We all want customer loyalty. Loyal customers buy more, buy more often, and recommend us to others.Backtracking from loyalty points us to the customer experience, which points us to listening as it is the foundation of creating a great customer experience.
We hear a lot about customer satisfaction...maybe you have even conducted a customer satisfaction survey. However, it is easy to have customers who are satisfied but don’t lean towards loyalty. It is much more difficult to have a great customer experience and then not lean towards loyalty. Satisfaction is backwards looking in that it is a function of performance to date, after the interaction has already occurred. It also based on the gap between what experience the customer expected to have and what experience actually occurred.It is in the customer experience that the relationship commitment between the customer and the brand develops. Examining the customer experience landscape allows us to narrow the gap between expected and ideal experience, which ideally results in relationship commitment.
To being to understand the landscape of the customer experience, you have to listen. I love this definition of a listening post [read definition]. I love it because it emphasizes two overarching principles of customer listening: being purposeful and being strategic. In order to be both, it is helpful to have an overarching framework, which follows.
When you think of listening to your customer, it is helpful to think of three different perspectives: market trends, your employees, and of course, your customers! If you can listen via all three avenues, that is ideal. However, I would encourage you to start with one and move forward from there with the idea that listening to all three is the end goal. Listening to different perspectives lets you look for alignments and misalignments, which often lead to gaps you should close or opportunities you should pursue.
Market trends identify changes that may affect the customer experience and therefore things you will want to pay attention to. For example, how might the economic downturn affect the customer experience in your industry? Imagine you were a restaurant. Would it be helpful to know that households in your area had experienced a 10% decrease in household income? Of course it would! Or would it be helpful to know if this decrease in income occurred but you were NOT seeing a decrease in customers? Yes! It could signify a resiliency about your business you haven’t recognized yet.How do you find market trends? There are many sources that are FREE if you know where to look. I have listed the four main sources I use and examples of each.In our 3-week webinar starting on March 29, I will be presenting more detail on free or low-cost research tools like this including the best way to search for them without spending three days on Google.
While you may be somewhat removed from daily customer interactions, some of your employees are not.Their understanding of operations allow them to leverage this understanding into workable solutions.These solutions make more intuitive sense allowing them to adjust and implement quicker.For example, in working with one of our retail clients to improve the customer experience to increase their sales, employees offered up the suggestion of rearranging the store layout to provide a better experience for the customers. They were able to identify this solution because they saw the traffic pattern of the customers every day.
Of course you need to listen to your customers whose feedback is often in real-time, in their own words, and probably something you have already collected. There are two main ways your customer communicates to you: directly and indirectly.
Here are some of my favorite direct customer listening posts. [read] We used in-depth interviews to uncover the details of the customer experience for one client who owned a luxury goods retail store. The store had a core base of customers but it was small and the store lacked awareness in the target market. The customers reported being satisfied with the products but their descriptions of their experience in the store lacked emotion. To make a long story short, without the emotionally connecting experience in the store, product satisfaction was not enough to generate positive word-of-mouth, which would result in increased brand awareness and sales.
Indirect customer listening posts are very popular and continue to add an avenue of listening that can be helpful. [read] Kathy is going to take one of these avenues, social media, and talk about how to focus on your customer via Facebook.
1. SPRING INTO BUSINESS SUCCESS FOCUS on the CUSTOMER Captioning for this meeting provided by Voice to Print Captioning A free preview webinar, produced by:March 21, 2012 Presenters: Kathy Sipple | Larry Galler | Ursula Saqui
2. TODAY‟SPRESENTERS:KATHY SIPPLE• CEO (Chief Engagement Officer) at My Social Media Coach• Social Media Specialist at Forward ProgressLARRY GALLER• CEO Larry Galler & Associates Business Greatness Coach, One Year to Greatness• Weekly Business Columnist, Northwest Indiana TimesDR. URSULA SAQUI• President, Saqui Research• Lead Market Researcher
3. WHY BUILD A CUSTOMERFOCUSED BUSINESS?
4. Focus on THE CUSTOMER! … They are the most important people in your company! Presented by Larry Galler – Business GREATNESS Coach / ColumnistMarch 21, 2012
5. It‟s a huge universe out there and, nomatter what tool you use, it must be… IN FOCUS! Or your message will be… Fuzzy, Indistinct, Diluted, Obscure, Wasted, & Misunderstood
6. So, what does it mean toFocus on THE CUSTOMER? The FRAME Focuses your eye… If the FRAMEWORK of your company Focuses on the Customer….
7. Because…The CUSTOMER is the reasonFOR the businessSo “FOCUS on The Customer!”
8. Case Study:Hunt‟s Outdoor Upkeep, Inc. Landscape maintenance (mowing) and Snowplowing Clients – Corporate Campus‟ Sales on “Seasonal” Contracts Excellent Client Retention Difficult to attract New Clients
9. Problem Problem: Traditional sales effort – few weeks between snowmelt and grass grows Decision makers are not interested until this three / four week period So we Focused on the Customer’s Needs! WiBGi (Wouldn’t it be great if)
10. Strategy1. If current clients don‟t want to talk about Spring until there is an IMMEDIATE NEED…2. Create an IMMEDIATE NEED in the Fall and Winter – REVIEW MEETINGS3. Leave that short window in Spring to concentrate on attracting new clients
11. Results:Review meetings went very well: 90% of last season‟s clients renewed in October and December and bought 15% additional services. The remaining 10% renewed in late February – 100% retention! Most of February and all of March (to date) have been devoted to acquiring New Clients 6 new clients for this season sold in February and March with more to be closed
12. Sales Booked For TheSeason…UP 30% (with more to close) A “Listening to the Customer” BREAKTHROUGH!
13. In my March 29th “Focus on theCustomer” Session you will learn: Process for transforming what you learn from your customer into Customer-focused: Strategies Training Customer Service Policies Marketing … There IS a Process for it and, you will take this TRANSFORMATIONAL PROCESS with you!
14. FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER:CUSTOMER LISTENING POSTSYOU SHOULDN‟T IGNORE Presented by Ursula Saqui, Ph.D.
15. WHAT DO WE ALL WANT? CUSTOMER LOYALTYWHERE DO WE NEED TOSTART? CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TIP: Start with the end in mind and work backwards
16. WHY CUSTOMEREXPERIENCE?The Customer Experience Landscape isthe place where we can identify andcapture the „forward-looking‟ dimension ofrelationship commitment and identifytriggers that may change the basis of therelationship. TIP: Customer satisfaction is NOT the starting point for customer loyalty.
17. UNDERSTANDING THECUSTOMER EXPERIENCELANDSCAPELISTENING POSTany strategic position or place for obtaining information aboutanother country or area http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/listening post TIP: Be purposeful and strategic in your listening.
19. MARKET TRENDSWHY?•Gives you a general snapshot of the customer‟s landscape.•Alerts you to possible changes in the future that may affect thecustomer‟s landscape.•Will help you assess alignment between general market trends andwhat your customers are saying.HOW?•Professional/Trade associations (e.g., National RestaurantAssociation)•Government (e.g., Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census)•Research Institutes of Universities (e.g., Indiana BusinessResearch Center at Indiana University)•Non-profit research institutes (e.g., Pew Research) TIP: General market trends help to define the landscape parameters.
20. YOUR EMPLOYEESWHY?•They are where the action is.•They understand the organization‟s internal operations.•They can articulate opportunities and challenges thatmay be outside of the customer‟s or executive team‟sawareness.HOW?•HR survey•Suggestion box•Town hall meeting•Online community TIP: Employee input gives the Customer Experience Landscape detail that can‟t be gained elsewhere.
21. YOUR CUSTOMERSWHY?• Feedback is often in real-time.• Customers use their own words, which can then be used to create a more connecting and engaging experience.• You may already have the data collected, you should use it. TIP: Start with the customer experience data you already have.
22. CUSTOMER LISTENINGPOSTS Email Focus Groups/ Mail Interview Direct POS Surveys Testimonials TIP: The best way to listen to the customer is to listen through multiple sources.
23. CUSTOMER LISTENINGPOSTS Online Ratings 3rd Blogs Party Surveys Indirect Public Social Media Media Word of Mouth TIP: What are your customers saying to others that they are not saying to you?
24. FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER:WHAT YOU CAN LEARN ABOUTYOUR CUSTOMERS FROMTHEIR ONLINE HABITS Presented by Kathy Sipple, Social Media Trainer & Strategist
25. WHO ARE YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMERS?WHERE DO THEY COME FROM? Google Analytics: http://www.google.com/analytics/
26. COMMUNICATION PARADIGMSHIFT • Broadcasting vs. crowdsourcing • No longer one to many, but rather many to many • Are my clients part of this conversation? • What about my competitors? • My employees? Learn where your best prospects “talk” online
27. CONVERSATIONS HAPPENWHETHER OR NOT WE CHOOSETO LISTEN Tempted to tune out?
28. WHAT AM I LISTENING FOR? How do I join the conversation, or at least listen?
29. GOOGLE INDEXING, ALERTS • Free • Set alerts for mentions of your company name, competitors, brand names, employees, your own name… • Are my clients part of this conversation? Set a Google Alert: http://www.google.com/alerts
30. GOOGLE KEYWORD TOOL https://adwords.google.com/
31. TRAFFIC SOURCES Where does your traffic come from?
32. FACEBOOK INSIGHTS Demographic data about your fans
33. FACEBOOK INSIGHTS What‟s hot? What‟s not?
34. FACEBOOK INSIGHTS Demographic data about your fans