A Look in the Mirror
Do any of these myths plague your company? Where do you feel the effects? Consider these questions:
- Does the number of customer defections surprise you? What are these defections worth in revenue? Margin?
- Are you spending more on new-customer acquisition? How much more does it cost to win a new customer vs. retaining current ones?
- Are your customers really “price conscious” or are they really “value deprived”?
Studies show when customers believe they get more “value” for their money, they’re much more loyal and spend more with those brands.
Companies that take a long-term view of investing in value-based customer relationships are rewarded with double-digit growth and profitability that compounds over time. Does this mean higher costs? More often, investing in value-based customer relationships means reducing your costs or charging more for highly valued products and services.
Value is about how you make your customers successful. Don’t forget that customers define value and expect you to deliver value, at a minimum, to meet their fundamental expectations if the relationship is to continue. Keep in mind a change in the economic climate causes the needs of your customers to change, which requires a change in how you respond to their needs.
How do you effectively deliver greater value in this tougher environment and remain profitable to survive the recovery? Integrate these value-creating imperatives into your business operation. As you review these brief descriptions, challenge your current thinking, culture and processes!
- Voice: Give your customers one! Be disciplined about listening to their challenges and needs.
- Accountability: Hold leaders accountable for customer voice and for action that responds to it.
- Levers: What is most important to your customers in how you help them succeed? How do they depend on you?
- Unbelievable experiences: Create experiences that surprise and elate your customers. Focus on those levers that drive your customers’ success and relationships.
- Engage and empower: Customers and employees are your two most important assets. Engage them. Empower and trust employees to take good care of customers and build collaborative relationships.
How well do you execute in each of these areas? How much value do your customers really feel? Each of these value-creating imperatives requires a discipline to become part of your organization’s DNA. These are critical to your success for improving your customer retention and making your business more profitable, no matter what the economic environment.
Be unequivocal about creating promoters who sing your praises—customers who know you are committed to their success and who are committed to yours.Vivian Hairston Blade is president & CEO of Experts in Growth Leadership Consulting LLC (EiGL). Through a combination of coaching and training, EiGL helps Fortune 1000 companies execute value-based strategies by building high performance, high quality and high service-level organizations. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ; visit www.eiglconsulting.com .