individual customer requirements and needs is crucial to achieving the desired levels of business performance. Every customer has the potential to trigger a re-think of the business enterprise; hence, each piece of customer feedback should be carefully considered, evaluated, and transmitted to the highest echelons of the business enterprise. In addition, a business should make a definite effort to decode the feedback because such an exercise can help the said business to obtain a clear picture of business operations, identify the drivers of business growth, and locate and remedy obstacles to such growth. These actions should ideally be on-going concerns every day of the week because they have the ability to shed new light on business operations in every region.

The modern business enterprise also needs to acknowledge that internal processes and business models are essentially constructs that have been put in place to enable commerce. These tools are used to generate and deliver business value to clients and customers alike. Customer contact points can enable conversations and interactions that can yield significant information about the efficacy of business operations. Every business should make it a point to link such feedback to its internal processes so that such processes can be refined and re-engineered to offer better value. Consider this: a modern automobile manufacturer sources thousands of components and automotive parts from dozens of suppliers and vendors. This is indeed a massive business operation that has hundreds of moving parts – all of which need to operate in concert for the business to deliver quality automobiles to the market. The core business enterprise needs to be in constant contact with the said suppliers and vendors. Empathetic listening to these entities is vital for the business so that the entire operation can proceed on an even keel. In case raw material prices witness volatility, the business enterprise should react swiftly and adjust certain parameters to enable smooth sailing. Therefore, we could say that an ear to the ground is essential in the interests of consistently delivering business value.

Empathetic listening to customers is also important because it helps enterprises to boost business outcomes. Paying keen attention to the voice of the customer enables businesses to create personalized product and customer service experiences. We may consider the case of regular customers frequenting a high-end luxury hospitality establishment such as a five-star hotel. During the course of regular interactions, the business managers of the said establishment can form a clear picture of the individual preferences of select clients. This information can be gleaned from conversations and the clients’ choice of products and services. The said establishment can choose to boost the availability of the preferred products and services, in addition to adding variety to its commercial fare. This active dialogue hinges on paying an attentive ear to the customer and valuing his or her inputs. The outcomes may be manifest in an enhanced client base, word of mouth publicity, priceless client endorsements, and market acclaim. In addition, the said business enterprise can use customer feedback to improve its service delivery processes and thus gain an edge on its competitors.

A business enterprise should use active listening skills to enhance and grow its business mandate. Ideas from customers, clients, suppliers, and vendors can be used to fashion new products and services that will enhance its market image, enable it to achieve higher sales, and generally prove itself a sensitive and responsible corporate citizen. These improvements can be created over time but the starting point remains paying attention to customer voices. Such an attitude is likely to be appreciated by the market and numerous stakeholders. In addition, customers that contribute ideas can be offered special treatment; the business outcomes of such actions can include winning customer loyalty and growing the customer base. Further, the business can pride itself on the fact that it operates as a 360-degree enterprise which values and acts upon every piece of feedback, both positive and negative.

Empathetic listening should be inculcated at all levels of business operations. This attitude should be central to every business interaction because it indicate that the business is serious about its operations, that it remains open to the idea of change, and that the business is receptive to evolving market trends. These signals also convey the business intent of serving the customer from every possible angle. A variety of instruments are available to the business that is interested in feedback: paper-based questionnaires that can be given to each customer, feedback mechanisms that are located at points of customer contact, informal conversations initiated by business managers, email, text messages, among others. The information gleaned from these interactions can help the business enterprise to arrive at significant decisions. In this context, we must bear in mind that positive feedback should be shared through both online and offline channels. This kind of action can enable a business to validate itself and perform at higher levels.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the various benefits that accrue from empathetic listening to customers. Every business organization should cultivate and promote this ability to listen intelligently and to profit from such actions. Empathetic listening to every customer should become part of corporate culture in the interests of achieving progress in terms of corporate social responsibility. We could say that the enterprise and its customers working in tandem can achieve any goal.

 

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Enhancing Customer Experience Management Strategy


May 21, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around,” – Steve Jobs Most corporate enterprises and modern day businesses operate in heavily regulated, competitive, and crowded markets across multiple geographies … Continued

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around,” – Steve Jobs

Most corporate enterprises and modern day businesses operate in heavily regulated, competitive, and crowded markets across multiple geographies in the present day. In addition to expanding the customer base, the foremost aims of the business enterprise include acquiring, servicing, and retaining customers. To achieve these ends, companies must make intelligent and sustained efforts to create deeper and more meaningful relationships with customers through the use of customer experience management strategies. These strategies prove their worth by helping companies gain deeper insights into customer preferences and behaviour. They also help to upgrade the customer service experience, reduce business costs, can help to enhance customer retention and loyalty, and promote long-term customer value.

A typical customer experience management strategy can be powered by both offline and online tools and services. Consider this: a white goods retail chain that operates in multiple locations and regions can consider deploying such strategies in the interests of enhancing its business and tackling market competition. The retail chain can take a decision to offer the latest white goods to customers at reduced prices, offer various schemes to buyback products from customers, can offer free home delivery options, track customer satisfaction through periodic service schemes, and generally work to enhance the customer experience at its store and flagship locations. These strategies can combine to offer a stellar end-user experience, thereby helping the enterprise to expand its customer base and win acclaim.

In terms of pursuing its business objectives in cyberspace, the said retail chain can engineer an active presence on social media platforms, the company website and its micro-sites. This approach enables the retail chain to maintain a 360-degree presence in the customer’s minds and thus enhance the business’s mind share. Customer interactions at the store and other brick-and-mortar locations can be personalized for each individual customer; this approach may yield a rich harvest in terms of accessing customer feedback and customer opinions. This information can be recorded, stored, and periodically updated in the backend of the retail chain’s information technology systems. The enterprise may choose to synchronise this data with information harvested from its online business operations. We could say that such synthesis would provide the business a significant advantage in crafting and managing a high-end customer experience.

Customer experience management strategies should be constantly tweaked, re-engineered, evaluated, and monitored in the interests of business stability and promoting innovation. The digital domain offers comprehensive scope to attain these objectives. We have to bear in mind that most customers and businesses have a valid presence in cyberspace, and this fact should be leveraged by all businesses. The online operations of a business enterprise offer highly granular data and information that can be reviewed at multiple levels in the business organization. Therefore, the mobile, web, and social media platforms can be utilized to offer genuine customer engagement experiences. We have to bear in mind that targeted actions are the ultimate objective in all customer engagement strategies; a starting point to that end can emerge in the identification of key factors that drive and consolidate customer loyalty. Similarly, customer complaints and suggestions should be treated with urgency in order to improve the end-user experience.

The primary business objective of customer retention could be considered a pivot in customer experience management strategies. The costs of customer acquisition are considerable in modern businesses and therefore, an enterprise must make every effort to retain customers in an attempt to justify the acquisition costs. This line of thought can be extended to actively pursuing market intelligence programmes in an effort to survey and examine the various inducements that are being offered to customers by commercial rivals. The said business needs to counter these offers in an effort to retain customers and reduce the scope for other metrics (such as customer attrition and customer complaints). We may say that the outcomes of such effort may include the achievement of the primary objective, customer retention. The secondary outcomes may include boosting customer loyalty because the customer may form a perception that the business takes care of all of his or her specific requirements. This can be counted as a significant win for the said business enterprise. In addition, we could say that the business has succeeded in creating a competent customer experience management strategy that has the potential to cast a long term impact on the business bottom line.

Every customer is a human being and so a business should work to execute flawless customer experiences. Therefore, customer insights can be viewed as a major avenue of boosting customer experience management strategies. A customer may have valuable information to offer to a business enterprise; the management cadre and the rank and file of the enterprise must acknowledge this and act upon it at all times. We may concede the fact that the viewpoint of the customer may not be in alignment with the business point of view, but that does not diminish the customer in any manner. The diversity of opinions should actuate businesses to seek customer feedback at every opportunity. The information culled from such interactions can be deemed priceless because it affords insights into customer mindsets. An intelligent business leader should leverage this information to create better customer experiences and to enhance business outcomes. We could say that customer insights can help a business to identify and define a problem before it becomes a business concern. Therefore, the point of view of the customer should gain precedence when a business is building a customer experience management strategy.

Stress is a negative outcome of living in the modern world. The impact of stress can corrode valuable relationships and can degrade business outcomes. Therefore, the modern business enterprise should work toward creating a stress-free interaction with the customer at all levels. The business should make it a priority to strike a balance between closing a sale to its customers and creating enough room for the customer to pursue his or her interests. For instance, a product showroom or a retail outlet should allow the customer his or her space to peruse the products on display; sales personnel should be required to create and maintain a distance so not to hurry the customer in order to close a sale. This approach will be marked as a positive attribute among customers and therefore, has the potential to widen the customer base. In addition, this approach may enhance brand appeal and may trigger a positive customer review. Further, we may note that discerning customer may value the absence of selling pressure as an evolved method of conducting business. We could say that these gestures add up to a big effect in terms of creating a unique customer experience.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have discussed the many means and methods of enhancing a customer experience management strategy. Every business must make it a point to refine and adapt such strategies at periodic intervals; this should be an active, ongoing project because customers should not be taken for granted. In addition, every business should reduce the scope for inadvertent errors by presenting a unified face to that most important business stakeholder – the customer.

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Using Real Customer Photos for Business Growth


May 20, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” – Anonymous Most pictures and images are creations of an artist or the outcome of an artistic or commercial pursuit and hold a special place in the world of communications. A business enterprise … Continued

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” – Anonymous

Most pictures and images are creations of an artist or the outcome of an artistic or commercial pursuit and hold a special place in the world of communications. A business enterprise can communicate with its customers through various means and these include photos, images, and pictures. Many forms of business communication use stock photos and stock images; these can be used in brochures, flyers, print and video advertisements, billboards, banner ads, among others. However, some enterprises may consider using real customer photos in their advertising and publicity campaigns. The end-products of such initiatives may represent landmarks in the field of creative communications. We must appreciate the fact that the thought process that incubates such an outcome stems from the intent to create an outstanding communication premised on real world customers.

A customer photograph placed in an advertising campaign essentially elevates the customer to the level of a brand ambassador. The said customer may be a workaday citizen that was impressed by a certain product or service. The customer may have offered fantastic feedback to the business, and this may have spurred the business decision to use the customer’s image in future campaigns. Introducing the customer through a brief message to real world audiences may be said to demonstrate business confidence; the customer’s words that highlight the attributes of a product or service comprise the real message in the communication. We must note that the decision to feature a real customer’s image in the advertisement (or publicity campaign) should ideally be taken after seeking the assent of the said customer.

The primary motive behind the said campaign can be attributed both to commercial requirements and the use of creative license. The advertisement agency or the ad maker may take the decision to feature a real customer because his or her words have the potential to fashion a sharp commercial message. The sub-text in the said communication is trust; we should bear in mind that customers tend to trust other customers and such a communication may be crafted to achieve just that effect. Further, the bottom line of any business communication lies in spurring business growth; therefore, any endorsement by a fellow customer (or a high-profile celebrity, for that matter) seeks to boost the commercial fortunes of a business enterprise.

The use of a real customer photo can also be viewed an extension of a product endorsement that spreads by word of mouth. This brand of publicity has been acknowledged to be one of the most effective forms of business communication – because, word of mouth publicity essentially boils down to customers speaking to prospective customers. This kind of publicity effectively operates behind the scenes; therefore, using real customer photos can be viewed as an attempt to elevate the conversation into the public domain. We should also make a note of the fact that in this age of the mobile Internet, a real customer endorsement may replicate itself across social media platforms. This bears the potential for the said advertisement to generate returns far beyond what has been anticipated. In effect, the customer’s photo bears the stamp of authenticity and may work wonders for the product or service being advertised!

In addition, we must consider the fact that the visage of a visually attractive (or photogenic) customer has the potential to attract massive media attention. The business that uses the said image can gain a manifold return on its investment because the real customer does not charge a humongous fee that is common to most celebrity endorsements. Therefore, the business value of the said advertisement lies beyond comprehension in terms of the generated returns. Further, a successful media campaign that hinges on real customer photos can trigger a ripple effect in the advertising and media publicity industry. However, we must admit that such outcomes lie in the realm of unintended consequences.

The use of real customer images can also be viewed as an attempt to connect to specific demographics among the audience. We have to bear in mind that not every product can be sold by unleashing flashy celebrity endorsements. Consider this: a manufacturer of adult diapers may choose to feature images of a real customer in their print campaign. We have to note that this particular market is not huge in most geographies but the manufacturer needs advertisements and publicity to introduce and sustain the product in the market. The marketing budget may be limited keeping in mind the specific demographics being targeted. In such a situation, the use of a real customer’s photo and product endorsement may offer the best way forward. The targeted audience for the said product may not be swayed by marketing gimmickry and therefore, the use of a real customer photo and endorsement may be the perfect vehicle to transmit the intended message. This illustration of the power of real customer images is an apt depiction of a carefully thought through marketing campaign.

Early adopters of a product or service can be chosen to feature in advertisements that depict real customer photos. For instance, a successful brand of detergent can choose to look back in time and feature early adopters of the product in devising future marketing campaigns. The manufacturers of the said product can decide to take a step back from the current market and feature vintage customers that have stayed with said detergent. The use of photos of such real customers can send a ringing endorsement message in a market that is crowded with various brands of detergents. We could say that such an advertisement, when crafted competently, can stand out among similar other communications. The said advertisement (featuring real customer photos) can send a layered message to audiences; these messages include the creation of an impression that the detergent manufacturer values its customers, that its product quality has remained consistent over time, and that the product continues to offer a genuine value proposition to all customers. This nuanced communication has the power to win new customers, thereby expanding the business base of the said enterprise. The creative aspect of the said advertisement is also significant, because it indicates out of the box thinking on the part of the agency that crafted the message.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have outlined the various uses and outcomes that stem from an advertising strategy that hinges on using real customer photos. We must bear in mind that the crux of a business communication should be lucid and sans ambiguity. The use of a real customer photo conveys a sense of majesty that is devoid of commercial gimmicks. In effect, the business and its customer(s) have merged to fashion an outstanding communication that has vast potential to win over new customers, pique the market’s curiosity, and send a steadfast message. These advertisements must be conceived and thought through from every possible angle if they are to create the desired effect. The creation of such messages may spark a trend in the advertisement and communications industry, a trend that may eschew celebrity glitz and chooses to communicate with customers on a different plane. Interesting offshoots of such creativity may spring forth and may win creative design awards, while expanding the customer base and spurring business growth.

 

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Effect of Negative SEO on Customers


May 19, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“The biggest difference to SEO these days is now it’s more valuable to remove links rather than build them,” – Scott McLay The modern business enterprise needs every tailwind it can get to thrive and move ahead of the competition. … Continued

“The biggest difference to SEO these days is now it’s more valuable to remove links rather than build them,” – Scott McLay

The modern business enterprise needs every tailwind it can get to thrive and move ahead of the competition. Management personnel of top calibre, investor meetings, constructing remarkable customer experiences, releasing new products and services, favourable government policy environments, are among the positive inputs that can steadily enable a business enterprise. In addition, businesses can draw support from the application of online technologies; these include search engine management, a distinctive website, and an outstanding presence on multiple social media platforms. The techniques and activities outlined above are designed to attract customers, expand the customer base, and to sustain business and investor confidence.

However, negative SEO has emerged as a key challenge for the modern business enterprise. Manipulative Internet-based links can be attached to an online business with the intent to lower the search engine ranking of the website. Negative SEO can be said to be part of business competition, commercial rivalry, or may be viewed as examples of plain malice. When negative SEO campaigns succeed in their stated objective, a business enterprise can lose customers and may have to witness plummeting ratings in terms of search engine rankings. Consequently, the customers of the said business may be severely impacted because they may have to seek alternative means to fulfil their requirements. The effect of negative SEO also extends to the creation of a misplaced impression that the said business has lost credibility, or may be working to wind down its operations. These developments may affect the average customer and therefore, the said business needs to be vigilant to such online mishaps.

Active online customers may revise their opinion of a business in the aftermath of a negative SEO attack. This revision can be said to be part of the human reaction to such developments. We must note that certain extreme forms of online reaction may include negative reviews penned by the said customers. This means that a once-thriving commercial relationship has to bear the vagaries of fickle customer reactions. The effect of negative SEO on customers could also reverse years of painstaking effort to gather and retain customers by an online business. All the said effort stands the risk of unravelling if the business is not careful about its online presence. Inadvertent, but negative reviews by customers can multiply in the online world and cause incalculable losses to the business enterprise.

The effect of negative SEO on customers can include a loss of customer trust and goodwill; these can be disastrous for a business. The stated attributes have to be built up and consolidated over time through steady effort and expert management. However, customers may choose to take their business elsewhere when they discover that search engine rankings of a particular brand and business have dipped precipitously. This situation may create the impression that other business enterprises have established a reputation and this point may mark the starting point of customer migration and the steady erosion of business confidence in the enterprise. This also means that the affected business may not find new customers until such time when the business starts to re-establish its business reputation.

Negative SEO can also spark a re-evaluation of the affected business in the minds of customers. We have to bear in mind that the average customer may not be aware of the mechanics that can be used to distort or misrepresent search engine rankings. When we consider the old adage that states, “Seeing is believing” negative SEO can exert long-term impacts on business viability and business reputation. A customer that is not sure about the ability of a business enterprise to deliver on its promises can quickly start searching for other online options. Further, investor confidence in a business can be shaken in the aftermath of negative SEO attacks. Various stakeholders may raise questions to the management and board of the said business. In such a situation, it is important for a business enterprise to initiate remedial action while opening lines of direct communication with its various stakeholders. Further, the enterprise should make the effort to probe the exact chain of events that led to the negative SEO attack with the intent to fortify its online defences to arrest any recurrence.

The disruptive effects of negative SEO on customers can include calls for management change by empowered customers. In such a situation, a business may face challenges from various segments of stakeholders. Investors, in particular, may be concerned that that are not receiving an optimal return for their money. This can stoke dissent in board meetings, in the general media, and in special sessions wherein the company management meets interested stakeholders. The impact of such events on business reputations aside, regular business processes, and business operations may be disrupted, therefore affecting the bottom line. We have to consider the fact that investors may voice genuine concerns about a business that is unable to defend its reputation and existence on the Internet; such concerns may question the competence of the management personnel and the ability of the board of directors to steward the business through changing times. We also have to consider the real possibility that stock markets may react by reducing the prices of common stock floated by the said business. These instances outline the widely felt effects of negative SEO on customers.

In addition to shaking investor confidence and marring the public image of a business enterprise, the effects of negative SEO may include a re-thinking of search-engine optimisation technologies by major online search engines. This effect may not affect the customer in the short-term because re-engineering the concept of search engine rankings may not be achieved overnight. The required level of overhaul in major Internet technologies may demand the participation of all players operating in the search engine business. However, common ground may take time to be reached and then re-engineering may commence. Thoughts and ideas from many stakeholders and interested parties have to be considered during the said process. The technical feasibility of implementing these in the Wold Wide Web should also be considered before arriving at a final decision. However, we have to concede that such possibilities may appear remote now, but then we have to bear in mind that no situation, however nebulous, must be totally discounted.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have considered the various effects that may be cast on customers and other stakeholders by negative SEO attacks. The various scenarios and outcomes of manipulative SEO operations must be clearly borne in mind by every business that values its online operations. A business enterprise primarily exists to serve its customers and other stakeholders; therefore, the business must take adequate safeguards to protect its reputation and its operations. Negative SEO attacks can attract negative publicity and therefore should be guarded against at all times. Business operations have to be closely monitored every day because such actions have the ability to nip malice in the bud. Customers can be won over and retained only through healthy and vigilant business practices. Every customer has the ability to raise the business to the next level. Every aspiring business owner and business operator should bear these thoughts in mind.

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Taking Responsibility for Customer Success


May 18, 2017 0 comments Customer Service

“You’re not perfect. You may not have all the features, but you can inspire customer loyalty (retention) by aggressively supporting customer success. If they love working with you, and they feel like you’re invested in their success, they will commit … Continued

“You’re not perfect. You may not have all the features, but you can inspire customer loyalty (retention) by aggressively supporting customer success. If they love working with you, and they feel like you’re invested in their success, they will commit for the long-term,” – Mitch MacFarlane

Driving customer success has become an important metric for business enterprises operating in the modern world. Customer success has a real world impact on business revenues because it reduces the high rates of customer churn. Additional benefits include lower business expenses in terms of acquiring new customers, an opportunity to improve existing products and services through the use of customer feedback, a chance to cultivate brand ambassadors, and to grow customer loyalty. We should note that happy customers represent a long-term business asset. These are important because they may help to generate fresh leads for the business through referrals and advocacy.

An enterprise that is interested in doing business in the long term has to establish solid credibility with all stakeholders. This can be achieved when the enterprise establishes a consistent record of customer success. Consider this: a software firm that helps its clients to manage their business in an information-driven world should make customer success a watchword and make it a part of its corporate mission. The said firm can choose to assign a specified technical expert to deal with its clients business. The technical expert can help the client to use the software company’s products optimally. Such an initiative can assure the client of ongoing, domain-specific expert support in its own business operations. The technical expert from the software maker can also help the client to assess his or her business requirements and periodically carry out an assessment of the progress achieved so far. In addition, annual reviews can be undertaken to identify the scope of improvements and to assess any recommendations.

Customer success can also hinge on corporate ethics. An enterprise can choose to closely identify itself with its customers. This means that the said enterprise should modify and align certain internal processes with the customer’s business. We could say that this implies that the enterprise should mirror some of the processes that operate at the heart of the client’s business. These actions should be initiated at the start of client engagement, in a bid to assure the client that the business service provider is serious about the client’s success. The outcomes of such actions can include scenarios wherein, roadblocks can be identified and rectified before they become stumbling blocks in the client’s business. The major outcomes of such collaboration with the client can lower unpredictability in a business or process, the creation of greater value for the business partners, shorter sales cycles and higher conversion rates for the business enterprise.

The significance of customer success also hinges on the fact that successful instances of such actions can be a force multiplier for businesses. The business outcomes of customer success initiatives can be transmitted by happy clients. These messages act as envoys and ambassadors of the enterprise that has managed to craft multiple customer success stories. These instances can be documented by the said enterprise and used as materials during pre-sales pitches to prospective customers. The data and the client names may have to be obscured in the interests of client confidentiality, but the facts of the matter can be used by senior sales and pre-sales personnel to fashion a compelling business case. The real-world demonstration of the core commitment to client success can win the enterprise new customers, while burnishing its corporate reputation and credentials at the same time.

Business executives that have been assigned to ensure customer success should track the progress of every customer engagement. This vigilance should be in the interests of crafting meaningful corporate interventions, while leveraging the experience of past customer success stories. A new client can be taken through the extensive scope of addressing customer success requirements; this can proceed along the lines of building a narrative that outlines past customer success engagements and the stellar outcomes that were achieved. These actions can help to fully engage a new customer and demonstrate the business benefits that may follow a full-fledged engagement exercise. The paradigm of customer success can also help to enlighten prospective clients on the past results and outline the possible future outcomes.

The efficacy and effectiveness of customer success can be measured in real world terms through customer retention, customer growth, and customer advocacy. We have to note that customer advocacy is something that emerges from a having a consistent track record of customers success. This metric cannot be quantified because it is akin to customer goodwill, which remains a business intangible. However, customer advocacy can be counted as a high-end business outcome that manifests itself when a customer chooses to be an ambassador on his or her own volition. This signals that the customer has had a significant number of interactions with a business enterprise and has chosen to recommend the business’s product or service to other customers. In this context, it is important to remember that a customer testimonial remains a priceless asset for any business. We could say that every business enterprise or brand that seriously pursues customer success should ultimately convert its customers to brand or business advocates.

A business that takes customer success seriously is likely to outshine its competition in the long run. A business perspective driven by customer success should help the enterprise to discover and identify business drivers that boost a desirable business outcome. These driving factors should be carefully assessed for the impact they have on the customer’s business and the customer’s bottom line. This information can be shared with the customer on a consistent basis and should help to expedite customer success. We have to note that such sharing of information is beneficial to both parties because modern businesses operate in an information-driven environment. Further, a sharp focus on achieving customer success can help the business enterprise to reduce investments by aligning goals that operate across multiple functions. When creating value for the customer becomes a common objective, the said business enterprise can refine its operations to become more efficient and more effective.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined the benefits that accrue from operating a business driven by a customer success perspective. As with every modern business process, business enterprises have to invest in collecting feedback and data from clients. This information is critical in evaluating the efficacy of current business strategies and fashioning future policies to drive the business enterprise. The feedback and data can also be used to refine business perspectives, upgrade staff training processes, and generally inform every undercurrent that pulsates in the business enterprise. Customer success need not be a mantra that emanates from the ranks of corporate management; it should be used to define every aspect of the business enterprise every day of the week. Business operatives assigned to customer success functions should be passionate about serving customers, should have exact domain knowledge, have good listening skills, and must be relationship builders that excel in conflict resolution. These attributes can help the operatives to nurture and build customer success stories from day one of client engagement.

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