24. July 2012 08:00
According to a recent Forrester report (“The State of Customer Experience, 2012” published April, 2012), more than 90% of companies are making customer experience a top strategic priority, with 75% aiming to differentiate from their competitors (and industry) on the basis of customer experience. In this day and age, new technologies and services are popping up at remarkable speeds. Everyone is racing to bring in new customers and meet sales targets but more often than not, existing customers are kind of left to their own devices. BIG mistake, as many companies fail to appreciate that existing customers is where more than 80% of their revenue comes from.Most companies don’t have a centralised customer experience team or their initiatives are scattered across various departments, so it’s difficult to measure their customer's experience. If you can't measure something, you can't reliably manage it, and if you can't manage it, then you can't easily improve it. ”The current state of customer experience management in most companies is ad hoc at best,” describes the report. Sometimes it’s a company's support team that has the most contact with its customers, other times it could be the community manager hearing feedback from various social channels; but how often does information about your customers' experience get siloed - so there's no overall clear picture of what customers value about doing business with you for you to make an informed decision.According to the report, customer experience management (CEM) professionals are planning to spend their 2012 funding tackling three goals:1. Spread word about customer experience to employees2. Solidify measurement and voice of customer capabilities.3. Strengthen customer experience expertise.It’s high time that organisations view customer experience as a revenue branch of their business and not just as a support role. All the telltale signs of a healthy customer or one that’s at risk of leaving are readily there at their fingertips. Smart phone survey technology now makes it very easy to ask existing customers and customer-facing employees to identify the level of experience needed to prevent customer churn. From there you can calculate how much “wow” it would take to turn existing customers into truly loyal brand advocates.How does your organization view the role of customer success managers? Is customer success one of your top strategies for 2012?
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16. July 2012 12:02
Rapport is the single most important thing to build during a meeting with a client. Without it, you run the risk of losing contact and trust. So it's important to identify how to build rapport quickly with your customers, and with integrity. But here are 5 ways that you can break rapport stone dead:
1. Don’t do your research. The fastest way to kill rapport and trust is to go into any meeting cold. Never in history has there been so much free information available - online, on company websites, in Google, on Facebook and on LinkedIn and other social media sites. Your rapport will go stone cold if you don’t have specific things to discuss during your meeting. However, if you do appropriate research, you can share information that may be valuable to them and ask specific questions that show you have something of value to offer them. Your questions or comments on your research can drive the conversation forward. Without that research you offer nothing but your product knowledge and less in common to start the relationship.
2. Prescribe your answer before diagnosing any problems. You know what I mean here. The salesperson who turns up, makes some small talk then opens up the laptop ready to present a pre-prepared presentation of their products and services that bear little relation to the challenges the client is really facing. Your research should help you see what problems the client is facing and rapport can be built on what you know or can find out about the client’s business.
3. Let the prospect take control of the meeting. There are many things clients want from their business partner, and one of them is to be educated about what is happening in their industry and within their competitive network. If you allow the client to take early control of the conversation, you run the risk of just being a sounding board and answering question after question, so the client just pumps you for information which you obediently regurgitate. You should build rapport by telling the client what the agenda for the meeting is and keeping the subjects on a specific journey to achieve the goal of assisting them to provide solutions to their problems.
4. Ask questions that your competition are asking. If you want to sound like everyone else, ask questions that everyone asks. Things like ‘How is the downturn in business affecting you? Is that your family portrait? Tell me about your problems today’. If you want to build rapport, ask quality questions specific to the company, industry, and person you’re speaking with. Ask questions they may not have thought of.Try to understand the prospect’s situation to determine if you are even the right person to help.
5. Don’t follow through on what you say. Trust and rapport is built overtime as you consistently meet your commitments. If you want to kill rapport, tell the prospect you’ll send him a proposal on Tuesday and then send it on Thursday, show up to your meeting 10 minutes late, and be sure not to include anything about the prospect and their situation in the proposal. When it comes to building rapport there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each buyer has their own unique personality and preferences that influence how they like to buy and how they connect with sellers.
Even simple research by visiting one of your client's operations with a smart phone survey and asking a random sample of fellow customers what they think will give forearm you with research into the challenges your prospective customer is facing. At worst, it will show how much you are prepared to invest to work with your new customers. To build rapport, you need to identify what the customer actually wants to see and hear from you. Be the kind of person that your client can trust by being the partner they want to work with. And now you know the rapport-killers - resist them!
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11. July 2012 13:24
Recently my partner and I visited a new restaurant, the Rio Grande in Coral Bay, Cyprus. We had what could have easily been a uniquely bad dining experience turned around purely by great customer engagement when, at times, the customer service wouldn’t have seemed out of place in a Monty Python sketch. It’s a story I want to recount to you…In 36 degrees Celsius heat, with a full restaurant with no air conditioning inside and nowhere outside to sit, we were greeted and shown to a specially created ‘romantic’ table on their balcony. Our drinks were ordered and delivered promptly by a waiter whose exertions running up and down the stairs created ever-swelling rivers of sweat down his shirt. So I’m reading the menu and a beetle bounces onto my arm - no major problem given the warm weather. Fast-forward to our starter course, another beetle bounces onto our table and simultaneously vaults over our shared starter with the grace of a Gold medal contender at this year’s Olympics. It’s closely followed by a peloton of its compatriots for another few minutes until our ever-enthusiastic waiter re-appears. He’s clearly not very surprised or shocked by beetles falling like lemmings from the roof above and we were moved to another table still on our romantic balcony. Problem resolved even if Stavros by this point was wearing more ‘water’ on his shirt than he was carrying in the jug he’d thoughtfully brought up the stairs with him. Our main course arrived and my partner, having ordered a spicy beef enchilada, got a bowl of chilli con carne. We explained it was the wrong meal after much conversation, Stavros disappears and a second waiter appears for a second opinion – no, clearly it didn’t look like a burrito. But Chilli was a better choice in his opinion! Then the manageress appears and after suitably reprimanding Stavros plus much heated debate she agreed to take the offending chilli back to the kitchen but turning away added that Chilli was a better choice and by the way it would be 30 minutes more as the kitchen was very busy! Insulted and embarrassed for Stavros, but equally famished, my partner agreed to eat the chilli and we wished our dining experience to evaporate like the proverbial giant black hole that Stavros was probably wishing would swallow him up on the spot.And now for the start of the recovery… Stavros returned to apologise for the mix up. We’re relaxed and the chilli is actually pretty good as it turns out. But my order is missing the salsa so Stavros’s protégé agrees to fetch it. Long after we’ve finished the course, Stavros sheepishly reappears with said salsa. Cue another round of effuse apologies from Stavros and his colleague. So picture this, the balcony tables are filling and one after another the orders they’ve taken (largely by committing to memory) are baring little resemblance to what is arriving and the restaurant is fast-becoming a scene that only Basil Fawlty could delight in.Cue another Stavros recovery, to make up for the mistakes he asks us if we wanted a free dessert. So I order 3 scoops of ice cream (there were 4 which he reeled off with great difficulty) and much to his credit he delivers all 4 flavours ‘to compensate for getting everything else wrong’. Delivered with a smile I was convinced he couldn't remember which 3 I’d ordered. But this is the key – throughout our dining experience, though almost everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong, Stavros remained totally engaged with us, his customers. And to cap it off, he brought us our favourite after dinner drinks ‘on the house’ before proceeding to give us a restaurant card with a handwritten discount for the next time we visited or wanted to try their sister restaurant.So here’s the moral of the story, even if the food order is hopelessly wrong, even if the restaurant conditions are unbearable and the ambiance is invaded by unpleasant objects, even if arguments break out … if you consistently and positively engage your customers they’ll remember your great customer service in a way they want to tell the world about you - instead of Faulty Towers!
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21. June 2012 09:18
A business is only as good as its people. Recent research by Kenexa shows that:
69% of employers believe employees are engaged, whilst only 35% of employees claim to be
81% of HR professionals think employees would recommend the organization to a friend. Only 38% actually would
71% of HR professionals think the organization has fair benefits while only 48% of employees agree with this statement
53% of HR professionals think they provide fair compensation compared to only 30% of employees
83% of HR professionals think their employees plan to stay for the next year. 41% of employees agree with this statement
HR departments clearly need to start engaging and listening to their employees to stem the flow of high staff turnover which will ultimately result is bad customer experiences for all.
All it would take is an annual employee engagement study or survey if you like, but it needs to be read and the results of which are cared about and acted upon.
12. June 2012 09:44
SURVEY ME EXPANDS TO NEW ZEALAND DURING FIRST YEAR STARTUP
Continuing on from the successful launch and growth in 2011, SurveyMe, the first ever UK-based smartphone application for customer feedback, has now launched in New Zealand.
Users in the UK have grown by 331% in the last 6 months and the expansion has come on the back of business users in New Zealand using SurveyMe.
Andy McDowell, whilst working in his own logistics business in Auckland, first saw the application in 2011 and saw the opportunity to launch a unique product into the New Zealand marketplace.
Andy says “The launch of SurveyMe into New Zealand is incredibly exciting. The software is simple to use and meets the needs of all businesses whether large or small. It has proved to be really easy to transport halfway across the world from the UK and has been received well by the Kiwi market.” “The New Zealand ‘let’s give it a go’ attitude has resulted in nothing but positive feedback. We have strategic plans to roll out SurveyMe across the country over the next 12-18 months and into Australia over the next couple of years. We already have a varied client-base in New Zealand from Logistics, IFA’s to Insurance brokers and continuing to grow,” explains Andy McDowell, Director, SurveyMe NZ.
Lee Evans, CEO, SurveyMe commented “We have had a very successful first year with more users in the UK than anticipated in our first 12 months. For us to be able to launch in New Zealand in our second year is very exciting. Andy has vast experience in growing businesses so he is the ideal partner for our venture in the Asia Pacific region. SurveyMe lets you capture what you want to know, when you want to know it, from the people that matter most, wherever they are in the world.”
The application, which can be downloaded free on to iPhone, iPad or Android smartphones, enables people to give valuable real-time feedback from their smartphone, enabling businesses to improve customer experience or reward consumers. It is also a tool that allows the capture of research for new products, media stories or more general consumer insights. Basically anytime you need to find out information from a pool of people then SurveyMe is a cost efficient way of delivering that information in an easy to use format.
1. May 2012 16:03
What To Measure?
Measure those activities or factors, which are important to you successfully achieving your organisational or departmental goals. Key performance indicators also known as KPIs or Key Success Indicators (KSI), help an organisation or a department define and measure its progress toward its goals. Some online and App survey software like SurveyMe will actually allow you to preset KPIs and performance targets when you create your questions so measuring actual versus desired becomes even easier. KPIs will differ depending on an organisation and its objectives. A business may have as one of its Key Performance Indicators the percentage of its income that comes from return customers. A Customer Service department may have as one of its KPIs the percentage of customer calls answered in the first minute. A KPI for a hotel might be the level of client satisfaction at check-in. You may need to measure several things to be able to calculate the metrics in your KPIs and so this is where it is often important when selecting software to choose something that gives you unlimited wiggle room to practice your surveys and develop KPIs at no additional cost. To measure progress toward its client check-in KPI, the particular department will need to measure (count) how many guests stayed and get a consistent number of customer feedback replies (e.g. 25 as a minimum) each period. It must also measure how things have improved over a period. Then the department Manager can manage staff, training, resources toward improving or maintaining that KPI.