The Role of CX in a Sales Culture

by Colin Shaw on August 4, 2015

You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth. People who feel like they’re being listened to feel accepted and appreciated. They feel like they’re being taken seriously and what they say really matters.”

– Harvey Mackay, Sales Expert, Author and Columnist

Quality sales cultures are the ones where the Customer comes before the close, like Mackay’s quote indicates here. Ricoh Canada has a real world example of making this kind of change to their sales driven culture and making it work.

Back in the 80s, I used to work for Xerox, a competitor of Ricoh’s. I was only there for a couple of years. If I think back at my days at Xerox, there were people there that would sell their grandmother for 20 cents. Not all mind you, but enough that I knew it wasn’t a culture where I wanted to hang about.

The interesting bit for me is that a sales culture or the sales focus is bound to have this kind of effect on an organization. When all that is rewarded is getting the sale, then why shouldn’t selling a matriarch at a profit be a possibility?

I wrote about Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and their role in the Customer Experience.  When your KPI is based on sales, you are rewarding an internally focused action, the transaction. A Customer Experience, however, is about how they feel about the transaction, not the transaction itself.  If you reward the transaction, why should employees care about how the Customer feels about it? In some ways, this system can make your best salespeople the biggest problem for your Customer Experience.

The challenge for businesses today is to get the sale and make an excellent Customer Experience. When we talk to senior executives about their sales culture mentality, we use the following model to explain what type of sales culture/salesperson drives the most value:

As you can see there are two axes: Customer Experience and Revenue. The four boxes represent the salespeople and where they are with both axes.

  • The Job Seeker is the salesperson who is neither achieving revenue nor a good Customer Experience; the name represents what they will soon need to do!
  • The Misguided represents the salesperson that puts the Customer first, even to the detriment of the company. While it’s laudable they put the Customer’s needs at such a high priority, it’s not good for business to do everything a Customer wants.
  • The Money Machine describes the people that hit the numbers, even over-achieves their numbers every month and quarter, but they don’t focus on (or care about) the Customer in the transaction. In my post about this model, I share a story about how a company we worked with fired their best money machine because he or she couldn’t adapt to the new ideal.
  • The Business Person is the new ideal. They not only hit their numbers, but they also provide an excellent Customer Experience for their accounts. They balance the needs of the Customers and the needs of their organization. They understand what Mackay was saying about people and use it in their everyday approach to business.

Many organizations today operate with a sales culture. In many ways, this is smart. Selling things, after all, is the point of business, isn’t it? Ricoh Canada is a self-professed sales-driven organization, just as Xerox is. What they discovered in their Customer Experience Improvement journey was that selling was important, but making sure the Customer felt good about the sale was just as important, if not more important.

Mary Ann Sayers, Director of Corporate Sustainability and Community Relations, explained the importance of spending time on the Customer Experience design. They developed over the course of several years a culture at the company that put the Customer at the center of everything they did. One of the many things they employed over the years to do this was to show how everyone at the company was part of the Customer relationship through their My Customer program and Customer Experience training.

Ricoh Canada also added compensation to their Customer Experience goals. Everyone has a 25% value connected to objectives in Customer Satisfaction and quality experience. This comp plan is another way in which they are enforcing that Customer Experience is a KPI.

And it’s working. Last year’s third quarter score was nearly 68 (67.81), a number slightly higher than where they have been averaging for nearly eight years. In addition, they enjoy year over year sales growth in an economy that suffered two recessions and in a shrinking industry as copier use is on the decline.

Can a sales-driven culture also have a Customer-Experience driven culture? Absolutely. Ricoh Canada is a great example of exactly that. It requires an enforcement of the principles, a focus on the needs of the Customer, and a KPI that is rewarded for achieving these goals.

RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with irresistible appeal in their market. To listen to the webinar, “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” and learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Click here.

 

I will be going LIVE on Periscope for the first time next week! Join me as I answer the questions “What is a Customer Experience really about?” .

Download Periscope for iOS and Android, here, and follow me @ColinShaw_CX to be notified when I start broadcasting!

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawThe Role of CX in a Sales Culture

Is Your Customer Experience Accidental?

by Colin Shaw on July 30, 2015

Most Customer Experiences are accidents—and unfortunately, they are not always happy ones. Why? Unless a company designs a deliberate experience that puts the Customer first and considers the Customer’s perspective, the message you send to the subconscious is rarely what you intend. The message you send will communicate how you are as an organization.

What do I mean by this? I’ll explain by using some examples from a hotel room. The nature of my job means I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. So while it might seem I am picking on them, the truth is I just have a lot of experience dealing with hotels and the “little things” that make an experience what it is there.

Convicted without a trial.

When I first get to a hotel, I get settled. I kick off my shoes. I set my computer up on the desk. I put my bag down on the bed and unzip it to put my hanging clothes in the cupboard. However, when I open the door, I almost always encounter this:

To me, this says, “Hello, thief!”

When the hotel decided to reduce the theft of their hanger by installing these, they send the subconscious signal that every hotel guest can’t be trusted to resist the idea of picking up a few new hangers on their trip. In my case, this is justified, because whenever I see the regular kind of hangers, I fill up my suitcase. It seems about right considering the expectations set for my moral character.

Location, location, location.

What I lack in trustworthiness, I make up for in cleanliness. I nearly always exercise good grooming when I travel. But I am often surprised by the location of my supplies. It’s not uncommon to have this type of bathroom counter encounter:

Maybe I’m doing it wrong…

When you stay in a hotel, where do you wash your hair? In the sink? I’ll wager not. Maybe I’m strange, but I wash my hair in the shower. However, hotels nearly always put the shampoo next to the sink. Why don’t they put it the shower where the majority of people are going to use it? The answer is because they didn’t think about that; they didn’t deliberately look at where they put the shampoo and how that plays out in the Customer’s experience. And in most cases, it’s not a big deal, either. But having the shampoo in the shower is handy—especially if you are already showering and are ready to wash your hair, and didn’t necessarily remember to grab it off the counter next to the bloody sink.

For MY convenience…I think not!

Next to airlines, few places on Earth take greater advantage of Customer’s poor planning and laziness than the hotel mini bar. Stocked with alcohol and carbohydrates in their many forms, the hotel mini bar is a lesson in supply and demand (and by supply, I mean right-there-without-going-to-find-a-convenience-store supply), as anyone who has paid $7.50 for a mini-bag of cookies can attest. However, it is also a lesson in subconscious messages, particularly the sign that read, “For your convenience, items that are removed will automatically be charged.” However, I don’t think that is for my convenience but for the hotel’s.

Am I just hacked off at hotels? No! Well, okay…maybe a little. However, I reserve my ire for hotels that don’t think about the Customer first and the organization second.

If you asked the managers of the hotels where these instances occurred if it was their intention to send these signals, that hotel guests were hanger-thieving, sink-bathing, cookie munchers, they would likely deny it. They would also probably wonder why you asked. Because the truth is, many hotels don’t realize the messages their experience moments are sending. The hotels are who they are and that is what comes across in their Customer Experience, making their experience, in many little ways, an accident.

Many chains do the right things for the Customer that make he or she feel like valued guests instead of derelicts. The Mandarin Oriental Hotels are an example of a hotel that puts much thought into how to put the Customer at the center of what they do. How do they do this? They do it by looking at thing as if they were a Customer, or what we call and outside-in approach.  They make sure there is nothing accidental about their experience, but instead deliver a deliberate experience that appeals to the conscious and subconscious emotions of their guests.

Listen, accidents happen; it’s part of business. But how you treat your Customer should never be one of them. Each detail of your Customer Experience should be designed to evoke the right emotions from your Customers—and not be left to chance.

Is your Customer Experience an accident?

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin on Periscope 8-4 Blog Banner LargeColin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawIs Your Customer Experience Accidental?

Destroying Brand Experience, One at a Time

by Colin Shaw on July 28, 2015

Brands are a fluid concept that can be destroyed in an instant. Brands make promises that should be kept by the people that deliver the experience. When the brand experience falls short of the promise, Customers feel disappointed, frustrated, and frankly, hacked off!

For example, I recently purchased my new car. Having seen the adverts, undertaking the research online, and comparing various reviews, I narrowed my choices between a GMC Yukon or a Lincoln Navigator. Therefore, the next step was a visit to the local dealers.

Let’s take a look at my two experiences and see what we all can learn about fulfilling the brand promise for our Customers at the Customer Experience level.

First: The Yukon Experience
On visiting the Yukon dealer, my wife Lorraine and I were greeted warmly. We explained what we wanted and we were walked into the back area of the dealership to be shown the latest car, amongst all the puddles and dirt.

Brands and dealers are going to great expense to show the car off in the best environment.  However, this particular dealer was not.

The test drive was good as it enabled me to get a sense of what the car felt like. Therefore, we can learn that playing with the product is a key part of decision-making. Now that I had a better idea about this part of the puzzle, I needed to know the price.

When we returned from the test drive, I asked our sales rep, how much the car cost.  He said, “It’s clear that you are at the beginning of your buying process. I would prefer to give you a price when you have seen all of the other cars you intend to review.I want to be the last guy you talk to about the car you want.”  I told him that I understood that but from a practicality standpoint, that didn’t work for us. So I asked him again, how much?  He refused. I was amazed. I said, “If we walk out of the dealership without the price, we will not return.”  He said, “Okay.” So, we left–with a bad opinion of the representative, the dealership and the brand at GMC.

What we can all learn from this: I find this amazing I even have to say this next sentence. When a Customer asks you how much a product is, tell them. In this case, refusing to tell me a price showed me that the dealer representative was simply trying to coax as much money out of me as possible. This approach does not inspire trust for a major purchase.

On to the Lincoln Experience
Our next visit was to our local  Lincoln dealership. Our experience there was quite different.  The salesman informed us he was not paid a commission, which told us there would be no high-pressure sales techniques. When we asked for the price after the test drive, he gave it to us. However, he wrote it on the back of his business card, which I didn’t think was very professional.

What we can all learn from this: Paying salespeople on commission drives the wrong behaviors. But paying people on Customer satisfaction also doesn’t ensure success, as what followed was a catalog of errors.

What Happened Next?
After discussing the matter with Lorraine, we decided to buy the Lincoln. But the only “offer” we had received from our Lincoln dealer was written on the back of a business card. We asked for a more formal quote, details of what the warranty would cover, and the payments as we decided to lease the car. We expected this to be forthcoming, so we were surprised when we were informed that this wasn’t possible and he’d given us all the figures. I asked to read the contract as I am wary of car contracts and was looking for the loopholes. He said it was a standard contract, and he couldn’t email it to us. He did tell me that I could come “collect” it. Then he said a phrase that always means the opposite of what someone really thinks. He said, “With respect (which really means they don’t respect me), these contracts are signed hundreds of times per day.” To me that means he was saying I should just trust him and not ask such annoying questions! Lincoln is a premium brand; I expect a premium experience and this was now falling far short of my expectation.

Furthermore, all correspondence with the sales representative took place with his personal Yahoo email account, with neither the dealership’s name nor Lincoln as a domain name. This is a miss as it gives this premium brand an amateur feel, i.e., less-professional.

What we can learn from this: When a Customer asks you for detailed information regarding the transaction for a major purchase (read: expensive!), provide them a professional quote detailing what they are getting and what it covers.

Despite our frustration, we placed the order (reluctantly) as their price was the lowest by far of any other quote we received. However, we received no letter of confirmation or thanks for ordering the car–no sign of appreciation or documentation of any kind. We were quoted six to eight weeks for delivery. What followed next was missed dates and failure to contact us when promised regarding the delivery (We escalated the matter to Lincoln Navigator via Twitter, and that did the magic trick in applying pressure!).

When we picked up the car the salesman acknowledged we had issues but asked that we still gave him a high Customer satisfaction score as this is what he was bonused on it. He was clearly gaming the system. When the survey came through I marked it honestly. Some parts good, some parts very poor. What happened next was amazing. the salesman wrote to us complaining that we had given him a poor score! He protested that it wasn’t the dealer’s fault it was Lincoln. I explained they were one and the same.

Suffice it to say, we were not overly impressed with our experience at Lincoln either. Nor our subsequent treatment by their Finance arm in setting up the lease payments, another whole story in itself.

What we can learn from this: Do NOT game the system. When Customers give you a low score, do not write to them and complain! The finishing touches of an experience send us subconscious signals that let us know we just paid for a prestigious service from a prestigious brand. Without these touches (a formal quote, a contract delivery, a thank you note, or even a delivery date in writing), you lose some of the prestige promised by the brand which leaves Customer feeling disappointed with the Experience–and the brand.

Buying a car is just like buying any other commodity; it’s just more expensive than most! Therefore, the value lies in the experience that you have at the dealers. It is so sad to see how great brands can get it so wrong. The money  spent on advertising, promotion, product development, brand building, and infrastructure can be destroyed in the experience with the Customer.

What has been your best or worst car buying experience? What signals did it send to you? I’d be interested to hear your take on the industry in the comments below.

Colin ShawDestroying Brand Experience, One at a Time

Change Your Mindset for Greater Productivity

by Colin Shaw on July 23, 2015

You have all done it. I know I have. It’s natural these days to stop working on a project and check your feeds, see how your post is performing, or how many favorites your latest Tweet earned. Yes, we may all be doing it, but it’s killing our chance of reaching greater productivity and harming the quality of our work.

Author Ed Batista addresses this in his post on Harvard Business Review’s blog. He compares to our global connectivity with the famous marshmallow test for kids from the late 1960s. For those of you not familiar with the marshmallow test, the researchers gave children aged 4 to 6 a choice. They could eat a Marshmallow now or wait to eat it for 15 minutes and get two marshmallows. Researchers went on to discover that the kids who waited for the second marshmallow did better in various ways in their lives, from higher SAT scores to other measures of “success.

Batista thinks that information about others around us has become the new marshmallow. When it comes to delayed gratification, however, we are all failing the test.

It’s an interesting point he brings up. There is a new video circulating about how we need to stop obsessing about our screens and enjoy our lives more. I believe in this as well, even writing about the first video I saw about this a few months ago. I think that social media to excess might be the next generation’s big regret.

Batista says that the “blips of information” we crave as grown-ups had its roots in times when we didn’t have access to so much information. As a result, our brains crave information when it is available. We know that it is valuable. So, we look for it often, even when we are embroiled in a complex task that should be our focus…and it gratifies us in the same way a marshmallow does a four-year-old.

Productivity is crucial in one’s work. I read on an airline magazine that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week. The least productive day is Wednesday. I wonder, is that because engagement on Social media kicks up on hump day?

So how do we fix this? Social media is here to stay. No matter how many videos eloquently chastise us to stop wasting so much time looking at screens, we still will. At the same time, we still will need to be productive. When you look at it that way, it feels like an insurmountable problem.

There are ways to overcome one’s bad habits, however, even if they are unorthodox. Consider the method employed by a San Francisco-based entrepreneur. Maneesh Sethi, author and blogger of Hack the System hired a person on Craigslist to slap him every time he lost his focus on the task at hand. Interestingly enough, he paid them $8 an hour to do this. The results were surprising. Before the slapper, his research indicated that he wasted 38% of his time on “other interests, which you and I know as Facebook and Reddit. After the slapper, his productivity rose to 98%. Sethi tried this tactic several times with different slappers, and the results were always good, although better when the slapper was a stranger.

While the method is outlandish, the reason it works isn’t. Sethi said that once he made a commitment to change his behavior, it changed his mindset and facilitated his success. A person can change their less than desirable behavior once they decide to. Otherwise, no one would ever have quit smoking, stopped biting their nails, or turned off any of the Real Housewives programs.

Ultimately, we are emotional beings. We like how it feels to know what’s going on in the world, with our followers, with our posts, and our online community. Sometimes these breaks can serve as little breathers in a complex task.  I’m not saying that there is no place for this activity when you need to be productive. It’s when they become the focus that the problem with productivity ensues.

I like to think that if I had been chosen to do the marshmallow test that I would have been one of the brilliant tykes who waited for the 15 minutes to get an extra treat. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I would have, but my point is that I would like to have been.

So bringing that concept into my adulthood, I must make the mindset that I will resist the information marshmallows that will disrupt my day and focus on the task at hand. The memes and cat videos will just have to wait. And my reward will be that I will finish my tasks, and have plenty of time to go out and catch up on what I missed on my feeds.

How do you resist the temptation to waste time online? Tips and tricks would be great to share for all of us in the comments below.

RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with an irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawChange Your Mindset for Greater Productivity

How to Make a Great First Impression with Your Website

by Colin Shaw on July 21, 2015

Many Customer’s first impression of your company come from their User Experience on your website, making the digital experience the face of your business. Considering Customers make decisions about your website based on the User Interface in about three seconds, clearly your website needs to make a great impression quickly. The question is, why is it important to make a great first impression online?

First Impressions Matter

Whether you are talking about new people in your life or new companies you are considering giving your business, the first impression is important. Some studies have revealed that even after first hand knowledge is obtained the first impression can still weigh more in a person’s opinion about the individual.

We judge all books by their covers. We judge people, too, except it isn’t the cover we judge but how they say, “hello.”According to a study by Phil McAleer, a psychologist at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, the first word you hear a person speak makes a first impression. He studied the reaction of 64 people to the word hello (that was part of a larger paragraph he recorded them reading). He then had 324 people listen to the recorded word, “Hello” and give their opinions. Most of them agreed on the personality traits of the individual based on their voices.

Key Elements that New Users View

So what makes a great first impression (the “Hello”) the User Experience on your website says? The answer, like many things, depends on who is looking. Subconsciously, different signals in the user interface send messages to be interpreted by the individual loading the site. For example, what a job applicant is looking for in a digital experience is a lot different than what the average Customer wants.  Furthermore, since so many visits are initiated on mobile devices today, your site needs to make that impression quickly and in fewer pixels.

But no matter who the person is or why they are loading the site, or even what device they use to load it, there are few things that are undeniably important to making a great first impression with your Customers on their digital experience.

According to Conversionxl.com, a recent eye tracking study research shows some key elements that are critical to viewers in their User experience. If they found these elements (and liked them) users spent more time on the page. These key elements included:

  •      Your Logo:  The average time spent focuses here was 6.48 seconds
  •      Navigation Menu: 6.44 seconds
  •      Search Box: 6.0 seconds
  •      Written Content: 5.59 seconds
  •      Bottom Edge of Website: 5.25 seconds

Recently, I realized that my site needed an overhaul. It was time because I realized that the first impression I was sending with my old site was one that was going to be challenging to overcome. I am pleased with the end product.

If your Customers are using their digital experience to create their first impression with your organization, with what will they be greeted in the user interface? Will it be an easy to navigate, visually appealing site that seems to anticipate the needs of their user experience? Will it load quickly on their mobile device or web browser or show them the hourglass or spinning wheel of death? First impressions are the most important ones; so make sure yours is the one you want.

How did you design your digital experience to make a great first impression on Customers? We’d all be interested to hear your insight in the comments below.

featured-V3_ricoh

Ricoh – How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 Months Webinar –RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with an irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawHow to Make a Great First Impression with Your Website

Training Employees on Nonverbal Clues

by Colin Shaw on July 16, 2015

When you hear a person (read Customer) sigh, what do you think they are communicating? Is it sadness? Frustration? Exhaustion? All three? Chances are, it’s a subconscious communication of many things, including all of the above. It’s important to identify what nonverbal clues like a sigh communicates—whether you are the one that heard it or the one that is doing it.

The University of Oslo researched the motivation and interpretation of sighs in a series of three studies and concluded following about the act of sighing:

  • A sigh typically signifies a negative mood (e.g., disappointment, frustration, defeat, ennui, or wistfulness).
  • It happens with equal frequency in public and private, an indication that it might not be intentional communication (read: a subconscious reaction).
  • People mostly interpret sighing from others as conveying a negative emotion (in the study, ten times more often than positive emotions), usually sadness.
  • People interpret their own sighs as frustration.
  • When participants were observed assembling a complicated puzzle, 77% of them sighed, but most of them denied they did.

In a study from the University of Leuven, researchers suggest that sighing can also be a physical and mental reset for your body. They looked at the breathing patterns of participants for 20 minutes. They found right before the subject sighed, their breathing pattern varied. Sometimes it was shallower than before and sometimes it was faster. They discovered that when you breathe the same way all the time, your lung function is less efficient. So a sigh can stretch them out again, and create a feeling of relief.

Reading the Subconscious Signal of a Sigh

I found these results interesting. I know I must sigh, but like the puzzlers in the Oslo study, I don’t notice it every time I do it. Also, I am not always negative when I sigh—sometimes I am just happy or content. Or maybe glad to be sitting down for a minute. I’m sure many of you are the same.

However, when the researchers looked at it in more depth, they revealed sighs are a form of nonverbal communication, whether they are intended that way or not. And the nonverbal communication of a sigh is that you are feeling something negative like impatience or sadness most of the time.

When we train front line people on how to read nonverbal communication, we recognize this is a critical part of emotional intelligence. We all do it all the time. We know when our significant other has crossed arms they are feeling stern (or cold. I prefer that one, because it’s usually easier to fix than stern). We know when someone isn’t meeting our eye they are hiding their feelings from us. We know when someone spits the words out, they aren’t happy. How many times have you heard in the midst of an argument, “It’s not what you said! It’s how you said it!”? Non-verbal cues, like sighing, are another part of this interpretation as well. When training front-line teams, it is critical they can interpret not only what Customers nonverbal clues communicate but also what they communicate with their own.

Why Do You Sigh?

So if sighs are a common part of your nonverbal communication, and sighs have a general association with negative emotions, does frequent sighing make you a negative person? Maybe or maybe not. But what the study revealed is that negative is what people interpret when you do it.

Considering that most people interpret sighs as a negative nonverbal communication, you would be wise to gain self-awareness about the frequency and the motivation for your sighing. Even if it isn’t driven by a glass-half-empty mindset, that’s what it usually communicates. Furthermore, you aren’t always aware you are sighing, so you could ostensibly communicate this negativity more often than you think.

So…what do you think? Do you think sighing is a negative nonverbal communication? I’d be interested to hear your opinions in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:


RICOH Canada had a vision:
to be the most trusted brand with an irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!


Colin Shaw
is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawTraining Employees on Nonverbal Clues

3 Ways to Tell if Your Customer Relationship is All About You

by Colin Shaw on July 14, 2015

Sometimes we have a relationship we think is good, but it really isn’t. It’s true in friendships, marriages, and yes, even business relationships. There are some signs that your Customer relationship is all about you, or one-sided, and they are easier to spot than you think.

Many of the things that make personal relationships fail make your relationship with Customers one-sided. I wrote a blog a while back about some friends who only called me when they wanted something. Over time, I learned they aren’t really friends. If one side has to make all the effort, it’s not a productive, equal, or fruitful relationship. Many organizations are guilty of this behavior whether they realize it or not. The first step for change, however, requires awareness.

To that end, here are three ways you can identify how you are making your relationship with Customers one-sided:

#1:  You don’t take no for an answer.

If your technique is to keep trying to overcome objections until you get to “Yes,” you are not asking for the business; you are demanding it. This method is not the way to set up a relationship that is open and honest with your current and future customers. Instead, you encourage them to find a new relationship, a competitor who listens to what they have to say.

#2:  Your Customer retention plan includes penalties or fines if they want to end the relationship.

Locking someone in an agreement by threats of penalties is not a great way to start a relationship. Is this a relationship or an indentured servitude? It virtually guarantees they will want to get out of this arrangement once they become a “client.” But since you have the handy fine in place, they will have no choice but to bear it out until the contract ends. Fines and penalties are in place to protect you from losses. If you find that the Customer is always winning, and you are not, this is not good for business. From an operational standpoint you can’t always be the one that loses. Of course, Customers can’t always feel like they lose either. That’s terrible from a retention standpoint. A relationship is a two-way street. It should build on a win/win foundation.

#3:  Your policy is to renew this cycle, over and over again.

Maybe these two sound familiar, Maybe you think I am naïve or that my label of one-sided is code for “how it’s done.” However, Customer Centricity puts the Customer first, not the organization. Those that don’t put the Customer first are more likely to have these types of policies, creating relationships that exhibit classic signs of one-sidedness. If you support either of these concepts, maybe it’s time for you to take another look at the relationship you set up with your Customers.

Is Your Relationship with Your Customers All about You?

So how do you know you are in a One-Sided relationship, and on the wrong side of it? That’s easy: the relationship leaves you feeling emotionally spent instead of recharged. If you feel drained by it, threatened into it or afraid to find out what would happen if you were to change it, then you have a classic one-sided relationship.

Relationships are everywhere in your life, good and bad. Mostly we keep the good relationships close and find a way to kick the bad ones to the curb. It is easy to imagine this relationship playing out in a romantic sense. It can sometimes be harder to see in “other” relationships–especially if you are the one making it that way.

What are some other signs of a one-sided relationship? I would love to hear what you think some other signs show an organization is only thinking of themselves and not the Customer.

featured-V3_ricohRicoh – How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 Months Webinar 
RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

 

Colin Shaw3 Ways to Tell if Your Customer Relationship is All About You

Women Want Social Responsibility from Their Brands

by Colin Shaw on July 9, 2015

The demand for corporate social responsibility continues to sweep the brand marketplace. According to new research from Nielsen, corporate social responsibility is important as a benefit to positive branding efforts.  We also know for your brand reputation positive press is key. What you may not realize, however, it is also critical to winning the hearts and minds of the coveted group of women consumers.

Competition in the marketplace is fierce. Every brand needs to find any way possible to differentiate themselves from their competitors. My angle is typically about Customer Experience. My regular readers know that how your Customers feel about your experience is a big part (over 50% based on our research) of how they feel about your brand and their loyalty to it. I regularly beat the drum of evoking the right emotions from your Customers with your Customer Experience and brand promise.

Women make the lion’s share of shopping decisions in many categories. Therefore, appealing to what matters to them is important. The Nielsen Global Survey discovered a new way one could differentiate their brand and evoke positive emotions from its female Customers: through promoting their social responsibility programs. It is important to note that while the greater impact for most of the social responsibility programs was on female consumers, male consumers also preferred companies that go green, create sustainable products and give back to society.

Women said they felt strongly connected or somewhat agreed with the following causes:

  • 63% to increase access to clean water; men were at  56%
  • 57% to eradicating world hunger; men were at 50%
  • 55% to combating communicable diseases; men were at 47%
  • 55% to reducing child mortality; men were at 45%

To see the Nielsen chart,  click here.

Corporate responsibility is growing as an important litmus test for consumers. A 2014 Nielsen survey revealed 55% (global average) of respondents, male and female, would pay more for products from companies with a commitment to corporate social responsibility. This percentage represented an increase of 10% over the previous three years (45% global average in 2011). To see all the numbers from the survey, click here.

Being genuine and appropriate is the best way to brand using social responsibility as a platform. In other words, just slapping any old socially responsible program on your brand doesn’t work as well as one that “fits” your brand. Nielsen learned the most successful companies branding on social responsibility identified a social cause internally they felt important to their organization and matched it to what consumers expect from them based on their product or service. This 4-minute video by Nielsen explains it best.

Nielsen makes it clear your brand needs to make strong connections to appropriate socially responsible programs to evoke the proper emotions from its Customers, particularly when women are your targets. These should be important to your Customers, and also important to your organization to have the most appeal in the court of public opinion. Furthermore, these should not be kept a secret but shouted from the mountaintops to differentiate your brand in the crowded and fierce marketplace we contend with today.

We know that how Customers FEEL about your brand, regardless of their gender, is critical to your bottom line. What we are learning through Nielsen’s research is that how they feel about how you generate that bottom line—with social responsibility—is also critical to how they FEEL about your brand. Especially, as it turns out, when you consider your female Customers.

RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar, “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawWomen Want Social Responsibility from Their Brands

Driving Value by Driving Emotions

by Colin Shaw on July 7, 2015

When it comes to Customer loyalty and retention, most organizations want to appeal to the rational side of their Customers. What I know from over a decade in the Customer Experience game, however, is that rationality has less to do with it than you think. Over 50% of the Customer’s Experience is tied to their emotions. So if you want to earn a Customer’s loyalty and keep them coming back to you, you have to embrace the emotional side.

Maybe you believe me already, which is great. Maybe you are ready to do something about it, but you might have questions, such as:

  • How do you create a deliberate emotional experience for your Customers that keeps them coming back?
  • What emotions should we be trying to evoke?
  • When it comes to forecasting, how do you use emotional data to predict the future?

And probably most importantly,

  • How do you know if it’s working?

Let’s touch on a general answer for each question for now to get you started on your path to a better Customer Experience.

How to Create a Deliberate Customer Experience?

Many organizations think they have no control over how a Customer feels. They instead choose to create an experience that is rationally sound and efficient–although typically only efficient for the company, not the Customer. They look at their experience from the inside facing out. To create a deliberate Customer experience, it is essential is to take the Outside-In Approach, which means to look at the experience as if you were a Customer. You must see it as if for the first time, and note how you feel throughout each moment. This awareness helps you understand how emotions drive a Customer’s behavior. Additionally, you get the opportunity to change how these moments make Customers feel moving forward.

Here is a short video that explains in more detail how this worked for the Norwich Group in the UK.

What Emotions Should the Customer Experience Evoke?

Emotions play an important role in the motivations behind people’s behavior. When it comes to Customer Loyalty and Retention, some of these emotions drive value while others do not. We undertook years of research with the London Business School to determine what emotions are best for driving the behavior we want. After 50,000 participants answered 1.25 million questions about what they want and 1 million questions about how they felt, we learned there are 20 emotions that drive and destroy value in a Customer Experience:

The emotional engagement one feels with an organization is what we call an Emotional Signature.  First, you must determine what Emotional Signature you want for the business and then design an experience that evokes those emotions at the moments you determined in your earlier outside-in approach.

How Do You Use Emotional Data to Predict the Future?

Predictive analytics explains how some organizations hypothesize a future outcome based on existing patterns from data sets in the past. The concept here is that the data exists that can help all of us improve our operations and make better decisions for our Customers.

The predictions are only as good as your data. To use Emotional Data to predict future behavior for your Customers, you must have detailed emotional data to analyze. If you do have detailed data regarding the emotional state of your Customers related to your Experience, you would have a better chance of making sound predictions. If you don’t, you are just taking a lot of time to come up with your best guess.

If you want to learn more about Predictive Analytics, this article in the Harvard Business Review is a great start.

How Do You Know If It’s Working?

When it comes to measurement of your Emotional Signature work for your Customer Experience, a great place to start is with the Net Promoter Score (NPS). The NPS is a tool designed to measure the loyalty of your Customers. Research shows Customers with a High NPS are less price-sensitive, spend more than Customer with lower scores and create higher margins for an organization. They are also responsible for the coveted “word of mouth” referrals of which every organization dreams of increasing.

Measuring an increase in your Customers with a high Net Promoter Score is for the time being the best way to determine if your efforts to evoke the proper emotions during your Customer Experience are working. One of our great success stories was with Maersk Shipping Lines, the largest shipping container company in the world with revenues in the billions (with a b). Using our systems, they improved their NPS from a -10 to a +30 in 30 months—a 40-point improvement.

To learn more about this particular case, please watch the webinar here.

Are You Ready to Get the Answers to Your Questions?

I realize this is tricky, that emotions aren’t very “Business-like.” However, the emotions you evoke in your Experience have a significant influence on your ability to retain a Customer. It is essential to recognize this and also to measure the ability of your Customer Experience to deliver the right emotions to generate the best results.

The answers to your questions are available if you are ready to know them. But be aware, it will require in some cases difficult change and for many organizations a different approach to business as usual.

What do you think? Are you ready to get answers to your questions about the emotions in your Customer Experience?

RICOH Canada had a vision: to be the most trusted brand with irresistible appeal in their market. Join us at our webinar , “Ricoh Case Study: How We Moved Our Loyalty Score by 34 Points in 30 months” to learn from CEO Glenn Laverty how their focus on a customer-centric approach improved their Net Promoter Score by 34-points and grew their business 115%. Reserve your spot today!

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

 

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter @ColinShaw_CX

Colin ShawDriving Value by Driving Emotions

What Customer-Centric Companies Must Do To Become Customer-Obsessed

by Michael Lowenstein on July 5, 2015

Michael Lowenstein, Ph.D., CMC, is Thought Leadership Principal for Beyond Philosophy

In building relationships with customers, and value for them, my long-time observation is that most organizations tend to progress through several stages of performance as they are becoming truly customer-centric: a) customer awareness, b) customer sensitivity, c) customer focus, and d) customer obsession.

Here is the ‘executive summary’ version of some conditions of each stage, and how the movement to customer obsession takes place within the enterprise.

Customer Awareness

– Customers are known, but in the aggregate – Organization believes it can select its customers and understand their needs – Measurement of performance is rudimentary, if it exists at all; and customer data are siloed – Traditional, hierarchical, top-down management model, ‘chimneyed’ or ‘smokestack’ communication (goes up or down, but not horizontal) with little evidence of teaming

Customer Sensitivity

– Customers are known, but still mostly in the aggregate – Customer service is somewhat more evident (though still viewed as a cost center), with a focus on complaint and problem resolution (but not proactive complaint generation; internal groups tend to point fingers and blame each other for negative customer issues – Measurement is mostly around customer attitudes and functional transactions, i.e. satisfaction, with little awareness of emotional relationship drivers – Principally traditional, hierarchical, top-down management model, ‘chimneyed’ or ‘smokestack’ communication (goes up or down, but not horizontal) with some evidence of teaming (mostly in areas of complaint resolution)

Customer Focus

– Customers and both known and valued, down to the individual level, and they are recognized as having different needs, both functional and emotional – Customer life cycle is front-and-center; and performance measurement is much more about emotion and value drivers than satisfaction – Service and value provision is regarded as an enterprise priority; and customer stabilization and recovery are goals when problems or complaints arise – Communication and collaboration with customers, between employees, and between employees and customers is featured – Management model and style is considerably more horizontal, with greater emphasis on teaming to improve customer value processes

It’s notable that, at this more evolved and advanced stage of enterprise customer-centricity, complaints are thought of more in terms of a life cycle component, and recovery is more of a strategy than resolution:

Customer Obsession

– Throughout the organization, customer needs and expectations – especially those that are emotional – are well understood, and response is appropriate (and often proactive)

– Everyone is involved in providing value to customers – from C-suite to front-line – and everyone understands his/her role. Customer behavior is recognized as essential to enterprise success, and optimal relationships are sought

– Performance measurement is focused, and shared, on what most monetizes customer behavior (loyalty, emotion, and communication metrics such as brand bonding and advocacy, replacing satisfaction and recommendation)

– Customer service (along with pipelines and processes) is an enterprise priority, and seen as a vital, and profitable, element of value delivery

– Management model is far more horizontal, replacing traditional hierarchy; and there is an emphasis on teaming, and inclusion of customers, to create or enhance value

Companies that are customer-obsessed, and what makes them both unique and successful, have been extensively profiled by consultants and the business press. Often, they go so far as to create emotionally-driven, engaged and even branded experiences for their customers, strategically differentiating them from their peers.

In addition, these companies focus on the complete customer life cycle, and much more on retention, loyalty and risk mitigation (and even winback) than acquisition. Support experiences are strategic, nimble and seamless, and often omni-channel. Multiple sources of data are used to develop insights. Recognizing the information needs of their customers, they invest in altruistic content creation (over advertising); and they communicate proactively and in as personalized a manner as possible.

Customer obsession, what I refer to as ‘inside-out’ customer-centricity, has been a frequent subject of my blogs and articles. We’ve seen many examples of companies that have, or created, these kinds of cultures and levels of value delivery: Zappos, SunTrust Bank, Wegmans, Southwest Airlines, IKEA, Virgin, Rackspace, Disney, Zane’s Cycles, USAA, Target, Ritz Carlton, IBM, QVC, Umpqua Bank, Costa Coffee, etc. One of Albert Einstein’s iconic quotes reflects the complete dedication, of resources and values, needed for an organization to optimize its relationships with customers: “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master.” Mastery requires, as well, a storehouse of experience coming from experimentation; so, just like in the pole vault and high jump, we can expect that the customer-centricity bar will continue to be raised.

Michael LowensteinWhat Customer-Centric Companies Must Do To Become Customer-Obsessed