Today’s Toughest Marketing Challenge is Not Achieving Customer Satisfaction!

Customer satisfaction doesn’t last as long as it used to.

We’ve all become extremely demanding, thanks to constant new offers of innovation and novelty.

Today, we want things better, faster and sometimes cheaper as well. And customer satisfaction is becoming insufficient to drive growth alone. Companies need to deliver more, a lot more!

I was recently in the US, and as seems to be the norm these days, the hotel in which I stayed asked me to rate my stay afterwards. I completed their form, giving only four and five-star ratings, as I had been very satisfied with my visit, the hotel room, the staff and their services. Imagine my surprise, therefore when I got the following email a day or so after submitting my review:

“Thank you for taking the time to complete our online survey regarding your recent stay at our hotel.

On behalf of our entire team, I would like to apologize for failing to exceed your expectations. Your satisfaction is important to us and we will be using the feedback you provided to make improvements to ensure we offer an exceptional experience for our guests in the future.

I hope that you will consider staying with us again so that we can have another chance to provide you with a superior experience.”

Shocking mail, isn’t it? To think that a Hotel would apologise for not exceeding my expectations!

I believe that is exactly why they get a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor. For them, customer satisfaction is not enough; they want their guests to be enchanted, enthralled, and excited, so a return visit is a “no-brainer”; no other hotel choice would make sense!

So I have a question for you: How do you treat your own customers? Do you do just enough to satisfy them, or do you consistently look to exceed their expectations?

If you are a regular reader here – and I’d love to know why if you’re not, so I can do better in the future – you will know that I often talk about “surprising” and “delighting” our customers. These are not hollow words; there’s a very real reason why I use them. The reason is that our customers may be satisfied, but they will never stay satisfied for long.

The above example is one way that the hotel staff ensures they have enough time to correct whatever is not a “superior experience,” as they term their own desired service level, and to continue to offer total customer satisfaction.

 

Examples of Brands Going Beyond Customer Satisfaction

Here are a few examples of other companies that go above and beyond in terms of their own customer service. I hope they inspire you to do the same and to aspire to exceed customer satisfaction whenever and wherever you can.

Coming back to the title of this post, I hope you now agree that satisfaction is no longer sufficient to attract and keep your customers.

It’s time to step up your game to aim Click to continue reading

The 6 Best Ways to Show you Respect Your Customers

I was recently asked to speak about how to build relationships with clients, in this case for a realtor association. In preparing for the interview, I got to thinking about customer privacy and how important it is to build a mutually beneficial relationship to respect customers.

Customers don’t want to be automatically segmented and followed as they go about the web, viewing different sites. An article on Business2Community by Owen Ray says that:

The tracking cookie is crumbling. Smart cookie-blocking technology led by Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) now block third-party cookies by default, and even Google’s Chrome will soon get controls that let consumers block cookies.”

If you want to understand more about the topic of cookies, I highly recommend this two-part article.

Companies that are truly customer centric know that it is important to build a mutually beneficial relationship where there is something for both parties in exchanging information and services. Many businesses ask far too much of their customers, with little if anything in return. I believe this is one of the major reasons customers today are becoming sensitive to what and to whom they give information about their interests, habits, needs and wishes. And why cookies are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

I, therefore, thought it was useful to review the major points to keep in mind when a business wants to collect information about its customers in order to offer products and services that better meet their wants and desires.

 

1. Ask Permission to Gather Information

This should be a no-brainer and yet I still find myself on lists to which I didn’t intentionally, if at all, subscribe! You too?

Whether you are connecting with your customers by mail, phone, email or the web, you must first request permission to ask any questions and gather the information you are looking for.

Not only should you ask for their consent if you are not in direct personal contact, but you should also double-check that permission when connecting via email or the web. You have to ensure that the agreement has been given by your customers and that they are still ready to provide the information.

Being attentive to privacy when starting to build a relationship is vital and shows that you respect your customers.

This also means asking them to confirm their consent not once, but twice. Double opt-in, as it is known, ensures that your customer is correctly identified and that they have indeed agreed to provide or receive information or to be put on your mailing list.

Far too often, I see requests where permission is encouraged by using colourful buttons to click, or an implied criticism if you don’t, with phrases such as  “No, I have enough sales” or “No, I don’t want to save money”.

 

2. There Must be Mutual Benefit

When your customer has agreed to provide information, you need to thank them immediately. This can be as simple as … Click to continue reading

The 23 Keys to Creating Raving Fans Part 2

This is the second part of “The 23 Keys to Creating Raving Fans” post by Alan Hale from CMG (Consight™ Marketing Group) in Chicago. Don’t forget that you can download the full white paper using the link at the bottom of this post.


In addition to using NPS, we also like to use other diagnostic questions to see how we can improve. In general, it is critical to get the importance level of each function as well as our performance score. If the customer is willing to discuss the competition, the insight will be valuable in how you compare to the competition as well as to the best in class vendor. They also will give you specific actions to improve.

 

The Customer Loyalty Wheel

The following is how we look at customer satisfaction, loyalty and creating and Raving Fans.

It all begins with the trust and alignment and ends in creating Raving Fans.

 

8. A few criteria are explained in further detail.

Trust. If the supplier continually breaks promises they have made, there is no trust. The relationship will not deepen, and in fact might eventually be terminated.

Quality. Quality is an ante to play the game. If your product does not perform according to your specifications or breaks down too often, the account will find another supplier. We had a client who moved their production overseas to reduce costs and increase margins. The quality was very poor and the product frequently broke. The client could not understand why they were losing business!

Risk. Pre-sale, it is important to reduce or minimize the risk factor so the customer is more likely to buy. When you buy the wrong toothpaste at home, your family might be disappointed. When you buy the wrong CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system at work, you could be fired. When you sell a product or service new to the market, find out how to minimize risk. This could be having someone on site, providing results from an independent lab, or showing a list of positive testimonials from well- known companies.

Be easy to do business with. Don’t be so difficult to deal with. Exchange the defective product, have customer service solve the problem, issue accurate invoices. Train customer service, give them the power to make decisions up to a certain level. Everything being equal, a customer would rather give business to someone who is easy to do business with. Conversely, if you are 10% of their purchases and 50% of their problems, expect to be terminated. Don’t be a PITA (a pain in the arse). Everyone has problems. Make it easy to resolve. There is research which states customers are more satisfied when a vendor heroically solves a problem versus having no problem at all. We recommend you do not try to game the system i.e. by making artificial problems you know you can heroically resolve.

Be responsive and proactive in communications. We will give … Click to continue reading

The 23 Keys to Creating Raving Fans Part 1

This week we have another guest post from Alan Hale of CMG (Consight™ Marketing Group) in Chicago. Exceptionally, I am publishing it as two separate posts because its length and value deserve the detail and effort he has put into it.


I have been fortunate to have managed over 250 voice of the customer projects in B2B over the last four decades, with over 50 engagements on customer satisfaction and loyalty. These projects were across a wide variety of industries.
Which weight machines to develop the quadriceps? proper hack squat form hotel du palais (weight room / cardiotraining room), biarritz (64200) – pyrénées-atlantiques.
During this time, I have seen some great successes and some tragic failures in trying to make customers Raving Fans. Based on this experience, I wanted to share some best-in-class insights on how to make your existing customers Raving Fans.

According to industry research, acquiring a new customer is 5 to 7 times more costly than keeping your existing customers, which is why you need to concentrate on keeping your customers and making them Raving Fans.  While customer acquisition is indeed important, so is holding on to your customers and making them Raving Fans.

There is a lot of information on the media and LinkedIn about customer acquisition such as website development, SEO, ad words, effective selling and phone calling etc. Very little has been written on keeping and serving existing customers. Other industry research states reasons why accounts churn. Very seldom is the reason for defection price, no matter what the sales reps tell you. It is a breakdown in account service, the account is not being serviced at a level of their expectations.

First, let’s define a Raving Fan. The term was coined by Ken Blanchard in a book called, Raving Fans published in 1993. A Raving Fan is a customer, who is excited about your product, service or solution. Think of Apple and Tesla. These companies have waiting lists for products and sometimes have long waiting lines for a new product. They are your brand advocates and are an extension of your brand. The characteristics of Raving Fans are as follows:

  1. They are less likely to churn to a competitor
  2. They are extremely loyal
  3. They will buy more i.e. you have a higher wallet share
  4. They are more likely to buy new products, services or solutions offered in the future
  5. They are usually (not always) less price-sensitive and therefore more profitable
  6. They may give insight on possible new products, services or solutions to introduce
  7. They may refer you to other friends and colleagues and/or provide testimonials

Most of this discussion is applicable to both B2C and B2B; with the exception of the 80/20 rule which is explained later. The following discusses the issues and hurdles in creating Raving Fans.

1. Senior Management Paradigms and Expectations. Senior management has two dangerous paradigms. The first paradigm is “we know what our customers want. After all we have been doing this for many … Click to continue reading

Customer Centricity is Today’s Business Disruptor (Insights are its Foundation)

I recently returned from a speaking invitation in Las Vegas. It was an incredible Symposium run by Sitecore, and I was blown away by the importance placed on customer-centricity during the whole event!

From the opening keynote by Sitecore’s CEO Mark Frost to the second-day keynote by Kirsten Newbold-Knipp from Gartner, everyone in this tech and data-heavy conference understood that data is only as good as the use you put on it. Do you?

We are all excited by the wealth of information available to us about our customers, from the IoT as well as people’s behaviour on the internet. In fact, data gathering is no longer an issue; it is its management, analysis and, above all, understanding to turn it into actionable insights that is today’s challenge.

I believe that the reason most organisations today are drowning in data and thirsting for insights, as I am often quoted as saying, is because they are more excited by data than people.

“Organisations are drowning in data and thirsting for insights”

And yet data usually comes from people and their acts and is analysed by people, so that businesses can have more impact on their customers’ attitudes and behaviours. It is, therefore, vital to turn that wealth of information into actionable insights. That’s why I want to share my 7-step process for doing just that with you.

I call it Catsight™, and the acronym always causes a few giggles, as I’m sure you can imagine. After all, business is a serious topic, which is why I try to find ways for us all to find reasons to laugh in all this seriousness.

I chose the name Catsight™ because I thought it is memorable and has a serious relevance to what insight developers do.

Cats have an acute vision, particularly in the dark. They are good at listening because their ears turn 180 degrees. They are highly sensitive – just ask an owner how their cat reacts when they are sad or ill.

Seeing in the dark, listening skills, sensitivity and empathy for the customer are essential skills for all insight developers.

So here are my seven steps to actionable insight development. Note that information gathering is only step #6!

If you react to business questions immediately by running a market research project, please read on. It could save you a lot of money and time!

Using my method, you only start spending money on running a survey in step six – and only if you have identified a gap in your knowledge of the situation. Many organisations don’t know what they already know and what is already available within the company that they are unaware of.

This 7-step process will save you money because you will run less research AND make better use of all the information already available within the organisation. That’s an immediate improvement in the ROI of your information gathering.

C = Category

Whenever you want to develop insight, the first task is to decide on the category … Click to continue reading

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