Monday Mar 18, 2013

Customer Loyalty: The Hidden Humanity

How many of us have had the experience with an organization either in person, on the phone or online that just leaves us seething with feelings that we’ll never do business with that company again? I’d bet that most of us have had that experience. But is the experience due to an interaction with one single employee, a department of employees, or everyone we ever dealt with at an organization or enterprise?

We all seem to forget some days that developing customer loyalty or destroying it often begins with a single human interaction. These interactions don’t necessarily happen in a vacuum – there is a driving force that sets policies, controls customer interactions and ultimately creates happy or unhappy employees – which in turn creates the experience you and I have with every transaction we make on a daily basis. Engaged employees are happier employees according to some of the most recent studies.  Some companies build a huge base of totally loyal brand-ambassadors that spread good cheer and positive vibes about their beloved companies. How do they do it? Why do they do it? Can a company maintain great customer experience across the board and still remain profitable?

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This week we’ll be taking a deeper look at “Customer Loyalty” to explore the current trends and success stories. Our featured guest blogger and thought leader this week will be Jeanne Bliss. As President of CustomerBliss , an international consulting business, Jeanne coaches executive leadership teams and customer leadership executives on how to put customer profitability at the center of their business, by getting past lip service; to operationally relevant, operationally executable plans and processes. Later this week, Jeanne will be featured in our Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series. Register today and join us on Thursday 3/21 or register and watch On-Demand after the 21st at your leisure.

Are Your Customers Your Biggest Fans?

Hundreds of companies have customers who admire them, but only an elite few have true advocates who are passionate, vocal, and loyal fans. Hear from customer experience expert and author, Jeanne Bliss, as she reveals the five common decisions these beloved companies make that enable them to thrive in good times and bad. Join us on this webcast to learn: What kind of decisions earn your company beloved status; How beloved companies drop the corporate veneer with customers; Why uncommon decision making can make a positive impact.

Your Decisions Reveal Who You Are, and What You Value

by Jeanne Bliss (from original blog post February 24, 2013)

When you make a decision, it results in an action. And the accumulation of those decisions and actions become how people describe you and think of you. It becomes your “story.”

  • What is the story that the collective decisions of your organization are telling your customers, employees, and the marketplace?
  • What is important to you?
  • Are your decisions reflecting what you intended and what your company stands for?

Getting customers to love you begins with how you consider the people impacted by your decisions.

You tell customers every day how much you honor them by the way you direct decisions in one direction or another. And that’s what they play back to the masses. That’s what shows up on the Internet.

For more information see my blog post on Driving Culture Change in Chief Customer Officer 2.0. It provides profiled decisions made by beloved companies of every size and across many industries who earned the right to their customers’ stories. They are called beloved companies because of the emotional attachment customers have to them.

Here are a few recent profiles:
What Defines Your Experience?
Are You Remembered for Being There?
Do You Accept Accountability When Things Go Wrong?
Is Your Trusting Cup Half Full or Half Empty?

Beloved companies are acutely aware that their experience impacts how customers feel and respond. They take the time to make purposeful decisions about the contacts with customers. Beloved companies actively decide to connect who they are as individuals with the decisions they make in how to run their business.

Common to beloved companies is the concentration, angst, and passion that they put into decision-making. Suspending their fear that the dollars and cents won’t come swiftly enough, beloved companies decide to run their businesses with what each of us learned as kids – the Golden Rule.

The decisions we make in our business lives measure the depth of our humanity – our ability to apply that simple Golden Rule.

  • How we choose to correct something that goes wrong.
  • How steadfast we are in delivering the goods and ensuring quality.
  • How we give employees what they need to enable them do the right thing for customers.

All these decisions expose what a company values. And the actions that tumble from these decisions expose the kind of people we are.

Think about how you experience companies throughout your life as both customer and employee.

  • Why do you feel so connected to some and distanced from others?
  • How does your feeling about a company relate to your natural desire to follow the Golden Rule?
  • When a company makes genuine attempts to do the right thing, does this draw you to them?

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About Jeanne Bliss

Jeanne Bliss began her career at Lands’ End where she reported to founder Gary Comer, ensuring that in the formative years of the organization, the company stayed focused on its core principles of customer and employee focus. She was the first leader of the Lands’ End Customer Experience. In addition to Lands’ End, she has served Allstate, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker Corporation and Mazda Corporations as its executive leading customer focus and customer experience. Jeanne has helped achieve 95% retention rates across 50,000 person organizations, harnessing businesses to work across their silos to deliver a united and deliberate experience customers (and employees) want to repeat.

Jeanne now runs CustomerBliss, an international consulting business where she coaches executive leadership teams and customer leadership executives on how to put customer profitability at the center of their business, by getting past lip service; to operationally relevant, operationally executable plans and processes. Her clients include Johnson & Johnson, TD Ameritrade, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospitals, Bombardier Aircraft and many others. Her two best-selling books are Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions that Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad.

Jeanne Bliss Blog:       www.ccocoach.com subscribe to my blog

Books:   Chief Customer Officer & I Love You More Than My Dog

Twitter: @jeannebliss


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