The Customer Experience Highway:
We consistently hear about the importance of the customer experience. You understand the value, but how do you evaluate and improve the customer experience you provide? And where does the customer experience begin?
Too often, the focus is on the experience after the sales process, usually starting around implementation. Don’t get me wrong, implementation is crucial, and so is the customer service your organization continues to provide your customer. But the customer experience begins with the sales relationship. In many ways this is the most important part of the journey on the highway to the overall customer satisfaction. If you don’t create a compelling and valuable sales experience you run the risk of them getting off at the first exit, in which case you won’t have a customer at all.
There are three questions I ask myself and my teams to assess our customer’s sales experience. I suggest you and your team spend time reflecting on, discussing, and writing down your answers to these important questions.
- Who is our target customer and what do they care about? The experience a customer is seeking is dependent on what interests them and what they value. Be thoughtful about the profile of your customers and their priorities. This will help to build your relationship and create trust that your organization understands their needs.
- What are other organizations in the industry doing? Understanding the competitive landscape is an important part of knowing trends, what customers expect, and what you can do to set your organization apart. Do you know what customers who don’t buy from you like about the competition?
- What is your competitive advantage? Once you have an understanding of the industry, take time to evaluate what sets you apart from your peers. Truly unique competitive advantage is wonderful if you really have it. But it’s rare. Aim for what makes you exceptional. In the sales experience, your advantage ought to be about the expertise and experience your sellers can rely on to create insights with customers.
With this in mind, you can design and deliver a valuable sales experience which will foster an outstanding customer experience. Remember you aren’t just selling you are creating lasting relationships with your customers.
For more on creating a powerful sales experience, you may find my article Would Customers Pay for Your Sales Calls? especially relevant.
Recovery from Shoulder Surgery:
For the past 10 days I’ve been recovering from shoulder surgery. On the front end I was even looking forward to a few days off, but in hindsight, recovery and rest are not synonymous! Sleeping upright is a skill I learned through many years of travel, but I can’t say it’s comfortable; and while I thought I was tired of Zoom calls, the energy and time it takes me to type an email with one hand has ignited my love of the video meeting. I expect to start to see small improvements in my shoulder every day. When my recovery is complete, I expect to be even stronger and have a new normal to my daily rhythms. In many ways, I see parallels between my shoulder recovery and what businesses are going through right now. The healing process is awkward, frustrating, and exhausting. It requires us to learn new ways of doing things, and even the smallest tasks can feel overwhelming. No matter how difficult it feels, we have to stick with it and be patient, and hope for a new normal that will be even better. What can you do today to help your business recover?
Our relationship with the food and beverage industry changed overnight when COVID-19 hit the United States. As most states begin to reopen, I often find myself wondering what elements of our daily life will be permanently altered. Will people go back to a physical office? Will crowded restaurants be appealing? How will this impact consumer behavior? This article examines and predicts some of the lasting behavioral changes that will affect not only the food industry, but the rest of the economy as well.
Question to Ponder:
What are you doing to design and deliver a compelling sales experience as a means to create a more valuable customer experience?