“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
In the digital era, relationships still matter – and not just the “swipe right” ones. We still crave human interactions, and they are just as important in the business world.
As a consumer, I am loyal to those brands that make me feel special, which is why I am a loyal Nordstrom shopper – they treat each customer as a VIP, from ensuring that every visit to the store is a happy one, to a no-ask return policy if you are unhappy with any merchandise, to a free concierge service to help find that perfect outfit or LBD (little black dress). To me, their brand represents what exceptional service should look like – a brand that goes above and beyond customer expectations to create a personalized experience just for me.
When the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times as much as the cost to retain an existing customer (per Lee Resource, Inc.) , fostering customer loyalty should be at the forefront of your brand’s agenda. What do you need to know to get there?
Human interactions matter
Human interactions matter. The rise of digital sales and marketing doesn’t mean those interactions go away. It just means buyers and brands are interacting in new digital ways. But sales representatives still have the opportunity to initiate and facilitate the buying journey with the goal to emerge as your customer’s trusted advisor.
In your sales organization, embrace change centering selling around customer experience. In previous blogs, I have discussed the importance of internal changes that need to happen – from breaking down departmental silos with the union of sales and marketing to regaining sales productivity by giving sales the tools they need to spend more time selling and getting to know their customers and prospects.
Now is the time to focus on how to deliver exceptional customer experiences in the context of their buying journey. This requires you to know who your customers are and be present where they are.
Be your customer’s eyes
View the buying process through your customer’s eyes. How do you deliver great value? Look at your accounts and pick the top 10. Study and understand their industry and company initiatives and make your connections personal on how you can help. If you have a customer who sells via retail/brick and mortar, visit the store and see where change can happen – viewing what you customer’s customer experience is like. Your customer will appreciate the insight and, as Maya Angelou said, “will never forget how you make them feel” in very relevant and personalized interaction. Connect with your customer on his/her level.
Monitor industry trends and help your customer develop their 5- to 10-year plan. At times, their vision may be skewed by immediate needs or problems. But banging a broken process is not the answer; you need to step back to see if the process is still valid.
Be that trusted advisor – make your interactions personal by taking time to understand how they buy, sell, and market. Don’t just talk about technology; focus on the value your solutions can provide to your customer’s customer. If you do this, the result will be an exceptional customer experience that builds customer loyalty and keeps you a step ahead of your competition.
The measure of customer experience
How do you successfully measure something qualitative like experience? Where does customer experience start and finish? Join Nicholas Kontopolous, global vice president of fast growth markets marketing, SAP Hybris, at the Sales 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia for the session “The Measure of Customer Experience” as he shares insight on how leading brands are answering these questions and staying a step ahead of their competition.
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