Lynn Daniel

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Small Touchpoints Matter in a Big Way!

Over the past several months, I have had the pleasure of working with one of our clients, AGCO Corporation, to provide some customer experience training.  It has been a very rewarding experience and has caused me to think more closely about how important the touchpoints we have with customers really are.  Even touchpoints that we too often take for granted.  

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What It Takes to Make a Loyal Customer

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of our client's service and sales location.  I particularly wanted to meet the team at this agricultural equipment dealer because of their sound performance on our survey program.  After spending several hours there, I came away with several observations.

First, they have designed their processes to actually serve customers.  Second, employees appeared quite engaged in what they were doing.  Lastly, there was a palpable sense of pride in what they were doing.  The visit provided many insights into how to deliver excellent customer service.

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How to Build Emotionally Positive B2B Customer Experiences.

I serve on the Board of Directors of a commercial construction company.  At our last meeting, we had a discussion about the increasing competitiveness of the industry and what strategies might be appropriate to differentiate further the company.  Management was talking about the increasing trend where a commercial construction company is viewed as a commodity.  Whoever can provide the lowest price, meet the quality standards, and hit the completion date wins the bid.

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Is a fantastic product alone enough for true success?

A fantasic product will only take you so far to success. I have argued that a strategy based mainly on product differentiation; without considering other aspects of a customer’s journey, is not a robust strategy for the long run. 

Why? 

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There is More to the Game than the Score in Customer Service

Our clients often ask about how to most effectively use the outcome score (e.g., NPS, loyalty index, overall satisfaction, etc.) to improve the customer service experience. Over the years, a number have opted to include an objective for Net Promoter Score® performance, as an example. The outcome measure becomes a part of the manager’s evaluation and compensation.

Unfortunately, using the score as an incentive has several unintended consequences:
  • Inevitably, arguments arise over whether to include or exclude individual surveys. Sometimes, a small number of negative surveys may have a disproportionate impact on the outcome measured. Unproductive discussions arise about fixing the score rather than fixing the store.
  • Getting a sufficient number of surveys, so the score is reflective of actual performance is difficult for clients with multiple locations of varying sizes
  • Focusing too much on the score instead of listening to what customers are saying about what they like and dislike about the service experience.
Of course, you still need to keep score. After all, financial statements are a way of keeping score. They tell us where opportunities are though not necessarily what to do about them—just like customer feedback. For example, if inventory is too high or too low, we take action to adjust it. If sales and marketing expenses are out of line, we correct the spending.

How do you balance a focus on the score with the need to encourage people to take action? There are several ways to do this. Some of the steps our clients have taken include:
  • Adding critical action items as a component of dealer excellence. One of our clients is a manufacturer selling its products through a dealer network. Until this year, they had NPS as a significant component of their dealer excellence program. They removed it this year and, instead, made implementing a critical action item or items to improve the service experience as a component of dealer excellence. Now, field people evaluate the improvements and offer suggestions for improvement. The company still has an overall NPS objective, but the focus now is less on the score and more on encouraging/incenting dealers to take the specific step(s) to create a better customer experience.
  • Creating a Customer Experience Playbook. One client developed a playbook with proven measures to improve the customer experience. To ensure that their branch locations are following the playbook, they are performing random audits and providing grades on both NPS performance, but, more importantly, assessments on how well they are implementing the customer experience playbook.
  • Utilizing technology. Other clients are looking at how technology can be deployed to improve communication with their customers, something critical to customer satisfaction and loyalty in the B-to-B world. With this technology, they can let the customer know repair status or where a part is. Importantly, they notify the customer if the service will be completed at the time promised, whether it will be early or late. They communicate with the customer via email, phone or text. This technology has been in the auto industry for some years but is now moving into the B-to-B space.
Again, scores do matter. After all, that is what sports teams look at when the game is over. However, the scores do not say much about how the game was played. To improve customer experience in the B-to-B world, we still need to pay attention to the score but more important is how the game is being played. Read More
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Service Innovations Are in Front of You

Posted by Lynn Daniel

Too often we look for big “I” innovations.  Splashy new ways to communicate with customers, enter orders, or provide detailed product information.  But there are small “I” ways to innovate, which I saw on a recent trip to Yancey Brothers, a Caterpillar dealer in Atlanta, GA. 

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The Importance of listening to the 'Quiet' Customer

Posted by Lynn Daniel

Do you find that you often focus on the happy or angry customers but not the quiet customers? Are you assuming the silent ones are delighted since they are not complaining? Think again.

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Would You Take Your Own B2B Customer Satisfaction Survey?

In my blog last week, I discussed the question of When Is a Survey Too Long?  In this week’s blog, I want to continue a discussion about the elements of creating a good customer survey and a good survey process.  If you are conducting surveys, either in your company or working with an outside vendor, I want to pose the question, “Would you take your own survey?”  If the answer is “No,” continue reading this blog.  Even if it is “Yes,” you will likely find some useful ideas for future surveys. 

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When is a B-to-B Customer Satisfaction Survey too Long?

Posted by Lynn Daniel

 

Are your customers complaining that your surveys are too long or are difficult to answer? Are you getting fewer completed surveys? Our clients often ask us to help them improve their customer satisfication surveys, and specifically, how many questions is too many. The answer depends on the customer and the type of survey.

We want to share some of the advice we provide our clients when considering survey length and a few suggestions to make the process easier for your customers.

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Good B2B Service Experiences Take Price Out of the Equation

As I read surveys that we complete for our clients, it becomes apparent that high prices are a frequent point of dissatisfaction for many customers. However, is the price the only thing that matters to customers? I dug a bit deeper into the data and discovered an unusual pattern.

Price does not have to be the primary driver of dissatisfaction IF excellent service is part of the equation. Let me explain.

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