There was a recent article in the NZ Herald on Wednesday 31 October which talked about the retail giants SEARS facing receivership.
In the article it talks about how one of the largestand successful retail chains in America was about to be put into receivership with debt of 11.3 billion dollars US and assets of only 7 billion.It was interesting to read this article where as a brick and mortar retailer, SEARS had struggled due to a series of blunders, financial oversights and mis-management.In the article it states that the ultimate business failure was that it did not acknowledge the needs of its customers and displayed a staggering inability to embrace and implement the sorts of technology the customer expected.I look at this in a NZ concept and I still continue to see many of our service and retail providers encouraging their clients to use on-line platforms or on-line portals where one of the key service propositions is actually the face-to-face connection with the customer and holding relationships in the real.Many of NZ customers want to have the loyal transaction with a business that they can trust.
This is why this trust concept is so important in business today and the work that we are doing with many businesses is around how to deliver this level of trust and engagement with the customer in real and ensuring that it provides your customers with value which keeps them coming back over time.The last thing that we want to do is to encourage clients to use unconventional formats without business structure and position correctly structured beforehand.Can I ask you to consider today “how are you connecting with your customers in the real, bringing them into your environment wherever possible and creating greater experiences that will keep them coming back to see their trusted advisor.
One of our key skills is to help companies identify if service propositions that brings the customer into your environment for a productive transaction.
The newbie real estate agent had just closed his first deal. To his horror he discovered the piece of land he’d sold was mostly submerged at high tide. He asked his boss if they should annul the deal, but his boss roared at him, “Money back? What kind of salesman are you? Get out there and sell him a houseboat.”
There’s always a not so obvious answer. Spring is a great time to get creative… analyse what you’ve done, contrast it with the best in the industry, and figure out how you can be the biggest mover in your marketplace. Analysis and benchmarking of results are the awesome tools that can make a huge difference.
When your market is changing and possibly even decreasing in volume or sales value it is time to take stock of how you change your communication style when speaking to customers.
They will know if you are exaggerating or trying to gold plate or overstate the situation. Not only will your words seem to contradict what they know but your body language may betray you. The old saying that honesty is the best policy stands true in the changing market.
Firstly make sure that your research and information is up-to-date. Understand what various industry commentators foresee in the next six to12 months. Then figure out how you can rephrase this and include examples in your marketplace to support or contradict it. Provide extra information to add credibility when speaking to customers. Specificity creates credibility. So have specific examples on hand that are relevant to assure your customer that you are knowledgeable and credible.
Respond to questions with a point of view and a reason, summarising the point at the conclusion of the answer. This more thorough and thoughtful answering of simple questions will further enhance your credibility. You may even have to be ready to review the past present and future market outlook. Having these prepared is a simple solution to being caught out and unable to answer the question.
People will see through bravado and exaggerated positivity. But if you speak knowledgeably about long and short term market trends your customers trust will increase.
Every day we meet and work with new, existing and past clients working our way through a transaction that leaves our customer with an impression or experience. This experience is now becoming the buzz word and critical focus for many major corporates and multi-nationals alike. The reason for this is the customer experience will often determine whether the customer becomes loyal and engaged with your brand. If your client is not loyal and engaged, this will reduce business enterprise value.
Recently working with a particular client, we have been analyising their customer experience and analyising it to determine its effectiveness. One of the best ways of creating support information was actually interviewing clients that had transacted with the company to get an understanding of the experience the customer received and how they felt about it. This research showed what the business thought was of value, the client didn’t actually recognize and the items the customer needed were often overlooked.
Concept for this month
The first step of this process is to define your current customer experience and determine what are the steps that you need to create an ‘above expectation’ outcome. A good example of this is to send a gift (box of chocolates) to the customer. After your first enquiry or fact find appointment saying “thank you for your enquiry” or “new order”. Once you have done this, I recommend talking to past clients using an independent person to collect some customer experience feedback. This will enable you to ensure your service value proposition is meeting and ultimately exceeding your customer’s expectations.
Analyze your customer experience and develop a strategy to exceed your client’s real expectations.