Inspirational business leader Harvey Mackey said, “No business can stay in business without customers. How you treat – or mistreat – them determines how long your doors stay open.” There has never been a time when this is a more pertinent business lesson than in the 21st century. According a recent white paper from Webby, customers are expecting a higher level of customer service, transparency, and engagement with their brands.
Customers don’t just want good service, though. They want to be personally involved with the companies they buy from. According to the recent preview of the Forrester 2014 CXi report, emotional engagement is a more powerful driver for brand interaction and consumer experience than effectiveness or ease of service.
This means that, as consumers become more personally engaged in researching and purchasing, it is vital for you to ascertain just how customer-driven your business is. Use this quiz to help you get started.
When looking over your customer relationship management (CRM) analytics, the data point that interests you most is:
A. How many customers are at the purchasing stage of the sales process.
B. How many sales calls have been made to each customer.
C. The last time your high-profit customers have been contacted.
D. The feedback remarks from your customer service tickets.
When you evaluate your current sales staff, most of them are:
A. Breaking sales records with few repeat customers.
B. Making good leads, but closing few sales.
C. Making moderately good sales from a handful of high-producing customers.
D. Making good sales and leads from both repeat and new customers.
When your business phone rings:
A. Various members of your staff answer promptly, although non-sales related calls are put on hold or dropped.
B. A designated staff member answers the phone eventually, although customers sometimes complain about the length they’ve been on hold or times they’ve been transferred.
C. Someone from your team always answers the phone within a few rings, although current and former customers are given more attention than other calls.
D. Members of your team consistently answer the phone within 3 rings and give equal attention to prospects and callers that may not directly impact your bottom line.
When you invest in coaching, you choose programs that:
A. Teach sales tactics like negotiation, buyer psychology, and closing strategies.
B. Focus on selling, but always include an obligatory section on customer service.
C. Pair good selling techniques with pro-customer service messages – you have important customers to keep happy.
D. Focus on improving sales and service through better customer communication, empathy, and benefit selling.
Your typical social media marketing plan includes:
A. Aggressive marketing updates (10-20 per day) highlighting your company’s goods and services.
B. Strong marketing updates (5-7 per day), with a few “customer interest” links included (such as famous quotes or retweets of helpful resources).
C. Several marketing updates (5-7 per day), with heavy interaction (retweets, direct messages, and conversations) with a few key clients.
D. Mostly high-interest resource updates (5-7 per day) with several direct marketing messages (1-2 per day) and a few short conversations with prospects, current clients, and naysayers alike.
Generally, your sales team’s responsibilities look like this on a weekly basis:
A. 70% cold calls and new business appointments, 10% managing existing accounts, 10% social selling and CRM activities, 10% customer service calls.
B. 40% cold calls and new business appointments, 40% managing existing accounts, 0% social selling and CRM activities, 20% customer service calls.
C. 10% cold calls and new business appointments, 60% managing existing accounts, 10% social selling and CRM activities, 20% customer service calls.
D. 30% cold calls and new business appointments, 20% managing existing accounts, 20% social selling and CRM activities, 30% customer service calls.
When you lose customers, it’s usually because:
A. Your competition had a better price or sales strategy.
B. You can’t make everyone happy. People just leave sometimes.
C. They weren’t really worth putting a lot of time or energy into.
D. The customer no longer needed the service.
When a product isn’t selling the way you want it to, your gut instinct is to:
A. Offer better incentives to your sales team.
B. Mark it down. The lower the price, the more you’ll sell.
C. Increase the benefit – give extra incentives to the customer to buy.
D. Poll your customers and find out what they’re really looking to purchase.
When you have a customer with an escalated concern, you respond by:
A. Making a new customer to replace him or her.
B. Apologizing, but not changing any policy or processes.
C. Providing additional options and opportunities based on how much the customer is potentially worth in the long run.
D. Listening to the concern, making restitution where applicable, and requesting feedback on how to improve your future relationship
A majority of your sales meetings are spent on:
A. Going over recent sales numbers and honoring high producers.
B. Discussing production and business processes.
C. How to further sell a handful of high-producing clients.
D. Ways that sales, office, and managerial staff can support positive customer relationships.
Mostly As – Sales, Not Service
Your business might be making huge amounts of money, but it also has a reputation for treating people like profit points. Although your sales team is financially successful, it comes at the price of very few repeat customers. While this strategy might work for a few months or years, it’s not sustainable. The dehumanization of your customer base can lead to brand backlash and may eventually sink your money-making empire. In addition, it may drive away customer-centric employees who would rather treat people fairly than make an extra buck.
Mostly Bs – Customer Aware
True, you make sure that your staff does the necessary customer service training and you try to answer the phones with a smile, but you’re not fooling anyone. Customers leave because the day-to-day management of your business is more important to you than they are. Often, this is due to poor organization and sales strategy, which forces you to place customer service on the back-burner. By emphasizing relationship-building instead of simply providing customer-related damage control, you can have a stronger organization overall.
Mostly Cs – Customer Caring
You know how to treat customers – as long as they are paying for your service. The high-quality leads and clients that you have love the time and attention you give them. Unfortunately, this means you have less time to find and care for new customers. Don’t worry, though. You have a good idea of what a customer-driven business can be like. Just make sure that you’re spending a little more time on making every potential prospect feel valuable. You’ll be amazed at how little you have to change in order to see a fuller sales funnel and more personal interaction with your potential customer base.
Mostly Ds – Customer Driven
Somewhere along the way, you learned that customers can do more than provide padding for your bottom line. You view them as an integral part of your decision-making process. Whether it’s complaints or accolades, you want to know what customers think so that you can create your business to be what they need. In addition, you use tools like CRM software and social media to interact with customers, not just sell them products. This kind of emotional connection with your demographic means you have incredibly loyal customers who can quickly become brand fanatics. Be careful, though. Just because you care about customers doesn’t mean you have to give your product away. They will be more than happy to pay you what you’re worth when they realize how much you care about them.
Regardless of where your company stands now, you always have the option of making your business more customer-driven. All it takes is a few adjustments to how you view your incredible customer base. When you treat customers with respect and include them as partners in your business, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you create a loyal base of brand fans.