Have you ever mapped out your organisation’s desire to speak to your customers based on their position in the customer life cycle?
If you are like most businesses you might expect to see a curve like this.
In our experience a business’ desire to speak to the customer follows a consistent path – increasing as the customer demonstrates more and more interest in your products – with telemarketing teams jumping on a download from a website or a shop assistant gravitating towards a customer picking up an item in the store.
The desire to speak to the customer culminates in a crescendo as the deal moves towards closure – solidifying that personal relationship and ensuring the customer has everything they need to make the right decision. In a business-to-business deal this might mean negotiating contract terms or pricing. In a consumer deal this might mean offering to walk the customer over to the till.
Once the deal is closed the desire to speak tends to remain high as you ensure that the customer is happy with the product, or that it is implemented satisfactorily. Queries that come in the first 30 days are supported quickly and efficiently because first impressions count and no-one wants to see a customer leave because they couldn’t get set up properly.
But once the customer has been set up, received their product, or had their service deployed the desire to communicate can diminish rapidly. More accurately – as soon as the customer has paid the desire to communicate can diminish rapidly.
Only 30 days earlier a call from the customer was a positive event and welcomed gladly. Now the call is seen as an expensive cost, eating into the business’ margins. Phrases like call deflection and average handle time are used to try and limit the amount of time companies spend talking to their customers.
When calls are made into existing customers it is typically because of a desire to sell a new product or service rather than out of concern for the customer’s welfare.
It seems such a waste to spend so much time, money and effort to win new customers only to start to destroy that relationship with a culture of customer avoidance as soon as the contract is returned.
Never forget that your customers are your primary source of:
- Customer References
- Social Media Evangelists
- Community-delivered Support
- Market Research
- Product Feedback
- New Business Referrals
To differentiate businesses need to change the culture and accept that the customer is not the enemy. You should want to speak to your customers and you should welcome their calls into your business. Your company’s desire to speak to your customers should remain high and consistent over the entire course of the customer lifecycle.
How does your company’s desire to speak to customers vary during the purchasing process? Does your company welcome calls from customers once they have paid their invoice?
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