A new year is here and I need to make a confession. I admit it. I’ve been critical of leaders who make declarations like “THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE CUSTOMER.” My problem with those types of statements is that I believe every year should be the year of the customer. Why else are we in business?
In support of my position, I offer the following:
If you want to keep customers in 2016….
Worry less about your prices and spend more time elevating your customer experience. According to Accenture, customer churn is linked more to bad service moments than to price related issues.
If you want customers to tell their family and friends about you in 2016….
Focus on making sure you resolve customer issues in ways that don’t just satisfy customers but that also make them “happy.” The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reports than when a brand resolves a dispute in ways that leave customers “happy,” those customers typically tell 4 to 6 people about the brand’s service recovery.
If you want to save money marketing to new customers in 2016…
“Love on” the customers you already have! Research by Bain & Co. proves that it costs 6 to 7 times more to attract than to retain existing customers. Hmm… Spending 7 times more to bring customers into your business (some of whom aren’t loyal by nature) or investing far less on the ones who want to be in relationship with you. Which will you choose this year?
If you want a competitive advantage driving customer engagement in 2016….
Measure and drive employee engagement. In my recently released book Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way, I reference research from Gallup which estimates disengaged employees contribute to lost US productivity of between 450 and 500 billion dollars (yes, that’s billion with a B). My favorite definition of employee engagement is the amount of “discretionary effort” expended by your people. If you want your team to exert more discretionary effort on behalf of your customers, you need to expend more “discretionary effort” on behalf of your team!
I suspect your passion for your customers isn’t “new!” However, the research studies I referenced above should send a jolt of “RENEWED” urgency to executing outstanding customer experiences in this NEW Year!
If you need help, I’m here to listen and offer assistance as you focus on great team and customer experiences in the year ahead. Happy New Year!
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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