Put the Customer First: 5 Questions to Diagnose Your Customer Commitment
One obvious reason has to do with retention. Research from Bain and Company shows that a 5% increase in retention can lead to as much as a 95% bump in profit. You read that right: 95%.
Bottom line: a happy customer is a sticky customer, and sticky customers are worth their weight in gold.
Not only do happy customers stick around longer, but they actually spend more than their unsatisfied counterparts. That’s right, a whopping 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
So if you’re interested in boosting retention and padding your bottom line, CX is an area you simply can’t afford to overlook. In what follows, I’m going to offer 5 questions to help you gauge your company’s commitment to CX, as well as a little advice to get you pointed in the right direction.
1. Does the customer come first?
“The customer is always right.” That well-worn proverb is true as far as it goes, but in our modern experience economy, it probably doesn’t go far enough. For one thing, it presupposes that the business and the customer are somehow at odds with one another.
A truly customer-centric business exists alongside their customers as a partner, rather than a provider—offering valuable solutions to real-world struggles instead of using brute marketing force to create and resolve imaginary problems.
Even the best brands understand this intuitively, but still need to be reminded from time to time. I’m willing to bet yours does, too. Begin with your customers—their issues, anxieties, and fears—and build your business around supplying those needs in ways that no one else can.
2. Do you really know what your customers want?
In other words, are you listening? This naturally reinforces the previous question. A habit of regular feedback and listening logically flows from a culture that prizes customer-centricity.
In practical terms, this strategy is applied by regularly injecting intentional ways to find out what your customers are thinking. Here are just a few ways to get feedback from customers:
- Social Listening
- Usability Tests
- Live Chat
- On-Site Feedback
- Satisfaction Surveys
Which methods are you using?
FYI: In a previous post on customer feedback, I discussed this in more lengthy terms.
3. Are you building relationships with your customers?
Is your business strictly transactional? “Thanks for the business. Have a nice life.”
Sure, there are plenty of sectors in which the transactional approach makes sense. After all, you don’t see the owner of a local convenience store cultivating deep relationships with each one of his customers, do you?
But for the vast majority of businesses in our modern experience economy, a transactional approach simply isn’t going to cut it.
What are you doing to follow-up after the sale? When you help customers solve their issues, are you going the extra mile to make sure their problems have truly been solved?
4. What do you do for loyal customers?
Here’s a startling fact: 68% of millennials say they won’t be loyal to a brand if it doesn’t have a loyalty program. That’s 68% of future business lost, never to return. So what are you doing to reward customers for sustained contribution to your business?
There’s no one way to do this. Nor does this investment need to entail a significant monetary investment on your part. The best loyalty programs focus on more than just rewards. In fact, many of the ones that focus purely on rewards tend to backfire.
5. When was the last time you said you were sorry?
We all screw up; what matters most is how we deal with our mistakes. Virtually every successful business recognizes that finding ways to compensate customers for your mistakes—refunds, discounts, freebies, etc.—is a smart way to invest in customer satisfaction.
According to research from the Carey School of Business, however, compensation alone is not enough. You need to be willing to fall on your sword, acknowledge your fault and sincerely apologize for having wasted your customer’s time, money and energy.
The numbers aren’t fickle on this. In the former case (compensation sans apology), customer satisfaction registered at 37%. In the latter (compensation with an apology), that number doubled to 74%. It may hurt your pride, but pride doesn’t pay your bills. Profit does.
Growth hacking is the new buzz word for squeezing every last drop of profit out of your business. That’s fine, but before you run endless A/B tests to see whether your ‘Buy Now’ button converts better in red than in blue, you should start with the basics: customer experience.
Just remember what our friends at Bain and Company told us: a 5% bump in retention could mean a 95% increase in revenue. Sounds like one heck of a growth hack to me.