Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Increase your "Share of Wallet" through Customer Experience Management and "Trusted Relationships"

March 03, 2008

Too many companies today still think of customers (Enterprise, SMB, and Consumers) as a single event or short-term relationship (essentially, how they impact their immediate financial results). It's a bit ironic considering all of us have some experience at establishing, fostering, and sustaining relationships over the long-term. It's unfortunate that most of us don’t recognize and apply these same skills in the business world.

Getting to know someone at a deeper level requires building trust, openness, and a desire to help each other moving forward (and of course, a bit of time and patience). This is no different in the business world. The concepts are simple, yet require some discipline and structure to reach your mutual goals.
How do you recognize and understand that all types of customers want you to be their "trusted advisor," or "trusted company"? When they buy a product, service, or solution, they want to be your advocate — so interact with them in a way that gives them reasons to do this. Just an importantly, be an advocate for them. If it's an Enterprise customer, understand their business priorities and challenges, and help them attain loyal customers. In the consumer word, close the loop with them on important issues that matter to them — not just you — and solicit feedback at their convenience, not yours. In other words, take their perspective when building customer experiences and interactions, understand their needs, and value their insight and expertise. It will benefit you and build loyal, passionate and profitable customers for the long-term.
Sounds easy, but not so fast! The end goal may take some culture change within your company. Many worthwhile ideas and programs fail because the awareness, understanding, and benefits are never communicated in a meaningful manner. You can't go from point A to C, without gaining the support of management, employees, and in today's world — partners.
From an internal perspective, increase the horizontal effort to increase customer loyalty and profitability. Get key organizations involved and working together from a customer-centric point of view. They'll are contribute in a meaningful manner and be advocates for your efforts.
With so many effective tools available today you'd think it might be easier. Sure, most companies have an NPS (Net Promoter Score), CLI (Customer Loyalty Index) or Customer Experience group, but they have difficulty "connecting the dots" between their company's brand and customer research, and their process excellence and operational activities. This is where the gap lies in maximizing business results. It should be an integrated system from an organizational and implementation perspective, but in most cases they plan and act in an independent fashion. There are multiple reasons for this, but don’t let these barriers stand between you and your customers. More importantly, between you and more profitable customers, in addition to increased share of wallet, a few more benefits to consider are:
  • Uncovering revenue opportunities in areas you never imagined the customer had a need.
  • Saving money because you put your company's assets at work for something your customer really wants.
  • Improving employee satisfaction. The people in the delivery chain understand the customers' business better, which prevents lots of frustration.
  • Saving money, because you meet the customer’s — and your — expectations.
Build a solid framework that encompasses your Customer Experience Management (CEM) strategies from an external point of view, while operating as an end-to-end integrated system from an internal perspective. Operations are hungry for tools, methods, and training that will allow them to incorporate this customer-centric view and to sustain these efforts moving forward. It may also take a few success stories to completely change the mindset and embed this as a discipline within your culture, but the benefits are essentially untapped in today's environment.
Rick Graves is Director of customer experience management practice at CoreBrand. To contact the author, please send e-mail to