Peloton used to have a recurring customer engagement issue. The high-end stationary bike maker’s products were delivered by a third party vendor that did not embrace any of Peloton’s customer-centric values. In the customer feedback data that Peloton pored over, the insight was invaluable: “I don’t like Peloton because I had a bad delivery experience.” “I’m not going to recommend Peloton to my friends.”
The criticism struck a nerve with management, which more than anything else placed a high value on the relationship it has with its customers. Peloton started delivering its own bikes to certain zip codes, eventually shipping 70 percent of the high-end stationary bikes on its own.
The lesson commercial printers can walk away with is simple: Customer engagement is paramount, so putting a premium on going that extra mile is critical to brand sustainability.
The newest buzzword in customer engagement is Return on Experience (ROX), a framework that can help companies spot vulnerabilities and opportunities in customer management. Measuring ROX can help your print shop understand the importance of investments in the parts of your company directly related to how people interact with you and your employees.
And interaction matters. According to “The Customer Rage Study,” $202 billion was at risk due to customer problems with products/services. The report by the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and the Center for Services Leadership, showed it takes 4.2 contacts with a brand to satisfy a customer complaint. When things like customer service work, 48 percent say they will recommend what you do, the survey found.
Kristina Podnar believes that engraining the “extra steps” mentality into your culture is leadership focused. The key is having your strategic business goals translate into your objectives and communicated to your entire organization. The alignment is critical. Do you have measurable outcomes that tie directly back into the business goals? Are you doing the right things, both from a return on investment perspective and in terms of promoting your brand and company values?
Once you establish your leadership focus, Podnar says that you must become operationally focused. Have you adopted the right functionality in order to meet your business strategic goals? Have you adopted industry best practice, legal/regulatory requirements and lessons learned from your own initiatives to ensure you are on the right course?
“Asking these questions ensures that your organization is directly tied to the business drivers that everyone is working toward common outcomes,” says Podnar, who has consulted with brands such as Fannie Mae, Verizon and Delta Airlines, among many others.
Podnar suggests thinking about your business like it is an airplane crew. The pilot has a safety plan and checklist, ensuring that the airplane is sound to fly to its destination. The crew has its pre-flight checklist, including ensuring safety inside of the cabin, and ample food and drink to get everyone comfortably to the destination. “They each do their own thing, but in a coordinated way that focuses both on safety, enjoyment and arriving at the destination in the best and most timely way possible,” she says. “And regularly running through these questions ensures continual plan and execution alignment.”
Living Your Brand Through Your Customers’ Eyes
Why does doing more matter in your customers’ eyes? It is a question Michele Wierzgac asks her clients to think about a lot. The highly sought thought leadership expert says that one of the most basic premises your brand should embrace is the one that when a customer comes to you, they expect nothing but the best—in everything.
They expect your product or service to fit their needs and your customer service to exceed their expectations—period. If not, there is no brand loyalty. “Customers have numerous options to find what they need,” Wierzgac says. “If they do not believe your brand is authentic, or the sales rep lacks credibility, they will move on in a heartbeat.”
The key factor in any brand going the extra mile for their customers starts at the top and in the beginning. That means making customer service training for your team a priority. In particular, companies need to spend resources on building a sales team that has old-fashioned communication skills, and truly embraces and reflects the culture of the organization.
“Your culture must be in alignment with your spiffy business and marketing plan and technology build,” Wierzgac says.
If you want your culture to matter, ask for help, she says. Review your culture with an outside expert, create sales training within the marketing plan with advisors, and execute your sales training and accountability plan with consultants outside of the organization.
“You have to have team members who have credibility and authenticity,” Wierzgac says. “They must love customers. This is all customers want today. They want respect, quality, products and expeditious services.”
5 Imperatives to Improving Your Customer Engagement
1. FUSE CX AND EX
Customer experience exists in a feedback loop with employee experience. An organization trying to improve ROX without considering EX is missing an integral part of the equation. By mapping out the connections among culture, critical behaviors and business outcomes, the ROX framework helps identify where EX has the biggest impact on CX.
2. BUILD COMMUNITIES WITH A PURPOSE
Fusing the CX and EX is easier when both groups are highly motivated to be associated with a brand or organization. It is important to figure out what employees and customers care about and to communicate your shared values. Find opportunities for meaningful engagement with both internal and external audiences.
3. BUILD ON DISCRETE MOMENTS ALONG WITH THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
In an age of ever-expanding digital options, customer loyalty can and does vanish with the touch of a button. To minimize that possibility, focus on “magic moments” that earn loyalty over time and create a relationship that endures beyond the next product search.
4. UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS BASED ON THEIR BEHAVIOR
Demographics cannot tell you how, when, where and why consumers pick you. Behavior and attitudinal attributes can. Armed with that information, you can bring together all of your commercial investments to deliver seamless, end-to-end experiences tailored to a specific shopping context.
5. WIN THE TRIP
Today there are more trips, more choices, more of everything. You can win over customers on-premise or via e-commerce by understanding what they are trying to experience and then making it easier for them to accomplish that goal through things such as ease of navigation, breadth and quality of selection, price, quality of advice or exclusivity.