Want More Customers? Stop Controlling the Conversation

conversations4Customers want what they want, when they want it and the way they want it.  Companies are spending too much time trying to dictate the path customers must follow to access products and services.   Even more remarkable is the fact that no one is really engaging the customer directly, opting instead for surveys, NPS ratings and assumptions about what works best based on pre defined business processes as opposed to an examination of true customer needs.

You cannot win the war for customers using the equivalent of drone technology to uncover customer sentiment. You have to have boots on the ground engaging your competitors in hand to hand combat for the hearts and minds of your prospective customer base. Sorry, I just finished watching a documentary on the U.S. invasion into Iraq.

Companies want the customer to do all of the work and hide behind the false promises of self-service. If your cost model assumes the customer will have to make up for the lost resources you laid off, you better rethink that strategy. The old adage, you get what you pay for rings true especially in situations where you make the customer jump through hurdles because you eliminated the call center and put FAQs and technical specs out on a website in place of live personnel.

What does your market value in terms of services and what are customers willing to pay extra for? I recently placed an online order for a part that gave me the option to have it sent in a box or stuffed in an envelope. Electronic circuits in an envelope? Really? I paid the extra 10 bucks for a box and fired off a letter to the Chairman after the customer service rep indicated that it really didn’t matter either way. I am still waiting for an answer on the pricing and service strategy of annoying the heck out of a customer trying to repair a broken product. By the way, the part came in a nice $10 box but it was for the wrong model.

Categories: Customer Centricity

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