Customer Engagement = Improved Retention and Higher Profits

BY: Daniel M. Savage

Savvy business owners understand that legendary service results in exceptional customer retention rates…and…greater profitability. Savvy business owners also understand that:

  • Human interaction is the basic element of any customer experience.
  • These interactions create an experience that customers remember…and feel.
  • These experiences are the foundation for long-term relationships and…the glue that binds them.
  • Deep relationships are far more important than the product, services, and price.
  • Customers don’t love companies…they love you and your relationship managers!
  • You serve people…not companies.
Delivering legendary customer experiences is an emotional endeavor that is personal, complex, often illogical, and never perfect. 

Legendary service is about engagement!  Here are six principles of customer engagement that will make legendary service more rewarding for all.

Principle 1: You need your customers more than they need you. 

Don’t believe it?  Consider two simple truths:  1) the number one reason businesses fail is a lack of customers and 2) there are dozens of alternative providers.  Ineffective relationship managers see themselves as more important, indispensable, and smarter;  moreover, they view customers as objects to be exploited rather than people to be served.

In contrast, top relationship managers put customers first, are driven to deliver, enjoy serving, and constantly search for better ways to solve customers’ problems.  Their mission is to help customers reach their goals, thus achieving their own in the process.

Principle 2: Customers are people.

Humans are emotional, irrational, and feel fear and stress.  Believing they are overworked and underpaid, they are time starved.  They have ambitions, goals, and an insatiable need to be appreciated. 

Top relationship managers understand that empathy is king!  

Principle 3: You are always on stage.

Imagine standing on a stage.  Your customers are the audience.   Your behaviors are analyzed and observed to see if they align with your promises.  This leads to judgment about your dependability and trustworthiness.  So…you must exercise self-discipline and manage every behavior, promise, and action while in front of your audience. Here emotion collides with logic and is where customer experience is born.

Principle 4:  Customers act on emotion…then justify with logic.

People act first (buy) on emotion and then justify their actions with logic.  Evidence and supporting data are critical to the buying decision;  however, emotion ultimately drives people to act.

Principle 5: Customers do things for their reasons…not ours. 

We’ve all experienced this principle.  Sometimes a customer leaves despite a great return on investment.  Perhaps a prospect rejects a superb proposal. 

Effective relationship managers emotionally connect with their customers, thereby enabling them to better understand perspective, motivations, fears, desires, and needs. 

Principle 6: Always give more than is required. 

“Exceeding customer expectations” is a useless notion.  Although it sounds great, it’s a poor way to manage a customer’s overall experience.

Here’s why.  In reality, customer expectations are individual and fluid.  It’s difficult to know and impossible to control what our customers expect even if they tell us up front, because…expectations often change over time.

Instead, focus on what you can control:  your actions.  For example, your customer purchases a product or service.  Your choice in that exchange is to give back one of the following:

  1. Less value than the customer paid for,
  2. Exactly the value paid for, or
  3. More value than the customer paid for.
When giving more, our efforts are noticed.  Human nature leads us to recognize people who go out of their way to help us.  It makes spending money or conducting business with someone more pleasurable.  Consequently, customers focus more on how good they feel and less on expectations.

Follow these six core principles, and you’ll be well on your way to delivering legendary service experiences.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

Muhammad Ali

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