Seventhman Blog

  1. How Do You Create a Great Customer Experience?

    "brand value"As promised, here’s part two from my previous post on Customer Experience.  This time, I will be writing about lessons I have learned in understanding what makes my customers tick.  Why is this even important? If you want to take real steps in improving your business and your bottom line, you have to go beyond what your company has to offer and take responsibility on delivering not just a great product – but that Wow! experience as well.  Just as I have mentioned how maintaining a consistent experience is the greatest challenge of them all, we still find ourselves stuck in our own way of doing things that we refuse to see past our mistakes and step in the shoes of our customers.  We forget that each person is different and each customer interacts differently with our brand.

    Not All Touch Points are Created Equal

    If there’s a top rule in Customer Service, it’s summed up in two words: Be Nice.  There is a reason why I propose that customer satisfaction metrics be revamped.  Here’s the thing: While big data on customer experiences collected at various touch points may be helpful in portraying a graph on consumer behavior, not all touch points are of equal value.  Let’s say we have two customers, one inquiring by phone and the other, by email.  While both touch points answer to your customers’ needs, they don’t define the same expectations that spells the difference between customer delight and dissatisfaction.  Their expectations can also be shaped by other factors like previous experience with your brand, your competition and so on.  CEOs can’t deny that customer experience is crucial in collecting, quantifying and analyzing data – Truth is, they don’t really appreciate the value of doing so, especially when CRMs are becoming more complex and costly these days.

    Customer Experience Lessons for the Fearless

    If there’s one truth about those who are not attuned to their customers’ experience, it’s FEAR.  There is this fear of what user data may reveal when you change gears and lead a customer-driven business.  To those who are holding back, here’s an eye-opener:

    Lesson #1  Everything is Linked

    Customer experience doesn’t only happen at touch points with your sales, marketing or customer service teams.  There are those that happen after sales and word of mouth can also indirectly impact customers’ decisions.  All they have to do is Google your brand online.

    Lesson #2  You are What You Deliver

    It’s all about delivering your promise across the entire customer life-cycle.  Negative experiences can easily kill your brand value.  Before you know it, all those bad reviews about your brand piles up – turning future prospects off.

    Lesson #3  It’s All About the Culture!

    Leaders, be a perfect example on how to delight customers.. and the rest will follow.  Don’t expect your front liners to put the customer first each time when you don’t do it yourself.  How can you align your business goals to your employees.. and eventually, your customers?  It’s high time to build customer experience into your brand.

    Lesson #4  One Size Doesn’t Fit All

    Making your customers happy don’t have to cost a dime.  Sometimes, it’s those little words that count – like saying ‘Thank You’ for their business.  For the same reason that you have to ditch that call script, customer experience should always be authentic and personalized.

    Lesson #5  Less is More

    I’d rather have the right data than a clutter of information that can overwhelm both your team and your customers.  How can you make customer interaction simple?  For example, you can reduce wait time of a customer in an IVR queue and make it faster for them to reach you with a few buttons.  Your customers love it easy and simple.

    If there’s a cause for concern, it’s this:  Customer dissatisfaction is real and thanks to online tools, customers are empowered to share their bad experience with others.  The challenge now is to take customer experience from just a mere buzzword, a slogan.. to real, actionable goals.  For what it’s worth, I’m sharing these lessons to raise your awareness.

    Are you willing to elevate customer experience and commit for the long term?

  2. Are You Spending More Time on Bad Customers?

    "bad customers"There’s an argument that bad salespeople lead to bad customers, if ever you’re wondering why you are attracting the wrong type of market to your business.  Perhaps, there is truth to this statement because when customers are made to focus on the pricing and features of your product, they end up not getting interested in the value you provide.  This is why they will continue to focus on price alone and if you’re running your business on a freemium model, the greatest challenge is how to convert them into paying subscribers.  If you want to be a highly productive entrepreneur this year, I’d say it’s time to be honest in getting rid of the bad apples – for good.

    Does Social Media Empower Bad Behavior?

    There are many tales of brand-bashing last year that made me wonder how social media is creating a new bad when it comes to customer experience.  We’ve seen angry mobs take on a brand on social networks, spreading bad news like some digital wild fire.  There are many trolls who will add fuel to the fire and there’s just no sense of guilt since they’re bullying a brand, not a person.  It’s so easy to post a bad review under anonymity or a fake profile, those who do don’t feel any accountability over their actions.  The boundary between freedom of speech and online bullying is yet to be defined…

    The Customer is Always Right.. Not Really

    I hate to break it to you, but this fallacy is what’s draining the life out of your team. Truth is, there’s such a thing as bad customers and they are:

    1. The deadbeat client who won’t pay their invoices on time, for whatever reasons
    2. The stingy customer who will always ask you to cut corners and make changes until you run out of business
    3. The freeloader who will only stick with you if you provide everything for free for the longest time running
    4. The terrorizing client who will use fear to get what s/he wants ( and get on everyone’s nerves as well )
    5. That rude customer who loves to throw in the f-bombs and swear words you don’t really want to hear
    6. That customer with constantly changing needs, who expect full service treatment on a tight budget
    7. Those frequent complainers who connive to get some form of compensation from you – from full refunds to big discounts
    8. The nit-pickers who will constantly check on you, expecting you to work like a seamless machine 24/7
    9. The needy customer who will ask for endless advice and lots of attention
    10. and those who simply do nothing.. after all the time, free advice, discounts and extra mile you have thrown in

    Here’s the good news:  You can rehabilitate these bad eggs.  Most customers aren’t that bad, just ill-educated on the value that your business provides.  Persuading troublesome customers to become good ones can be a tough job and it’s your call to convert them into believers.

    My Advice:  Know when it’s the right time to push away those who drag your business down.. so you can cultivate the right relationship and inspire loyalty instead.

    Good Luck!