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VOL. 37 | NO. 2 | Friday, January 11, 2013

Customers pay more for better experience

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Despite what you may believe about how price-sensitive consumers are given the economic realities of late, Oracle’s “Customer Experience Impact Report” indicates 86 percent of customers would pay 25 percent more for a better customer experience.

Now that’s ammunition for your sales team. When they receive resistance from a prospect regarding price, building value around your top-notch customer experience may help overcome that price obstacle. But first, you have to ensure your experience is truly stellar and be able to prove it. Here’s how.

Every quarter, send a 10-question survey to your customers from the prior quarter. Begin by asking them to rate their satisfaction with your company overall in addition to key customer contact departments. Have them rate the value they receive from the products or service they buy from your company. Inquire about what makes your company different in their view, and why they originally elected to do business with you. Then ask if your company has delivered on those initial expectations.

Consider asking if they refer you, and why or why not. Willingness to refer is a strong indicator of true customer loyalty as their neck is on the line if they refer poorly. Round out your questions with a simple inquiry about what your firm can do to improve its customer experience.

You might consider contracting with someone from the outside to call your key accounts and any dormant customers annually, as they are much more likely to speak frankly with a stranger than in a company-administered survey.

Once you know, definitively, that your customer experience is beyond reproach, now you have to prove it to new prospective customers, as your competitors no doubt make similar claims. One way is to use the results of your customer survey. Promoting the fact that 90 percent of your customers are highly satisfied with your service is a strong differentiator.

Another way to prove it is to share testimonials from raving customers. If you calculate customer retention and referral numbers, these are strong indicators of customer loyalty and are worth sharing as you make the case for your exemplary customer experience.

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reports that most dissatisfied customers will tell nine to 15 people and 13 percent of those will tell over 20. Considering the viral nature of social media, a preferred channel for sharing brand dissatisfaction stories, the number of eyes seeing that negative feedback could be astonishingly high. The risk in not asking for this vital experience feedback is simply too great.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and managing partner of RedRover Sales & Marketing, www.redrovercompany.com, with offices in Memphis and Nashville. Follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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