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A Whole Town in Colorado Improves Its Customer Service

colorado

Many in Steamboat Springs, a resort town in Colorado believed that they had a friendly town. When customers were asked: “How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?” The results were at 70%. Clearly, many guests were unhappy with their customer experience.

When looking deeper into the results, there seemed to be negative responses about the service at local businesses. Because Colorado is so competitive for tourist revenue, Steamboat Springs realized they needed to differentiate themselves.

Tom Kern, chief executive of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, along with business owners, decided to provide the entire town customer service training. A consultant Ed Eppley, was hired to help businesses better connect with customers.

  • Engage customers in conversations, to learn about their needs and likes, then suggest services to fit their needs based on what was learned
  • Provide personal and engaging service
  • Connect with customers in a friendly manner which is less like work
  • Grumpy behavior can be changed (Disney may disagree, since they ask all potential employees: Are you friendly?)
  • Walk a lost guest to a location, instead of just pointing

These small gestures can have huge effects in exceeding customer expectations. What these businesses are learning is that a positive customer experience is more than a tag line.

Mr. Eppley, the consultant taught a simple but effective method to establish commonality with customers. The system is based on 5 questions.

  • Where are you from?
  • What do you do?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Where do you travel?
  • What are your hobbies?

The goal is to improve the customer’s experience. We want customers to be loyal and refer their friends. Simply we want a onetime customer to become a customer for life.

Having the right conversation can build a warm customer experience. A car salesperson can discuss the merits and features of the vehicle and also connect on a personal level talking about fishing or golf. Customers should like the person that is selling them stuff.

One of the biggest obstacles, implementing this program was convincing businesses that they needed the training. Although this is common sense, change is hard.

The 5 questions above go a long way to establish personal relationships. Virtually any business can train their team to be more effective with this simple method.

 
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There is only 1 Kind of Customer Success; Not 5

customer success

That one kind of success is converting that one time buyer into a customer for life. Everything else is a sideshow to your ultimate goal.

Customer success references ARE just that, buzzwords. Customer success has no clear definition as to end-results. At best customer success is an ideal.

  1. Customer success as a business model
  2. Customer success as a company-wide priority
  3. Customer success as an organization
  4. Customer success as a profession
  5. Customer success as a technology

Customer success should be defined by what your company does to acquire and retain its customers.

With the “customer for life” model you can always measure your results.

  1. What is your customer experience rating (CER) and how can we make that experience better
  2. How many new customers did we earn today, this quarter, this year
  3. What percent of customers are retained over 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 years
  4. How much did we earn and by how much did we increase profits through customer loyalty and customer evangelism

Become a Customer For Life Company.

The 5 Kinds of Customer Success

 
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Brands for All

Published on April 14, 2014 in Branding

Most companies know that a positive brand image is important. Branding is also crucial for professional athletes, business professionals and entertainers.

In this brief video Patti Smith the artist and performer talks about branding. Her insights apply to virtually any profession.

  • Build a good name
  • Your name is its own currency
  • Do not compromise
  • Do good work
  • Protect your work
  • Make the right choices

This is a pioneering time. There is no other time like right now, continues Smith. Our time is unique because technology is democratizing self-expression. Everyone

has access they never had before.

What is your brand? Are you fulfilling your potential?

#BecomeaCustomerForLifeCompany

 
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Become a Customer For Life Company

Empower

There is a current article on Enterpreneur.com titled “Woo Loyal Customers for Life With 4 Winning Ways

  1. Play Detective- find advocates by looking at frequent purchasers and those who post positive reviews on Social Media, for example.
  2. Reach Out Proactively- recognize your best customers and offer them special deals or incentives. Ask for their opinions on what they like and what they would like to see improved. This approach makes sense because you are acknowledging the 20/ 80 rule. This rule states that 20 percent of your customers account for 80 percent of your business and profit. Accomplish this 80% metric through both direct sales and advocacy. Keeping connected to your best customers will have tremendous payouts for you. Plus, you will also create a greater community of supporters.
  3. Embrace Naysayers- there is an old adage: the sale begins when the customer says no. Engage people who are dissatisfied and address their concerns in a forthright and speedy manner. Empower customer service to fix what is wrong.
  4. Keep it Interesting- Create buzz and excitement. Build your brand by building an inclusive community. Share information that is not necessarily part of your overall campaigns. Make your customers and prospects feel special as if part of a special group or club. Show them that you care and mean it.

Ultimately, it is about a culture that builds a Customer For Life brand for your company. These companies focus on hiring the right team members, training them and then empowering them to interact with customers as if their jobs and livelihood depended on it.

Employees’ jobs depend on customers being happy. This is not just, because of the threat of termination. The real power is with our customers without whom, we cease to exist.

 
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Become a Customer For Life Company

customerexperiencepuzzleslide

Improve a Little, Achieve Big

Most companies have tag lines and mission statements that do not resonate. Customers will not remember or care about your elaborate messaging. Simply, it is more noise in a crowded marketplace vying for attention.

Do customers have to think about the meaning of your message? How they benefit?  Then, you already lost.

Keep it simple. Demonstrate to your prospects and customers how you focus on their needs. Address how you solve their specific problems. Position yourself as a customer for life company.

Deciding to become a customer for life company is the most important decision a company can makes. It defines you and gives you a reason for being. Being a customer for life company is your competitive advantage.

Articulate your customer centric brand. Go beyond customer reviews and basic satisfaction metrics.

SaaS and Cloud Computing are tools that enable you to provide exceptional customer service and in turn optimize your profitability. Become a Customer For Life Company by enabling Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. Improve a little, achieve big.

Improve:

  1. Communications
  2. Listening
  3. Collaboration
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Problem solving

Increase:

  1. Repeat business
  2. Referrals
  3. Cross-sell
  4. Up-sell
  5. Customer longevity

When you become a customer for life company, you validate all that is important. Validation matters. It benefits employees, vendors, partners and customers. To become a customer for life company means that you aligned your goals with action, resulting in measurable customer focused outcomes.

Customer service and support are as responsible for the success of the business as sales and marketing. Make customer satisfaction the job of everyone in your company.

 
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