Join Craig Bailey for Conference in
If you are considering embarking on the journey to becoming customer
centric, join Customer Centricity president Craig Bailey as he delivers a
2-day seminar entitled
Customer Centricity - Leveraging the Voice of the Customer to Maximize
Business Results on 17-18 October, 2005, in
Malaysia. The seminar, organized in conjunction with Global Intelligence
Networks, will cover strategic and tactical approaches to becoming
Get 30% off the seminar fee when you mention that
you heard about this via the Customer Centricity newsletter!
Customer Advocacy - Getting Into the Heart and Mind of Your
We began this series
on Customer Advocacy earlier this year, after receiving a number of
inquiries from clients and newsletter subscribers, many of whom are
Managed Service Providers (MSPs). The first stage of the topic is now
complete and is
available online (see editions 70 to 77). We now begin Stage 2 on the
proactive Customer Advocate - Getting Into the Heart and Mind of Your
I recently attended a seminar in which the name of one of my clients (an
MSP) came up. The speaker posed a question, something to the effect of
"why do people buy from [MSP]?" The response to the question included
NOTHING about the firm's products, services, features, functions, pricing,
people, leading edge technology, massive data centers, global presence, or
multi-decade experience in the industry. NOTHING. The overwhelming
response from the attendees (customers of this MSP) was "TRUST." Pure and
simple trust. "I trust that [MSP] will take care of my business."
To be clear, your products, services, people, technology, etc. are table
stakes to be in the business you are in. But, if that's all you've got,
you have been, or soon will become, commoditized, competing solely on
price. Not a place you want to be.
The question then becomes: "How do I earn trust (to be able to get into
the heart and mind of my customer)?" Do you earn trust by making promises?
No. You earn trust by thinking and acting in the best interests of your
customer. And, you do what you said you would do.
As we embark on stage 2 of the Customer Advocacy topic, we won't reiterate
the reasons this is important. That would be "preaching to the converted."
Instead, in keeping with our style, we will simply share how to create a
proactive Customer Advocacy mind-set that should be instilled in every
customer-facing employee in your firm.
Customer Advocacy Model
What is a proactive Customer Advocate? Someone who:
Is an internal champion for the client
Knows the clients' businesses well enough to represent
their needs to the many departments and personnel within the firm
Ensures a mutually profitable relationship
Anyone in a firm who "touches" the customer can and should be a Customer
Advocate. To do this effectively requires a set of tools and skills
associated with each level of engagement with the client:
- Individual interactions (One and done) - How to achieve mutual
understanding within simple customer interactions to ensure needs and
expectations are met or exceeded, and how to treat every customer
interaction as part of a bigger (relationship) picture.
- Transactional interactions - How to be the "good shepherd,"
ensuring that you (or your firm) follows through on what was promised to
the customer (issue resolution, answer to a question, processing of an
- Projects - How to orchestrate holistic delivery of a
multi-faceted solution involving multiple interrelated tasks and
activities of resources from multiple firms (yours, the customer and
potentially 3rd party vendors) while buffering the client from the
- Relationship - How to foster a relationship of a "mutual exchange
of value," both by reflecting on "where we have been?" in the
relationship, to build upon what has worked and improve on areas needing
attention, and by projecting into the future "where will this relationship
be in 2-4 years?"
- Evolution - How to take the firm to the next level by
internalizing the customer's feedback on the firm's performance and
understanding their current and future business needs, and responding to
position yourself as a long-term strategic partner for your customer.
In the next edition, we will start discussing the tools and skills
necessary to BEGIN building trust with your client.
If your organization would benefit from receiving a comprehensive seminar
on the practical approaches for instituting the Customer Advocacy model,
give us a call. The tools and techniques shared can be implemented
immediately and create long-lasting positive results.
View previous articles in this series.
Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down
You asked, we listened! In response to a reader request for more stories
of "good" and "bad" customer service (similar to the Southwest Airlines
series depicting excellent customer service), we are creating this
Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down column. What memorable customer experiences
have you had? Which experiences delighted you, causing you to remain
loyal? Which ones made you decide to "never go back?"
The focus should be on the customer service behavior, not necessarily the
company. Our requestor offered the following experience, which we present
as the first installment of this column:
I took my credit card and daughter to [an electronics superstore]
today to buy her a new computer. Couldn't even get waited on. Then went to
[another electronics superstore]. Same thing. Couldn't get waited
on. Store wasn't busy. Left with no computer. Even if employees are busy,
we understand that, but they could at least say "I'll be with you in a
minute." They acted as if we weren't even there. I won't be back to either
store. Nor will anyone in my family.
Editor's note: In our experience,
this is an example, pure and simple, of corporate and/or store management
not recognizing the importance of properly rewarding, incenting and
empowering customer-facing staff to meet or exceed customer expectations.
If you'd like insight on how to reward and incent customer service
representatives, download our free
whitepaper on the subject. Or to learn first hand, join us for a
seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (17-18 October). If you are not
available to join us in Malaysia, give us a call to discuss ways we can
make these insights and tried and true approaches available to you.
Submit Customer Experience
+ Customer Advocacy - Getting Into the Heart and Mind
of Your Customer
+ Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
+ Recommended Reading
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The Performance Paradox, by Jena McGregor, appears in the April 2005
issue of Fast Company magazine. It presents the paradox: Once you
prove what you can do, you're expected to do it even better. As Ms.
McGregor writes, "Great companies and their employees have always endured
this treadmill of expectations. But these days, the brewing forces of
technology, productivity, and transparency have accelerated the cycle to
So, how do you beat the expectations game? It's not easy, but as Ms.
McGregor alludes to, getting into the heart and mind of your customer is
an important start.
Do you have a
topic you would like to see covered in our newsletter?
Contact us with your suggestions.
About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through
better service delivery and management.
We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support
teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other
key operations functions.
In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your
customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner
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