This isn’t a post about marketing, advertising, social media, or the hottest shiny new toys on the internet. It’s not a post about brand, nor design, nor persuasive copy that pushes the buy button – and brings in a boatload of new customers.
This is a post about winning.
Winning by going back to basics and recovering qualities that faded from the B2C landscape over time. By taking time-tested methods of building a fanatical customer base that returns to you with an unmatched display of loyalty.
If you own or manage a consumer-facing business, this post is for you.
1 | Build Your Business to Serve Your Customers.
No brainer, right?
Everyone does this, right?
Then why are the front line folks who actually serve customers paid the least on the totem pole? The people who interact with your customers are your brand… not the logo or the jingle, as my colleague Shawn Anctil discussed in a previous post.
Here’s a radical idea: design the compensation of your front line people to reflect a single KPI: delighting your customers. Whether it be a bonus, commission, or other system… reward the people who make the customer experience magical.
Service magic = repeat business + word of mouth referrals = more cold, hard cash (or in 2k12, the electronic variety).
2 | Create + Own an Exceptional Total Touchpoint Experience.
A touchpoint is any part of your business where a customer interacts directly with the brand. Classic service model thinking equates touchpoints with the interactions between staff and customers, Point-of-Sale interactions (person to person or person to technology), and special offers that bring people in to the store.
This thinking is rather 20th century. It’s time to expand this line of thought to include your website + online applications, mobile assets, social media, and the likes.
Here’s an important piece of the puzzle: online and offline MUST NOT be separate silos (in fact, silos in general harm your responsiveness – terminate them with extreme prejudice wherever possible). If your in-store or ‘traditional’ touchpoints aren’t operating in synergistic harmony with your digital marketing touchpoints (or vice-versa), the customer experience will never be seamless and it will be much harder to deliver an exceptional total touchpoint experience.
Be maniacal about delivering an exception total touchpoint experience. Think carefully about how your online and offline touchpoints can work together to wow your customers.
Hint: how can your website be used to improve the customer experience? Websites aren’t just for communicating information. The possibilities for leveraging digital technology to provide awesome service experiences are limitless.
3 | Create and Nurture a Magnetic Culture.
Be the employer that the absolute best employees want to work for. I won’t belabour the point, but here’s the success formula:
Recruiting and retaining outstanding employees
Take care of their needs (compensation/benefits/perks)
Empower them (set a macro goal and sketch out how to get there, then get out of the way)
Involve them (ask for input, feedback, and help in planning)
Truly value and appreciate them (say thank you)
4 | Lead.
Every great company needs a great leader. Great leaders know their strengths, and their weaknesses. They recruit and develop a leadership team that complements those characteristics.
Great leadership involves a few things that are easy to say, but really tough to do.
Lead the charge.
Again, easy to say – tough to do. But, that’s why you’re at the top of the food chain. You never shrink away from a challenge, and that’s part of the reason why you win the day.
5 | Care.
If you don’t truly, rabidly care about your people and your customers, find someone who does and put them in charge of planning and executing all initiatives that touch your people or your customers.
Taking this tack isn’t a failure. Not by a long shot. On the contrary, it’s a display of exceptional leadership character. Sometimes the things that you can’t quantify result in the most remarkably quantifiable increases.
In other words, more cash.
Are you as fanatical about the customer experience as I am? Drop us a line on our Facebook page, and let’s chat.