Actioning Customer Feedback: The Secret to Turning Difficult Customers into Loyal Advocates

Difficult customers!

Every business has them, and no one likes to get customer feedback that is challenging to handle. So what’s the secret to turning difficult customers into loyal advocates?

The most important thing to remember is not to think of customers as difficult but merely as angry, frustrated or disappointed with the product or service they bought from us.

You may never have considered this, but customer complaints are actually a gift! Research shows that for every customer who complains, there are 20 or more who don’t complain and just switch to your competitor!

Wouldn’t you prefer to have the chance to retain their loyalty? That’s why you should do everything possible to respond quickly and positively to every complaint.

 

The Gift of Customer Complaints

When a customer reaches out with a complaint, they are offering you the chance to improve and strengthen your business in several ways:

  1. You get the chance to put things right and make them happy.
  2. You get the chance to stop them churning/leaving for the competition.
  3. You get the chance to delight them so they share their experience with others and build your positive image.

Let’s look at these in more detail, using recent examples to demonstrate best practices:

Correcting Mistakes:

  • Netflix: Netflix is known for actively monitoring customer complaints and using advanced data analytics to identify and correct issues. When they encountered streaming problems in the past, they quickly addressed them by upgrading their infrastructure, leading to improved service quality. This is a great example of exceeding the customer’s expectations, creating even greater delight.
  • Toyota: Toyota has a history of addressing product quality concerns promptly. In the case of the 2010 recall, due to accelerator pedal issues, Toyota swiftly communicated with affected customers, provided fixes, and introduced enhanced safety measures.
  • Samsung: Samsung’s handling of the Galaxy Note 7 battery issue is another prime example. They recalled and replaced the faulty devices, prioritizing customer safety and satisfaction. This transparent and rapid response helped mitigate the impact on their brand reputation.

Customers expect you to put things right. They don’t expect more than that in most cases. So going above and beyond will immediately change a negative into a positive event that the customer will share with their friends and family.

 

Preventing Churn:

  • Comcast: Comcast has made efforts to reduce customer churn by offering flexible plans and improved customer service. They introduced “Xfinity Mobile” to bundle mobile services with cable and internet, aiming to keep customers within their ecosystem.
  • Adobe: Adobe’s transition to a subscription-based model for Creative Cloud faced initial resistance. However, they addressed customer concerns and objections by continuously improving the platform, leading to higher customer retention rates.
  • Spotify: Spotify uses personalized playlists and recommendations to engage users. By analyzing user data and preferences, they reduce churn by providing a tailored experience that keeps users coming back for more.

This last example shows how a company quite often has the data it needs to better … Click to continue reading

Using AI to Delight Your Customers With More AI (Authentic Interactions)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of our daily lives and has revolutionized how we interact with technology and businesses. This post discusses how to use AI to enhance customer experience with another AI, authentic interactions.

Over the past year, the AI landscape has witnessed a significant shift from AI versus AI competitions to AI working in collaboration with AI. Although AI-driven interactions have made significant progress, it is time to take them to the next level by integrating authentic interactions with AI to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Let’s examine how AI has evolved in customer relations and explore ten ways businesses can integrate authentic interactions with AI to enhance customer experiences.

Get ready to delve into a world where technology meets humanity, where the future of customer engagement is not AI versus AI, but AI working in tandem with AI.

 

The Evolution of AI in Authentic Interactions with Customers

Over the years, AI has greatly evolved in customer interactions. Initially, AI was used to automate monotonous tasks and to provide quick and efficient responses to customer inquiries. However, the early AI systems were often inflexible and could not understand and adapt to the subtleties of human communication.

With the advances in AI technology, we have seen the emergence of chatbots and virtual assistants that can engage in more natural and context-aware conversations.

This development has led to a shift from the traditional AI versus AI approach, where AI tries to outsmart or outperform other AIs, to a more collaborative approach known as AI + AI.

 

AI + AI: The Future of Customer Engagements

The combination of AI and AI marks a significant change in how businesses utilize AI technologies for authentic customer interactions. Instead of setting one AI system against another, businesses are now concentrating on integrating multiple AI components to function together fluidly, ultimately improving customer experiences.

Here are ten methods to integrate authentic interactions with AI to achieve this goal:

1. Embracing Emotional Intelligence (EI) is crucial for AI. It involves training algorithms to recognize and respond to human emotions by understanding cues such as tone of voice, choice of words, and facial expressions.

This helps AI gauge a customer’s emotional state and respond appropriately with empathy and support. When AI acknowledges customers’ feelings, they feel heard and valued and can offer personalized solutions.

Pre-programmed responses should be banned as they are easily recognized and do more harm than good. Call centre representatives should be given the autonomy to do what’s best for the customer within certain guidelines. If you’d like to read more about delivering best-in-class customer service, read the post: “7 Ways to Deliver Awesome Customer Service & Build Loyal Advocates”

2. Human-AI hybrid teams combine the best of both worlds by utilizing the strengths of humans and AI systems. AI is highly efficient in handling routine tasks and queries, allowing for quick and seamless customer responses.

However, when complex issues arise or when human empathy and problem-solving skills are required,

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The Little Known Disadvantages of a Customer-first Strategy

The business world has significantly shifted in recent years, and I, for one, am excited to see so many companies adopting a customer-first strategy.

However, like any strategy, a customer-first approach has pros and cons. Therefore I thought it would be helpful to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of a customer-first plan.

 

Advantages of a Customer-First Strategy

If you regularly read my posts, you will know that I’m passionate about companies adopting and improving their customer-first strategies. There is so much going for it, as I will explain below.

1. Improved Customer Satisfaction

One of the primary advantages of a customer-first strategy is that it leads to improved customer satisfaction. By placing the needs and desires of the customer at the centre of all business decisions, companies can create products and services that better meet their customers’ needs. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth advertising.

As an example of this, think about Amazon, which is well known for its customer-centric approach. They offer a wide range of products, fast and reliable delivery, and excellent customer service. As a result, they have a loyal customer base and a strong brand reputation.

2. Increased Sales

Another advantage of a customer-first strategy is that it can increase sales. When satisfied with a company’s products or services, customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend the company to others.

This then leads to increased revenue and profitability for the company. Research clearly shows that businesses that excel in customer experience grow more than three times faster than those that don’t.

A good example of excellence is Apple. They focus on creating products that are easy to use and meet the needs of their customers. As a result, they have a loyal customer base and have been able to increase sales consistently over time.

3. Improved Brand Reputation

A customer-first strategy can also lead to improved brand image. When a company consistently prioritizes the needs of its customers, it develops the reputation of a customer-focused organization. This can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and draw top talent.

Zappos is a good example of a company that has built its brand around customer service. They offer free shipping and returns, a 365-day return policy, and a dedicated customer service team available 24/7. As a result, they have a strong brand reputation and are known for putting their customers first. Zappos built a loyal customer base and a successful business by prioritising customer satisfaction, which resulted in it being acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion.

4. Better Decision-Making

By placing the customer at the centre of all business decisions, a customer-first strategy can lead to better decision-making. When companies are focused on meeting the needs of their customers, they are more likely to make decisions that align with their customers’ needs and desires. This can lead to better products, more efficient processes, and increased profitability.

Procter & Gamble is well known for focusing on

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13 Most Inspiring Marketing Quotes and Questions to Live By in 2022

Are you like most businesses? Do you have a plan you are following that will (hopefully) enable you to reach your goals?

In order to meet them, we are often looking to make changes, large or small, in our organisation. At times like these I find it useful to motivate with some inspiring quotes from people much wiser than I. If you are looking for ways to motivate and inspire your own team, then I am sure you too will enjoy these.

This is my selection of great quotes from some of the best marketers around, together with a relevant question to ask yourself for each. If your favourite quote is not included, then please add it to the comments below the post.

 

#1.  “Strategy and timing are the Himalayas of marketing. Everything else is the Catskills” Al Ries 

This quote refers to the Catskills, a province of the Appalachian Mountains, located in southeastern New York and only 1270m high. It compares them to the Himalayas, a range that includes some of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest (8,849m).

It uses this comparison to suggest that to succeed in marketing you have to afront the highest peaks of strategy and timing, and not be satisfied with scaling simple hills. In other words, be in the right place at the right time with the right offer. Simple!

QUESTION: Are you going to upgrade your marketing this year to meet this lofty challenge?

 

#2.  “In marketing I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss – and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last” John Romero

I love this quote because it refers to knowing and understanding your customers. The best ones, however you define that, come first and your best prospects come second. If you’d like to know if you’re targeting your very best customers and best prospects, then check out the following post: How Well Do you Know Your Customers? 13 Questions your Boss Expects you to Answer

QUESTION: Do you know who your best customers are and everything you should about them?

 

#3. “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation”  Milan Kundera

This post shows the often forgotten importance of marketing to business. I know those of you in sales or operations etc will complain, but if customers don’t know and love your brands then you don’t have a business. It really is as simple as that. I also like that innovation is included, because especially today, customers have become so demanding that we need to constantly upgrade our offers to them.

QUESTION: Does your business value marketing? If not, how can you help them to recognise its value?

 

#4. “The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions” Claude Levi-Strauss

Are you better at asking questions or answering them? Which is more important in your job? Why? A leader doesn’t have all the answers but … Click to continue reading

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