Friday, May 21, 2010

The Forgotten Customer, The Employee

We often talk about the customer experience in terms of those who make a financial commitment to our business in the terms of purchase power, life cycles, renewable financial resources etc., But we fail to realise that there is a significant financial investment made by those who work for us or those whom we manage. It isn't measured in direct sales revenue or in terms which are reported on any financial statement, but the investment made by these employees into the success structure of any business or department is of definite note. When working with clients and their businesses, or when I worked as a manager, there was always a separate report that evaluated this investment.

A managers success isn't because of what he accomplished, but is measured in the success of those who served/worked under him. Employee satisfaction can have a positive or negative impact on the bottom line, balance sheet, or it can have a positive impact increasing net worth for the directors or owner.

How do you make the employee experience one where they want to be where they are? It should be addressed in the same way that you do the customer experience. There is a brand promise made by you, the company, the product or manager that always needs to be fulfilled in order to build a trust relationship. Such trust fulfillment generates exceptional employee performance, reduced fraud and and instills a brand pride into their everyday work experience.

Such pride can produce as much as 30% increase in overall performance and revenue generation. If you want to out perform during a financial downturn or recession maybe you should be looking inward in order to grow outward.

As always we invite your comments and insight.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Your Customers Worth

We often forget the real value of our customers and the long term impact that they have on our business operations. In most businesses, unfortunately, the focus is solely on the individual sale that is attained within a specific time of reference. Businesses focus strictly on the point of sale for the most part and not on the customer.

What we seem to forget as business operators, managers, etc is that the customer represents on going income and in most cases the customer life cycle can extend far into the future. If the customer recieves expectation fulfillment from the experience that they have with your business, your services or the product/products that you offer, there is roughly a 70% chance that that particular customer will return and make another purchase of a similar kind. The length of time between purchases would depend on your products life cycle and the customers rate of use.

It has been my experience that when the customer returns they ussually add to the list of product or services that they originally purchased and broaden the customers buying circle. So the question here is how are you managing your customers experiences and in what way do you evaluate the worth of that customer.

In recessions and down turns a customers loyalty to a particular brand, product or business is what brings a business through the rough times. It is the percieved experience of any particular customer that builds that loyalty. Did you fullfill your brand promise. Maybe this should be the focus that a business uses when setting up their recession survival strategies?

We invite your comments as always.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

In Times of Recession

It is amazing that when times get tough in our businesses we seem to create the very behaviors that bring our businesses further down even to the point of closing the doors.

The "Glooms" come out to play, we loose focus of our primary goals, and we spend all our time in trying to find the magic key to deliver us from the Doom Gods. Worst of all we turn away from the two greatest factors in any business or economic turn around, our employees and our customers. It's amazing how businesses in developed countries panic and loose control of their instincts and their self control.

I often travel to underdeveloped countries and what I find are people who thrive in adversity and economies that are in constant flux, and that's mostly in a recessionary down turn. But what I also find are people, who in spite of it all, pay attention to detail and never ever forget the importance of focusing on the customer. The businesses in these countries and communities, whether large or small, know that their very existence is tied to the customers or potential customers perception of their products, service and how the customer is treated as an individual. Perhaps we should learn from this.

The customer's needs will always be there no matter what the economy may be doing, and they will always be looking for ways to meet their needs and solve their problems either in a business to business environment, or as individual consumers. What sets a successful business apart from the rest in an adverse business environment isn't government bailouts, or uncle John's bank account, but the way they recognize and deal with their customers and employees everyday.

In a time when everyone is looking for answers maybe if we learn to use the answers we already have we just may find that success is not just a term for economic upturns. If you want to survive the tough times pay attention to your best friends, your customers and they will always be there to take care of you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm Back

For so many reasons, for none of which I'm really sure of, I have not been actively posting and for that I really do apoligize. But no matter the cause for my absense, I am back, and with a new mission and a re-energized passion for the love of creating great successes in the world and lives of owners, managers and employees of today's businesses. Most of all, for those who want to take their businesses beyound the limited realms of conventional bisness wisdom(?), and who have realised that it is the customer that holds the keys to their success.

The vigor and sustaining life of a business is found in the un-measureable facets of goodwill, smiles, and the unseen passions of those who care more about the people they serve than in the selling of a product or service. And it is to this cause and purpose that I will again write and share the knowledge that I have gained in this area. So Bon appetite, please feel free to endulge in the deluctable servings of the what is the great must for developing a great and successfull business, true customer care.

Please feel free to add your comments

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Defining Customer Service

How do you define customer service? There are indeed many ways to define customer service, but they are generally divided in to two categories. Customer service as defined by a particular business and customer service as it is defined by the customer.

In a business context the cost of customer service is defined as an expense and is often limited to basic services in terms of cost allocated to the cost of sales. In other words it is a function of the sales cycle or sales process most often defined by the marketing department. Even in the event that there is customer service representation the terms and policies are still determined in terms that support the over all sales cycle. Even in manufacturing or in service based companies this is true.

In terms of the customer experience, customer service is defined by the customer. Now, true every customer is different, but the service can be defined by customer segmentation or groups. When the customer defines the terms of service it is independent of the sales process and is need based with a focus shifting away from the sales cycles and sales drivers.

Which is better? It depends on the focus of the business and organisation that uses it, but if you are truly customer centered you will define your customer service and subsequent policies by the later. This applies to all sizes of businesses and organizations.

The customer fulfillment cycle is what really drives long term customer loyalty, increased sales cycles and long term increased valuation.

How are u defining customer service is it bringing you closer to your customers or pushing you farther away?

As always we invite your comments and insights

As always we invite you to share your comments and feedback.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's not Just Customer Service

The old year is passing and with it one of the most maddening weeks of the year for most retail businesses regardless of the country. For B2B businesses it’s a week of slow downs, key people on vacation and year end quotas hanging in jeopardy. The auditors, business owners, and accountants are cranking it up trying to get a head start on closing out the month and year end books, and on top of that a barrage of bargain hunting customers are trying the patience of the most forgiving of customer reps and clerks.

To help in this maddening world of business it is still very important to focus on the customer. Why? First of all they do pay the bills. It is in the customer that we find the reason to keep the doors open and hope for our companies future. With this in mind the idea of customer service isn't enough. Being polite, smiling, gracious, courteous, helpful and a host of other adjectives aren’t going to bring the house down. Customer service is only a part of a larger picture as well as is marketing, and branding. They are all pieces of the "Customer Experience".

It is in the creating and maintaining of the customers experience, both direct and indirect, that will bring success to any business or company. Not in any given process, but in all aspects of any given business that create some defining impact on the customer. So, in the New Year to come, let’s move beyond the realm of customer service. Let us move into the creating and management of the customer experience. It is here that loyalty develops and the true return on any business or companies capital is made.

We are just a few days away from the reflecting on the past year performances, which should be reflected in our consideration of our coming New Years resolutions. Let’s resolve to remake the way we do business and deal with our customers. One that will define us and separate us from the pack. Let us look beyond the realm of customer service to truly serve our clients/customers and expand our horizons for the year to come.

As always we invite your comments.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

It's Happened

We have been inducted into the "Incredible Hall of Acclaim" . This is awarded to people who take writing about customer service seriously and contribute to the on going piles of information that every business owner and manager should read but seldom gets around to it.

We have been inducted along with the likes of Seth Goodin, one of the worlds great marketers. Thank you Maria Palma the founder of . "The Customers Always Right" blog and of the "Incredible Hall of Acclaim" award.

Of course we will wear this distinction with pride and honor.

We welcome your comments as always.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Carnival of Customer Service

In the area of customer srvice , true customer service, the path is filled with land mines and road blocks and of course the misleading phylosophies of customer srvice out there that come from many of the self proclaimed gurus of customer service and marketing. However, I have come to respect and share many different views with Glenn Ross over at His insights are solid and timely.

Glenn this week is hosting "The Carnival on Customer Service". Sharing many various points of value from his insight and those of others. Stop in, take a look, it's worth the effort. There is much to learn in the customer service arena and The Carnival is a good place to start.

As always you are invited to leave your comments

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What Do Customers Expect? - Customer Service

In the on going battle to bring business from the dark ages into the 21st century of customer centered services the defining of what a customer wants has come down to the tug of war between the conceptual idealization of the marketing departments and consultants and that of the customers themselves.

Even in the most forthright of customer service blogs and articles, customer service ideologist have been mislead by the marketing world into identifying marketing concepts as customer service ideologies and perspectives, even to the point of re-labeling traditional marketing jargon to quack like a duck, however underneath the quack there ain’t no waddle. Businesses need to be careful of being mislead in the application of policies that are selfserving and hollow pulling them away from the purpose of customer service and their customer's (market segment)expectations.

It is of the greatest importance that businesses understand the direct relationship between customer service and customer expectations in the terms of the customer not in the terms of the marketing traditionalist. Until businesses can do that and understand how to integrate this "customer perspective" into their marketing, branding, sales and policy development, they will never win the hearts of their potential customers and loyalty as elusive as it is will always be a fleeting fancy.

Soul proprieters and small enterprize companies need to pay even closser attention to how they center their over all planning strategies and growth focus.

We invite any and all comments.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Customer Expectations

There is much to be said about what your customer’s expectations are and what are the customer’s expectations as defined by a given business? Meikah at Customer Service, Global Watch has started to take a few swings at this. It’s worth the reading.

However, what she has signaled out is that the customer expectation from a business perspective is defined by good marketing. Is this wrong? Actually its ok as long as you are careful to meld what the customers really expect from a business or product with the business defined perceptions. In the list cited by Meikah the focus is on creating emotional triggers that move the customer to making a purchase.

This is good right? Yes and no, in most all cases. It appeals to the emotional instincts of the buyer but doesn't really address expectations and often, more than not, leaves the customer empty. Think about it, how many times have u gone into a store or restaurant and felt let down by the expected experience, or bought a product and were left holding less than what your expectations were. And this applies to B2B businesses and products or services as well.

Perhaps defining expectations should be done differently.

We invite your comments as always