Leadership on Point

This Holiday Season, Remember: Customer Loyalty Is A Two-Way Relationship

November 28, 2011 Richard Levin

The holidays are upon us and that means opportunities for retailers to develop loyalty among its customers.  The first step?  Make it easy!  Customers are busy and want to accomplish what they set out to do… without any unnecessary obstacles.  Impressing customers now could likely lead to loyalty throughout the year.

 

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Taking Service Out of Customer Service

February 23, 2011 Chip Bell - Guest Author

We were participating in a panel discussion at a conference of Fortune 100 CIO’s.  One senior leader of one of the 10 largest banks in the nation asked: “How can we maximize the profitability and efficiency of our call centers while minimizing the customer’s involvement?” Something about the question left us momentarily confused.  “Let me make sure I understand you,” one of us queried. “You want to remove all of the service out of customer service?”  The audience laughed.  But, he was dead serious as he continued, “Actually, I’d like to take most of the customer out as well!”

There has been an assertive migration toward self-service.  Self-service has had a positive side.  By shifting the lion’s share of the work on the service experience to the customer, it has lowered operating costs.  It has freed up human resources to be used in roles and functions truly requiring a human touch.  Self-service has also made customers more self-reliant as “do-it-yourself” has replaced “I’ll take care of that for you.”  Learning to fend for oneself can trigger education and confidence; customers are less dependent and far more competent.

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In the New Marketplace, the Customer is King

January 12, 2011 Richard Levin

Now that the holidays have come and gone, what have we learned?  If we didn’t know it already, we’ve learned that the customer is quirky, unpredictable, demanding, and…more than ever, the customer is king.  We’ve also learned that many businesses haven’t figured this out.  They feel the customer is an intrusion into their workday, and businesses are still woefully unprepared to deal with the challenging customer.

But just to clarify: this is not going to be a business-bashing blog.  On the contrary.  It’s a wake-up call for both the business and the customer, neither of whom understands their new role in a very different marketplace.  For businesses, it’s time to learn how to see around corners, to shine a spotlight in to the dark corners of the consumer’s psyche, and most of all to be prepared.

The marketplace is a psychological place, not just a physical and financial one.  It’s filled with mind-games, strange behaviors, and psychopathology.

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