Today, our customers have many ways to attain us to request service or buy our products and services. The upsurge in social media usage and amount of sites available to attain us has managed to get much simpler for the customers to give us feedback. What it has done is enhance the bar, raise our customers’expectations as they connect with response time, how quickly we respond to their needs, questions, issues and concerns. We can manage the client experience, irrespective of exactly how we communicate together, by creating and implementing a customer care plan aligned with our business management and growth plans.
In their seminal article on the hyperlink between service and profit, “Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work”, the Harvard Business Review authors found that a five percent upsurge in customer loyalty gets the potential to deliver a gain increase of anywhere between twenty-five and eighty-five percent. That is significant. Why wouldn’t every organization seek to build a customer care plan and procedure that increased their profit? The companies cited by these authors could increase their profits, not just by improving the degree of customer care they provided, but by improving the number of loyal customers they serve. They do this by carefully selecting their customers, understanding and meeting these customers’individual needs and interests, and; often engaging these customers in delivery of the merchandise or service. And they organize themselves into cross-functional teams where team members understand the goal of the organization, practice behaviours and implement actions necessary to help keep customers loyal. This’ownership mentality’encourages team members to build relationships with the selected customers and treat them as their own customers.
Bain and Company, within their assist Fred Reichheld’s concepts in his book “The Ultimate Question 2.0”, developed and implemented The Net Promoter System to measure customer satisfaction. Telus tv support The outcome of these case studies show traditional client satisfaction measurement tools don’t deliver because the outcome might not ensure it is back to the front line employees in a reasonable fashion. These studies also identified that companies won’t find a way to… “achieve or sustain high customer loyalty without a cadre of engaged employees.”
So how do we, as business leaders and managers, create a better customer care experience? What can we take from the research shared by the Harvard Business Review authors and Bain and Company researchers that can help us to enhance our customer relationships and build customer loyalty?
We can do this by developing a customer care plan, a customer care plan that is an important element of our business plan where we identify the client market we have to develop to improve loyalty and drive up profits.
We’ve conducted our own research on customer care excellence with thirty Canadian organizations and, as a result of this research, we created the’Customer Satisfaction Practices Continuum’- a model for evaluating the client service degree of the organization (or any unit within an organization). This continuum outlines five stages for evaluation, each stage has three components – customer focus, measurement and environment. By completing the assessment, an organization is able to quickly assess their position on the continuum and decide whether or not, they would like to implement the necessary actions to move to another location, more efficient stage. This enables business leaders and managers to balance customer care with profitability and build a customer care plan aligned using their business direction and goals with the degree of customer care they think is appropriate. Building customer loyalty can be expensive if investment in methods and action plans outstrips anticipated revenue. Customer care excellence is not about meeting every customer need but rather identifying those customers with whom we could build a connection and providing our employees with the information, tools, processes and systems they should continue to nurture these relationships. This can lead to customer referrals, the most effective and most affordable way of all.