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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7. December 2011 14:24
Here is an example of a customer service survey, which you can try surveying your customers with.
Types of questions to use
When writing customer service surveys, you can choose from the following types of questions (I've added an example for each one): Closed question (1 possible selection, multiple choice checkbox type) Please state your marital status:O SingleO MarriedO DivorcedO Rather not say* *) Note: for privacy related questions I often add a "rather not say" choice, unless of course it's essential for the survey. Open question (text field type) Describe one function you would like to see in our software:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Identification (Identifying the customer) Please state your full name or email address:__________________________________________________ Multiple Choice (more possible selections, checkbox type) Please select the newsletters you want to receive:O New Season’s ProductsO Planned promotional events and offersO General Community newsValuation scale (very bad--very good) What do you think of the cleanliness today?Very bad <-----> Very good1----2----3----4----5----6 ** Importance scale (Not important--very important) For me, status is...Not important <-> Very important1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6 ** **Often I see a ‘5 scale’, particularly on rating websites like Trip Advisor. But this is only a throw back to an older form of star-ratings for hotels. For me a 5-scale opens up a "safety choice", where the customer can choose safe middle ground for a rating. Using a 6-scale, the customer must choose (in those cases) either a slight positive or slight negative angle. Knowing the nuances is often as important as learning the extreme choices. So also, consider scales of 1 to 10 or an 8-scale because these enable you to increase the degree of opinion versus a 5-scale.
What sequence to ask questions in?
Putting the questions in a good order is also important for the success of the customer survey. The questions should invite the customer into the survey. So, always start with the easy questions, as starting with difficult questions can easily scare them off from completing your survey. Always put identification questions at the end of the customer survey.
21. September 2011 11:16
How to Measure Good Customer Service [More]