Keeping your customers happy is the key to earning their trust and their business. Some companies do this well, and go above and beyond to make sure their customers are satisfied. Others seem to view customer service as an afterthought.
“It’s always befuddling to watch businesses that say they focus on customer service turn around and act like their customers don’t matter,” said Aishwarya Hariharan, product marketer at customer support software company Freshdesk. “They claim that no one matters more [than their customers], but their approach just doesn’t seem to reflect it.”
We are coming up on a decade in our own business. We have worked with thousands of clients and many times that number of prospects. As independent business people, our survival depends on our ability to forecast and close work. We have a very high close rate once we’re presenting, especially in person. This has been achieved through careful study of human nature and at a high cost.
As a consultant, you need to make the prospecting cycle as tight as possible so you are not chasing leads that won’t go anywhere. We began to experience greater success when we understood the following principle: Most people can’t say no.
I don’t mean this in the sense that they will buy from you if you overcome objections or demonstrate value. Most prospects know very quickly if they see value in what you’re doing and will buy. Our experience has been the best engagements result from connections that form quickly or, if there are delays because of a competitive procurement process, you are continually building a tighter relationship as it goes on. Absent this, you are likely waiting for a ‘no’.
The reason for this, my partner and I believe, is that most people hate the idea of rejection and hence are hesitant to do it to other people. I, for one, appreciate having my attention and effort liberated by a firm ‘no’. I am now free to begin the hunt for a new client, sometimes with lessons learned. But the slow ‘no’, or worse, the ‘we’re thinking about it’ just takes up mental and emotional cycles that are better spent elsewhere.
Continuing our discussion of Generation X as our target consumer, we have gathered a variety of facts about our subjects and now need to use those facts to answer the following questions.
- Why do they buy?
- How do they buy?
- What do they buy?
- Where do they buy?
- Where do you find them?
- How do you reach them?
Let’s answer the questions using the information we’ve learned about Generation X.
Customers are altering their behavior because of uncertainty about the future: laying off employees (maybe even your contacts), hoarding cash and postponing routine purchases. All purchase decisions are now up for conscious review.
Here are some ways to get your customers back in the habit of buying from you.
Few marketers would dispute the statement that it is the sum of all customers’ interactions with a company, over time, that ultimately creates or destroys that company’s brand value. Yet few companies take the time to look at their own business practices comprehensively through the lens of their customers to understand how they measure up to their customers’ needs and expectations.
Does each customer interaction live up to the brand experience that the company is trying to create? Are you providing a more consistent and relevant customer experience than your competitors are? Which interactions are the most powerful for creating customer loyalty?
Fielding customer-satisfaction surveys is not enough. To better serve their customer base and more effectively acquire new customers, organizations need to delve into the details of individual interactions to understand the relationship between each customer touch point and the value it delivers to customers.
After all, value may be built through a series of positive experiences, but it is maintained through consistently meeting the needs and expectations of your customers throughout the customer lifecycle—from pre-purchase consideration to post-purchase evaluation. Companies that have recognized and leveraged this insight have reaped the benefits through improved key performance metrics.
So, despite such successes, why do so few companies take a comprehensive look at their customer touch points? And of those companies that have undertaken such initiatives, why have so many faltered?