To please a customer, be one

Keith Willetts
TM Forum
As featured in TM Forum’s Inside Revenue Management newsletter
 
In the digital world, customer self-service is the norm. They see your service up so close that there’s no hiding place, and they’re only ever a click away from moving to your competitors. Delivering a great customer experience is a vital part of keeping customers loyal and setting you apart from the competition, while building a valuable digital brand and enabling you to charge premium prices. If customers feel they are getting more, they’re willing to pay more – that’s why Apple can make profit margins bigger than many of their competitors’ retail price!
 
Loyal customers tell their friends and a positive experience impacts not just one customer but many. Unfortunately this ripple effect works in reverse – one disaffected customer tells their friends through blogs, Facebook and Twitter and their friends tell other friends and before long somebody has started a website dedicated to showcasing all the bad things that you do.
 
This digital ripple effect is very important. Get it right and brand loyalty rises, churn decreases, and profitability rises. Get it wrong and the result is customer dissatisfaction, hassles, disappointments, annoyances, unnecessary costs, discounting and losing the customers.
 
Companies that invest in and actively manage their customer experience do so because it’s hardheaded business sense – it costs a lot to acquire a customer and that’s money wasted if you lose them and others in the process. A customer-centric organization is one which keeps the customer in the forefront of every decision made throughout the company, yet all too often, executives regularly make decisions which seem reasonable in isolation but have a very negative impact on customers.
 
It doesn’t happen by accident
 
Good or bad customer experiences don’t just happen. They’re the consequence of company ethos and actions and result from the sum total of every interaction with the customer. A great customer experience has to be carefully designed and managed so that every touch point with the customer is optimized. If it’s not, every minute you have the possibility of losing a customer and their friends. At its most basic, the starting point might be as simple as “getting rid of things that annoy customers" but, to compete with the best, you should aspire to do “things that delight customers."
 

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