Welcome to this week’s Simple, Smart & Sexy post. Today’s video is about re-inventing the relationship with the client to accelerate growth. Customer centricity has become a business imperative and intentionally and purposely designing the customers’ experience with your brand, a must. According to the IBM 2010 CEO study, getting closer to customers is the overwhelming top priority for CEOs as they realize how the curve of growth could be accelerated by working closely with the client to innovate and by delivering an unparalleled customer experience that will tap on truly satisfying consumers’ desires.
To enhance our topic of today, two stories come very handy. One is about Greg Smith’s –a Goldman Sachs a well paid and highly recognized company executive – resignation letter in the New York Times and how this should/must be a wake up call to large companies which are focused on short term results despite the long term effect a bad client management strategy could have.
Second story is about Groupon and other leading group selling platforms loosing hundreds of millions of dollars because they are not meeting anyones expectations: consumers, merchants, and by default shareholders.
Take a look at today’s video and read the rest of this post to understand how and why you should focus your efforts in re-inventing the relationship with your customer and how group selling companies should re-strategize to grow.
After working during 12 years for the firm, Greg Smith resigned from Goldman Sachs on March 14th, stating that after so many years in the company he could honestly say the environment at the firm now is as toxic and destructive as it had ever been. He finishes his resignation letter in the New York times with a piece of advise for companies: “Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist.”
Customer centricity should become a priority not only to avoid problems and excess cost in servicing clients, but because it is the easiest path to generating long term growth. Customer centricity became more important than ever because clients can share and exchange information about their good or bad experience with a brand in seconds and with millions of others through social networks.
Some of the reasons companies fail in providing a Simple, Smart & Sexy customer experience, are:
- They think CRM is a good enough methodology to understand and get to know the client. While CRM could be a good starting point, it will only provide superficial insights on how to satisfy real customer desire to deliver a Simple, Smart & Sexy experience.
- Even those who have taken the step of consciously designing the customer experience map, they don’t realize that customers’ attitudes, likes and dislikes toward products change constantly depending on the choices they have, the information they have, and their private price/value assessment.
- Most companies pursue customer insights through the lens of their own offerings, measuring experience by measuring customer satisfaction. By doing so, they measure a single activity in isolation, ignoring the context and the overall experience of the client with the brand.
- Lacking truly top-bottom customer focus commitment. The very first step for a leader trying to create a customer centric organization is to actively listen to the client. One great way of doing this is by showing up at the call center and spending hours listening to clients to understand why they call, what they complain about, how are they treated by company staff. This basic step will provide more real insights about clients’ needs than any paid customer survey.
We all know that innovation is today a business imperative. To become a truly innovative company, deep customer insights and great being able to capture and retain the best talent are the single most important elements.
Re-strategizing to survive
It was the end of last year when I got a call from a friend. He had offered a coupon through Groupon and was very disappointed with the quality of customers he got at his restaurant, plus the fact that it soon became evident they were only coupon shoppers and not potential customers.
Groupon and other discount platforms are focusing their strategy on short term revenue. The promise that they would expose the merchant’s business to hundreds or thousands of potential new clients is not really materializing as they failed to understand the principles of marketing. Instead of just being a coupon platform they should become a marketing vendor for small businesses, by offering them an entire marketing strategy: web page design, social media and SEO interaction and a compelling offer that will guarantee the merchant gets each client three times, in order to ensure that person actually makes the shift from shopper to recurring client. They could provide all these services by signing a contract which will guarantee the merchant will only run offers through that platform during a set period of time. This will build a long term relationship between the platform and the merchant with all the benefits that it implies.
Groupon and alikes, should also be more selective on who they promote. Merchants need to be trained on delivering great experiences for customers as a means of insuring their return business.
Incredibly enough, companies today are still thriving to understand they need to shift their focus from product to customer. A recent Product Development Management Association’s (PDMA) study stated that Companies organized by customers and markets are more likely to report a higher sales growth rate versus their peers than are companies organized byproducts (71% versus 29%, respectively). But even those companies which are still not ready to shift their organizations from product to customer, they should at least use a customer focus on marketing communications and innovation.
Let us know what you think and how are you managing to deliver a Simple, Smart & Sexy customer experience in your company.
Have a super week!