When you deliver a superior experience, your buyers stick with you and become a valuable source for business referrals. You gain tremendous benefits through recurring revenue, new opportunities and customer loyalty. Which is why organizations focused on innovation, growth and long-term shareholder value are increasingly investing in customer care employees and the customer experience. The reality is, however, it doesn’t take magic to satisfy customers – it takes common sense. If you have poor service in a restaurant – no matter how good the food – most guests won’t be satisfied. Service can make or break a food dining experience. As a CCO, I’ve found that the way you must treat buyers really isn’t all that different and mostly takes a strong understanding of what your customer wants now, while anticipating their future needs. Here are a few of my “must-dos” for building a healthy and happy buyer relationship by using good judgment.
We’re all busier than ever, and no one wants to be kept waiting – whether you’re on hold waiting to talk with a rep or waiting for a proposal from a sales person. Lengthy delays don’t meet the standards of a great experience. Do what you need to internally to alleviate customer delays. If you need to hire additional resources or invest in an online customer service software like Salesforce’s Service Cloud, Desk.com or Zendesk, do so. In addition to delivering better service to existing customers, up to 50 percent of sales also go to the first responder.
Listen, Listen – and Listen Again
At Xactly, we make it a top priority to engage frequently with our customers to get their feedback. We engage through different types of meetings from customer focus groups, 1:1 meetings and hosting our biggest customer event, CompCloud, our annual user conference. By facilitating and being willing to listen, you get great suggestions and recommendations that can improve your product functionality, grow your business with new product suggestions and, most importantly, serve your customers better. Your customers use your product daily – why wouldn’t you want to hear from them? They are a wealth of information. Plus, everyone wants to be heard. We use Influitive as an advocacy platform to drive digital customer engagement and Salesforce Ideas to gather input. By giving your buyers multiple platforms to communicate, you show them that you care and want to listen to their needs.
Do What You Say You Will
If customers can’t count on you to do what you say, you lose trust, and trust is critical to building relationships. Once that trust is gone, it’s hard, if not impossible, to get back and regain the relationship. Pricing advantage, product knowledge – even a better solution – can’t replace trust. In fact, according to Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger, “trust surpasses knowledge” for success.
Keep It Human
I couldn’t agree more with Joanne Black, founder of No More Cold Calling, who writes: “Even in our technology-driven world, nothing replaces a handshake and in-person interaction for both building and maintaining business relationships.” Technology can speed the process, increase efficiencies, and make it easier to focus in on the right opportunities, but the human touch remains essential for successful interactions. A Gartner survey found that the majority of companies believe customer experience is critical to success and plan to compete on customer experience. Nothing stated today is revolutionary - just start with a common sense approach and focus on the basics.