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Did you know that its 6-7 times more expensive to find new customers than sell to existing customers? How can you start to change your customer culture?Encounter a business that doesn’t think ‘customer first’ and its usually a demoralising experience. Being told you can’t do something that seems simple, or ‘you can only get that over the phone’. These organisations have lost touch with their purpose, to deliver service and value, and to help their customers achieve their goals. On the flipside, customer-centric organisations understand their customers’ goals, and structure themselves to ensure those goals are achieved. Their people have a ‘yes we can’ attitude towards problem solving, instead of looking for excuses or arcane rules to avoid helping out.
The Value of a CustomerDid you know that its 6-7 times more expensive* to find new customers than sell to existing customers? This presents a huge opportunity for upselling, cross-selling and generating referrals by encouraging stronger customer relationships. How can you start to change your customer service culture?
Listen to your CustomersYour customers are a rich source of information that can help you improve your products and/or service, yet how often do you ask for feedback or listen to comments in social channels? Gaining feedback could be as simple as inviting key clients for a coffee, but here are a few other ideas:
- Make a list of your 10% most profitable customers, and ask them what you do well, and what you could improve upon?
- Make a list of the 10% least profitable customers, and ask them why they don’t buy more from you, do they know about all your products and services
- Examine customer support requests for patterns, and determine how quickly customers get a response
- Create an online survey and circulate amongst customers
- Ask for feedback on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
Streamline Failing ProcessesWe often find that business processes that were once fit for purpose are no longer appropriate or effective. In conjunction with customer feedback, it can be easy to identify processes that cause frustration for customers, or even discourage them from buying more. You don’t need to transform the entire business on day one, that’s unrealistic, but you can identify major problems and quick wins with some basic research:
- Make a list of all the people, departments, processes that impact on the customer experience. Look for bottlenecks and information silos that can cause delays or confusion for the customer.
- Cross-reference these with customer feedback and determine which processes are causing the most problems.
- Show early intent by taking action to resolve the most frustrating problems. Ideally you will streamline the processes in order to profitably deliver what the customer wants.
- Devise a roadmap for change based on your complete findings.
Help Customers to Help ThemselvesToday, many customers don’t want to waste time waiting for information. Put them in control by offering online access to information and services about their relationship with your company. Whether its service or maintenance information, asset tracking, training content, analytics, or anything else you can automate and deliver electronically, you’ll save them time and money, and create goodwill. Again, refer to customer feedback to understand what information is useful and important to them, and examine internal workloads to understand where repetitive, manual service requests can be automated. Bonus tip, don’t be afraid to fire your customers. Sometimes you can’t please all of the people all of the time. When reflecting on negative customer feedback, or unprofitable relationships, consider whether your company vision is still compatible. The benefits of ‘firing’ customers include:
- Releasing resource to deal with profitable customers
- Removing the distraction of non-core or legacy services
- Avoiding negative word of mouth
- Creating a positive outcome by referring the customer to a provider who fits their needs