Targeting The Smallest Marketplace In The World

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Customer Experience Management | 0 comments

The biggest brands in the world are all now setting their sights on the smallest marketplace in the world, the marketplace of one. With the development of Customer Experience Management, large companies are turning to CXM systems with the aim of treating each and every customer as a unique market, and by understanding each customer, their marketing can then be tailored to appeal to and ‘wow’ each and every individual.

By analysing a customer’s order history, you can begin to anticipate their order future. When combined with insights gleaned from the analysis of ‘big data’ it allows large companies to give their customers a tailored service, where often they seem almost able to predict other products or services the customer would also like, which at its very best almost knows their future needs, and as importantly seldom delivers to them information which is irrelevant or of little interest.

Big data analysis allows companies to see for example that of all its customers that ordered product A and product F, 30% went on to order Product Z, and therefore Product Z might be pro-actively suggested to the remaining 70% that ordered A and F since a significant trend was detected. This of course is a very simplistic example, and in reality the data might yield much more subtle trend information that can be used.

Coupled with analysis of customer data is seeking VoC (Voice of the Customer) as often as possible, and from as many touchpoints as they are able i.e. their website, call centres, stores etc. The implementation of a customer feedback scheme is now viewed by many big corporations as imperative and an integral part of CXM, and its importance is also increasingly being seen by SMEs seeking to really get to know their customers.

An effective feedback scheme allows companies to understand the ‘mood’ of their customers, and see where the CX has fallen short in the eyes of the customer themselves. Since they are usually closed loop feedback schemes, they are also used to be pro-active and perform customer rescues as required.

With the exception of new business or product launches, the days of fixed message mass marketing campaigns from large companies seem set to diminish. Technology is now beginning to allow them to be replaced by marketing tailored to the individual but at volume, leading to a massively increased ROI since the information being received by each customer is more relevant, and more likely to result in a take-up.

Order History2

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone
Read More

Feel Your Customers For Success

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Customer Experience Management, Customer Service, Feedback | 0 comments

Small businesses now look set for their biggest challenge yet, having survived thus far in the face of supermarket giants expanding and discounting into a range of non-food markets such as books, clothes and even car tyres, and then also competition from global online retailers such as Amazon. This latest test from large organisations is in their deployment of the latest advanced CXM (Customers Experience Management) systems to deliver an amazing customer experience.

As we move into the new age of the customer, driven by CXM, we’re fast leaving behind a time when a business could merely pay lip service to customers care, when a call to customer service involved them being passed from advisor to advisor, and being put on hold so many times that a week later the customer still found themselves humming the hold music.

Social media has given a vast audience to any customer left disgruntled by a service or product, meaning a hard earned reputation built up over years could be shattered in no time at all. More than this a new breed of organisation has emerged that has done the simple maths, and realised that moving a marketing budget across to CX (Customer Experience) is in fact the best way to attract new business, listening and reacting to customer feedback, marketing to the individual, and then using the word of mouth generated after ‘wowing’ their existing customers to grow their business, and of course in turn, vastly reducing the churn rate of previously dissatisfied customers too.

To compete in terms of customer service in the years to come, SMEs must leverage the one advantage to their size, that being the staff and owners in the business can really get to know their customers on a personal level, and building real relationships with each. Further to this using a feedback scheme will be essential to act as a barometer in terms of how customers really feel about their business at any given time, running throughout the lifecycle of the relationship with the customer. The customer isn’t always right, but should be made to feel they are, and any business failing to listen to their feedback scheme and focus on how their customers feel, will find they gradually fall behind in this the new age of the customer.

The customer isn’t always right

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone
Read More

Protecting Your Hotel Or Restaurant Against Bad Online Reviews

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in Customer Experience Management, Customer Service, Feedback | 0 comments

If you work in the hospitality industry, perhaps running a B&B, hotel or restaurant, then one of your biggest issues for the last two or three years has probably been the damage that can be caused to your business by negative online reviews.

Whilst you may work hard to ensure a quality service, the likelihood is that from time-to-time you still get negative reviews, as what is considered excellent by one customer, will be viewed as unacceptable by another. The truth is that guests or customers often aren’t best placed to critique an establishment, since they are not an inspector who is spending their days inspecting similarly priced venues in the same locality, therefore their ‘yardstick’ may have been set at an unrealistic level.

So if you are in hospitality, perhaps running a guesthouse, hotel, pub or restaurant, what can you do to protect your business reputation against the often unjustified negative online reviews? Well in reality it is often tough to get existing negative reviews removed. Some sites do offer a system whereby you get points for each positive review, and so collect enough and you can exchange them for having a negative comment removed, but this is often not an available option and so the best solution long-term has to be to avoid getting them in the first place.

It’s impossible to get everything right, for every customer, all of the time…but you should always aim to. However when things do go wrong, to avoid negative reviews firstly provide an easy to use feedback scheme, making it more likely unhappy customers will feedback to you rather than vent their displeasure on a review site as people these days are busy and would seldom have time to do both. Then when you do get negative feedback it’s essential you fight the impulse to be defensive, you must challenge yourself to make the customer happy, remembering often they will then become a bigger advocate for your business than one that was happy in the first place.

Secondly, since you are putting in place a feedback scheme and acting upon the feedback i.e. implementing closed loop feedback, why not go all the way to adopting a customer experience focus within your business, and really set out to ‘wow’ your customers with your service levels. If you do you will find the word of mouth benefits will easily outweigh the extra time, money and effort invested, and also you yourself will feel far more positive about and indeed rightly proud of your business.

It's impossible

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone
Read More

Could Time Be Running Out For Many Small Businesses?

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Customer Experience Management, Feedback | 0 comments

Forget purchasing power, colossal adverting budgets, opening hours and premises size, small companies are set to face their biggest challenge to-date from large organisations. Small businesses can offer just one positive differentiator over large, a truly unique and personal service…and big business is now all set to directly challenge them on this.

Unknown to the proprietors of most SMEs, the hot topic for the executives in the boardrooms of many large corporations has been the upgrading of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software to CXM (Customer Experience Management) systems. This new breed of software which has been developed by the giants of business systems such as Oracle and IBM is designed to handle big data, giving companies unique insights into each and every customer.

So how far off is this new threat to small businesses? Well if you are serving a B2C marketplace, perhaps in retail for example, you may have already begun to come up against the new systems being used by the supermarket giants or the likes of amazon, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

So why is CXM such a threat? Well the new software is developed to listen to customers at all touchpoints including social media, allowing companies to tailor customer experience to individuals with the ultimate goal of “wowing” them with service and a tailored offering. It also performs customer rescues when analysis shows the potential to churn, making winning customers from big business so very much harder.

What does this mean for the small business? Well if own or run an SME and you don’t already, you must embrace the same principles as CXM systems. In short, nurture every customer relationship, really get to know what each of your customers likes and as importantly dislikes. Move budgets from marketing for new business, to using it to really impressing your existing customers, then you can build new business from the extra word of mouth generated. Finally employ a feedback scheme so you can get a real handle on what your customers are thinking, as many won’t tell you voluntarily, you’ll just not see them again one day.

Small businesses can offer just one differentiator2

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone
Read More

The New Age of Customer Care

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Customer Experience Management, Customer Service, Feedback, Voice of the Customer | 0 comments

Over the last ten years the internet has changed the way most of us do business or indeed are a customer, and we are still very much at an early stage in the evolution of what we currently term the web. It may seem hard to imagine but the next decade will see even greater change, but this time driven as customer service catches up to technology with the advent of Customer Experience Management (CXM) replacing or laying on top of existing CRM systems.

CXM will aid large corporations achieve a high level of customer care that many of which have previously been unknown for, almost anticipating a customer’s needs and listening to their feedback when they have issues by way of VoC, feedback schemes and other contact at customer touchpoints. This is in stark contrast to the first decade of the mass adoption of the internet, when many businesses sought to almost hide behind their websites when customers wanted to make contact. As customers chased purchased products or were seeking to make a complaint, they trawled around websites in vain looking for a telephone number or even just an email address to make a follow-up enquiry. A ridiculous practice when we look back now, akin to a bricks and mortar shopkeeper jumping behind the counter of his store and turning off the lights if he believed a customer might be on their way back to return goods.

If you are running a business in the approaching new age of customer care then the message is simple, now the world has gone online and you no longer see your customers, you better start listening to them. If you don’t listen to your customers your competitors surely will, and would be more than happy to fulfil their needs. For small businesses not able to employ such complex CXM technology they will have to become a beacon of personal service, getting to know their customers like a local shopkeeper might have done fifty years ago. For the customer this is all good news, and marks a welcome shift away from the frustration of dealing with companies that sometimes didn’t even previously pay lip service to customer care.

The New Age of Customer Care

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone
Read More

The Opportunity Is The Problem

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Customer Experience Management, Customer Service, Feedback, Voice of the Customer | 0 comments

Human nature dictates that we trust and value a friendship more once it’s been tested, and the same is true for customer loyalty after an issue arises and the business proves it truly cares. Having had a problem corrected many studies have shown customers become more loyal than they were previous to the issue, indeed oftentimes they then become the biggest advocates for the business.

Most companies today still see contacts made for customer service reasons as a drain on resources only. If we consider the Call Handling Time key performance indicator used in most contact centres, that statistic really equates to how quickly each Customer Service Advisor can end each call rather then ensure each caller is completely happy, let alone go on to use the opportunity for developing the relationship with the customer.

In an overloaded social media world, having a direct conversation or dialog at length with any customer and building a direct relationship has become far more difficult, especially for larger organisations or companies that primarily do business online. So, now in contrast to most, some forward thinking organisations are embracing this type of customer service contact as a chance to develop a deeper relationship, and differentiating themselves from their competitors by showing a high level of care and value toward the customer.

In time with the advent of Customer Experience Management (CXM), each and every contact either via a feedback scheme, Voice of the Customer channel or direct to a contact centre call will be viewed as critical to every business. Until such a time there remains a huge advantage for the early pioneers into CXM, and those organisations seeing the opportunity in feedback and complaints to really set themselves apart from their competitors, by using this customer initiated contact to actually build stronger relationships.

Once its been tested

Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someone
Read More