In a world where all products and services are rapidly becoming commodities, the only thing that differentiates one company from another is the relationship with individual customers. It is impossible to deliver sustainable growth and profitability without focusing on the people who financially support your business.
This means that every person, process, and policy within your organization has to make it easy for your customers to complete their transactions. Time and effort are the most valuable resources today. Helping people to maximize their efficiency binds them to you. The only way to do this is with an integrated marketing and customer care strategy that includes everything from initial contact to order fulfillment.
Research by the Corporate Executive Board found that 96 percent of the customers who put forth a high level of effort to resolve issues are more disloyal. They also found that service was four times more likely to lead to disloyalty than loyalty. Apparently, people respond better to easy than they do to exceptional. If you’re investing your resources in the WOW! factor, you may want to alter your plan and go for the “get them in and out quickly and accurately” process.
It sounds simple enough, but with multiple channels, departments, and divisions involved, it is quite complex.
Every thing that is done in one area has an effect on the others. It may be small or catastrophic, but each move changes something somewhere else.
The first step to improving customer loyalty is charting your company’s marketing solar system. Start by identifying the sun or suns. Some companies have multiple ones. Most likely, it is sales, profitability, or a combination of the two. Next, chart your planets. They are the channels, departments, and/or divisions that have direct access to your customers. Finally, document your benchmarks. This is your starting point.
The second step is to define the solar system that provides the best customer experience. Don’t labor over this too much because it may need to change as you get more information. Right now, you’re just outlining the process. Include every marketing channel that you are considering in the future.
Now, how do you get from today’s reality to tomorrow’s possibility? Start making notes and update them daily. When you see something that is simple to fix, correct it immediately. Don’t wait for the plan to be complete because it won’t every happen. Update and compare your benchmarks on a regular basis so you know when you are moving in the right direction and when you need to adjust your course.
This is an evolutionary process of continuous improvement. Keep moving forward and before long, your customers’ lifetime value and lifespan will increase because loyalty is improving. Customer acquisition and retention will be easier. And, ROI will be delivered every day.
If you want to discuss how this applies to your business, please email me at email@example.com.