HARNESS THE POWER OF ‘BEING HUMAN’
Every business, regardless of size, understands the vital role of customer acquisition.
After all, customers mean sales, which in turn implies revenue. And let’s face it, all companies need income to thrive.
Businesses also understand that customers will come and go.
It’s a harsh reality that perhaps many businesses have grown accustomed to. Once a customer Success department is established, it is natural to assume that customer after-sales experience will improve, complaints will be handled, and customer attrition will be checked. Resources are then channeled towards marketing and sales to boost revenue.
And why not?
We live in a world with 7.8 billion people.
There is no dearth of customers!
But ask yourself this.
If every business floated simply on customer acquisition, then why do so many go under?
For most businesses, the number one reason for growth stagnation is inadequate prioritization of customer retention.
Let’s quickly examine some statistics to understand the magnitude of such an engagement on a company’s revenue.
For many struggling businesses and startups, money is limited. Even if it comes in amounts adding up to millions, a large portion is diverted towards advertisement, promotions, and sales incentives. However, once a customer pool has been established, a company’s spending policy doesn’t change from acquisition to retention. Most businesses center their vision around growth, profitability, and stakeholder satisfaction.
Millions are spent annually on R&D. And why not? The most common sentiment is that it takes a niche product or service for a business to be successful.
After all, in today’s saturated markets, no product or service will gain a foothold unless it offers something niche.
This goes to show how little people truly know about what it takes to keep a company afloat.
Consider Some Of The Most Expensive Startup Failures
- Essential Products (smartphone) received US$ 330 million in funding but closed within three years of launch.
- ScaleFactor (technology) received US$ 104 million but sank, quoting the pandemic.
- Arrivo (futuristic transport) dissolved due to their inability to secure new funding. The company received US$ 1 billion (disclosed) as initial funding.
If a billion US dollars and a unique product cannot keep your company afloat, what can?
How about US$100 billion?
- Enron went from US$ 100 billion in “revenue” in early 2001 to bankruptcy by year-end.
- Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy with US $900 million debt.
It’s not rocket science. Funding and product uniqueness didn’t drive these businesses to success.
PEOPLE, NOT PRODUCTS OR FUNDING ARE THE LIFE OF ANY BUSINESS
What Do We Mean By People?
Prior to 1988, companies didn’t consider their employees as “customers.” Not until Joseph M. Juran, a quality-management writer, introduced the concept in his Quality Control Handbook.
The concept is quite simple. Employees are the internal customer, while clients are considered as the external customer.
Why Do Employees Matter?
It’s a well-known but often overlooked fact that employees control all communications with a business’s customers.
And customers have always sought more than just a service or product.
Today, brand building can cost anywhere between US$ 10,000 and US$ 500,000. No matter how futuristic or niche your product or service, building a strong brand is key to success. Without understanding its target consumer, a business will only be spending thousands or millions going in the wrong direction.
Why So Much?
Consumer behavior demands that a brand stands for something. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make the consumer believe that what you offer is authentic, trustworthy, and unique.
Is There A Cheaper Way?
A business’s employees are responsible for maintaining its values, providing outstanding customer experience, and fulfilling promises the company makes to its customers.
- If employees love their jobs, and better still, their companies, they’re likely to spread positivity.
- Equally, if an employee doesn’t like their job, negativity and resentment will propagate.
- Your employee’s attitude can overshadow thousands, even millions, spent on brand building.
- Employees should be at the forefront of your efforts.
A business that places its employees’ wellbeing last will eventually experience high attrition and related costs. Not just that, dissatisfaction and a hostile work environment will spiral beyond the office.
When employees feel connected with a business’s vision and culture, long-term success follows.
So How Do You Encourage Employee Engagement?
Creating positive customer experiences necessitates personalization. A human touch. This personalization should not be limited to a business’s customer support, sales teams, or managers.
IT IS THE EMPLOYEES THAT LINKS THE LEADER AND THE IDEA TO THE CUSTOMER AND CONSUMERS
If your customers cannot relate to your employees, they cannot connect to your product or service.
Why Employees Need Customer Success and Support Training
While many companies consider themselves to be truly customer-focused, how many truly are? It isn’t enough to simply add ‘customer-centric’ to a business’s image only for an employee to counter it. Every employee, even those in a non-customer facing role, must understand how pivotal customer experience is to the business’s brand.
Therefore, it is critical to show employees how they play a role in a company’s customer-centric culture.
- Empower your employees and encourage them to “be human.”
- Give them the training, experience, and customer knowledge to be the ‘mouthpiece’ for your brand.
- Believe and implement the thought that employees are an organization’s most valuable asset.
- Explore the value of micro-learning and invest in your people.
What Will Employees Gain From Customer Success Training?
Being Genuine and Keeping Promises – Often, employees find themselves trapped between their company’s expectations and the client’s. Under pressure, they make overarching promises. And when they fail, a customer’s patience and trust are lost.
The Art of Communication – Communication goes beyond speaking and listening. Employees need tools and skills to communicate in a manner that reflects genuine care and empathy. Communication is futile if concerns are not considered, and if the feedback is not utilized to improve. Communication also necessitates action.
A COMPLAINT MUST BE FOLLOWED BY AN ACTION THAT LIFTS THE CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE
Pacify, Don’t Argue – To establish that a business truly ‘cares’ for a customer, complaints must be met with empathy and understanding. Arguing accomplishes little in that moment, and also wreaks havoc in the long-term.
Positivity – when employees feel valued through investments in their training and wellbeing, it will reflect in their interactions with customers.
Product Knowledge and Understanding – When employees undergo training, it adds to their knowledge and understanding of a company’s products and services. This automatically enables them to answer customer queries. A knowledgeable employee will always impress a customer.
Anticipate Requirements – Most customers are able to communicate their needs. However, there are some who have a fragmented understanding. Frustration arises when an employee cannot leverage product or service knowledge to provide clarity.
Still need convincing?
Let’s consider this instance:
Way back in 2008, an employee damaged David Carroll’s guitar as he sat helplessly in his airplane seat watching from the window. At the earliest opportune moment, he contacted United to report the damage to his property and his concern over the employee’s behavior. When he was met with an attitude of apathy from several more United’s employees, he wrote and recorded “United Breaks Guitars,” a song that has earned 20 million views on Youtube over 11 years.
How about another?
A Southwest flight attendant removed a father and toddler from onboard a flight from Chicago to Atlanta. What went wrong? The toddler was fussy, and the father placed her in his lap to calm her. After several reminders to seat the child safely, the flight attendant got aggressive. When other passengers defended the father, her attitude worsened. The video of the incident earned 1.5 million viewers.
How about when regular employees went above and beyond just because?
- Walmart employee spends two hours assisting a visually handicapped shopper
- Trader Joe delivers to an 89-year-old in the midst of a snowstorm
- Dominos checks in on a patron after an unusual two-week gap
- Target employee coaches a youth for an interview while teaching him to knot a tie
- Trader Joe staff break into song and dance to distract a distressed toddler
In each of these instances, regular employees saw an area of concern and addressed it. They used their emotional intelligence to connect with customers in a powerful way.
Add mindfulness to every step of a product’s or service’s development-to-delivery cycle through employee customer success training to enhance customer satisfaction and ensure loyalty.
Even the most ambiguous non-frontline employee plays a crucial role in making a customer’s experience a positive one—for instance, the thoughtfulness that went into packing a product or correctly placed labels and instructions.
Such employees never interact with customers; however, their efforts can enhance a customer’s experience. Even a corporate decision like engaging in social responsibility and encouraging sustainability can add volumes to a brand’s claims.