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Archive of ‘Customer Service’ category

Customer Loyalty: Determining Flight Risk

After two years of class in B-school, one thing you learn is how much Academia likes to use 2×2 models (or similar models). Most of the time, these models are more of a way to give a simple representation to help with retention of a complicated or abstract concept, but sometimes they are actually helpful.

One I was recently shown looks at the idea of Customer Loyalty. While customer loyalty is one of the most studied and discussed topics, in day-to-day business we often neglect it. Most agree that customer retention is critical to business survival (and prosperity), but then we turn around and spend more time and investment in generating new leads and potential customers. To a fault, we tend to lump the world into past customers and people have not purchased. We take our past customers for granted and expect their business to just continue. Look at the cable industry for one. Anyone who has ever had cable will tell you that the industry rewards new customers and does whatever they can to hold their current customers hostage. But yet, while we scream and yell about this tactic, we too neglect our current customers in favor of winning new business. We devote entire departments and budgets to new businesses, but do we do the same for our current customers?

With that said, my challenge to you (the reader) is to take another look at your current customers? Who are the truly loyal? Who are you holding hostage? Who is about to escape?

Flight Risk of Your Customers

This post is not intended to make you better at customer retention. The goal here is to get you to reevaluate how you look at your customers to determine who is really loyal and what relationship you need to cultivate.

Below is a two-by-two model that I think presents an interestingly simple way to look at why and how some customers are loyal. It uses Customer Behavior and Attitude to get a deeper understanding of their Loyalty.


Loyals (blue): These are the simplest to understand. These people are your evangelists. They are extremely loyal in both their behavior and their attitude. They act as referrers and offer testimonials. You goal is to push more and more people into this box, but the question to ask yourself is, ‘How many of your customers really fall into this box?

Non-Loyals (yellow): These people are not disloyal. All people are loyal. They just aren’t loyal to you, hence the name non-loyal. They do not buy from you, so their loyalty behavior is low. They do not speak highly of you or refer others because their loyalties lie in other places. Your goal here should be to understand why these people don’t choose you? ‘Do your products not align with their needs? Does your core competency not align with what they want? Or are you neglecting a part of the market?’

Spurious Loyals (green): These are your highest flight risk. They are loyal in their behavior (repeatedly buy), but their attitude towards you is  low. An extreme example of this is your cable provider. You renew your contract, but if there was a better option you could easily be lured away. Another example of this might be a fast food restaurant close to your office or home. ‘Do you go there as often as you do because you are loyal? Or do you go because of proximity/convenience?‘ The question to ask yourself is, ‘Is your customer doing business with you because they want to, or are they doing it begrudgingly?‘ The goal here is to understand why their attitude towards you is low because if a competitor identifies that first, you will quickly lose these customers that you probably currently count on. My guess is, you probably have a much larger percentage of your portfolio in this box then you think.

Latent Loyals (pink): These people have a very positive attitude towards you, but their behavior does not match. A prime example of this would be your luxury goods. There are people in this world who are extremely loyal to Porsche though they have never owned one. People believe in your product, but do they buy it? Price is not the only factor here though. They might believe your product is high-quality and great for others, but have a misalignment with their own particular needs. Understanding why these people have a positive attitude can help you better understand some of your issues with your other loyalty boxes, but the question you must ask yourself is, ‘Why are these people not buying? Do I really understand their needs?

So where do your customers lie?

What percentage of your past customers make up these different boxes?

What are you doing to understand their behavior?

What are you doing to understand their attitude?

Google Analytics in Real Life: Landing Page Optimization

A couple years ago, Google produced a series of videos titled “Google Analytics in Real Life”.  These hilarious videos explain the common frustrations of website visitors played out in real life scenarios.

The following video addresses interruptions to the conversion process caused by distractions on your landing pages:

You too can avoid causing this same confusion on your site. In our 3-day Mastering Google Analytics Course you will learn to leverage Google Analytics to better track and optimize your site.


Google Analytics in Real Life: The Online Checkout

A couple years ago, Google produced a series of videos titled “Google Analytics in Real Life”.  These hilarious videos explain the common frustrations of website visitors played out in real life scenarios.

The following video addresses the online checkout process and the problems people face logging in, entering those ridiculous security codes, shipping rates and more.

You too can avoid causing this same confusion on your site. In our 3-day Mastering Google Analytics Course you will learn to leverage Google Analytics to better track and optimize your site.

Value-Added Selling Part 5

Selling Benefits, Not Features

Last post I discussed engaging with your customer in part four of this five part series on value-added selling. In this final part of the series, I’ll discuss the importance of selling benefits instead of features, and how to present your solution — the right solution — to your customer.

The value you add to the sales situation is demonstrated in various ways, many of which we already discussed in previous portions of this series. However, it all comes together in the way in which you present the solution to your client. Let’s discuss exactly how this is done.

First, we must cover a simple lesson on features versus benefits since it is critical that you understand the difference, and many people get them confused. A feature is something you want while a benefit is something you need. For instance, when you go to a hardware store to buy a ¼ inch drill bit, is that what you need or what you want? You don’t need a ¼ inch drill bit. You NEED a ¼ inch hole, but you WANT a ¼ inch drill bit in order to make the hole. The salesman in the hardware store, in knowing what it is you actually need, can help address what it is you’ll ultimately want to buy. (more…)

Value-Added Selling Part 4

Engaging with Your Customer

In my last post I discussed relationship selling as the third part of this five part series on value-added selling. In this post, I’ll discuss how to engage yourself in your customer’s business.

As I had previously mentioned, value-added selling means becoming more than a sales rep trying to sell something. It means being truly concerned about your customer’s needs and becoming more of a partner than a vendor. For instance, there are many things you can do to become more engaged with your customer’s business than just working with the one contact (person) you have.

First of all, you should always try to call at the highest level of management as possible. If you sell too low in the organization, you probably won’t be talking to the decision maker. Sometimes this is unavoidable since the manager might have delegated the research and recommendation phases to one of his direct reports. If this is the case, then you’ll have a more difficult time reaching higher levels until you’ve convinced this lower-level individual to recommend your company and product. But that doesn’t mean you don’t try. (more…)

Value-Added Selling Part 3

Relationship Selling

In my previous post I discussed selling your company in part two of this five part series on value-added selling. In this post I’ll discuss the importance of building a relationship with your customer by becoming a trusted partner that can help solve their problems.

Today customers are more sophisticated and knowledgeable. They are more skeptical and resistant to spend their hard-earned money. So they do research on what’s available, who the competitors are, the market, pricing options, and anything that will help them make a more informed decision. And sometimes they may know more about your company, your products, your competitors and your market than you do. How? Simple. A little thing called the internet has put a wealth of knowledge into the hands of consumers and businesses. So you have to make sure you know what they know, and even more. (more…)

Value-Added Selling Part 2

Selling Your Company

In my last post I introduced part one of this five part series on value-added selling where I discussed adding value by first establishing your credibility. In this post, I’ll discuss the next step, which is when and how to “sell your company” to your prospect.

The Elevator Pitch

The first thing you need to do is develop a “sell the company” statement, which helps position your company. This statement is typically referred to as an “elevator pitch” because it should be short enough to tell someone exactly what you do in the time it takes them to get on and off an elevator. Here’s the drill – You’re in an elevator and someone enters with you. They say, “Hi. What do you do?” You have about 4 floors to get them to understand what you do before they walk out. Can you do it? Possibly not. (more…)

Value-Added Selling Part 1

Add Value by Establishing Credibility

I would like to focus this post on value-added selling. But this topic is big. In fact it’s so big that I am going to cover it over five posts. In this first installment, I will define value-added selling and talk about how establishing credibility is an important first step in selling value to your customers.

What is Value-Added Selling?

Value-added selling simply means there has to be some inherent worth to the client from what he is purchasing from you. Obviously, to present and sell the right solution (and the right solution means one that has value to your client) you first must understand what your customer needs, how they operate, what problems they may experience, and more. Therefore, you should learn about your customers’ businesses, what products they offer, who they sell to, what their market is like, who their competitors are, the lingo or catch phrases they use in their industry, their unique business challenges, and any information that will help you better understand them and their business problems. (more…)

Dealing with Difficult Customers

Top 6 Tips for Handling Unreasonable Requests

Customers – Some times ya love ‘em. Sometimes ya want to kill em’. We’ve all dealt with difficult customers before. I’m not just talking about the complainer or the “problem child.” I’m talking about the one who keeps making unreasonable requests of you and your company, or has unrealistic expectations about what you should be doing for them. And no matter what you do for them, they don’t seem to be happy about it. How do you deal with these difficult customers? Here are six tips for handling these difficult customers and their unreasonable requests. They may not work all the time, but I know they will help you most of the time, and at least help you keep your sanity while not harming your business.


The Changing Face of Sales

How Sales Has Changed Over the Past Few Years and How to Adapt

Over the past few years the sales environment has changed in a number of ways. The reasons are vast but typically relate to the changes in our society, economy, business models, technology and more. When it comes right down to the actual selling environment, there are a few distinct attributes that stand out today that didn’t seem to be as noticeable, or even a factor, just a few years ago.

The key for all sales organizations and individual sales professionals alike is to understand and adapt to these changes. Few organizations today still live through the experience of the ‘90s where prospects would actually call them and buy something without having to work hard at finding and acquiring these leads. Back then, even poor sales performance was rewarded with revenue and quota achievement, in spite of a lack of skills and hard work.

Now that things have changed and the phone doesn’t seem to ring off the hook for many businesses, sales people have to work harder to find and sell to these illusive prospects. In order to be successful in sales today you, as a sales professional, need to understand what changes have occurred and work harder and smarter to make sure your prospects believe that your offerings will solve their problems, and that what they are purchasing is better than your competitors’ offerings. Let’s discuss a few major changes that have occurred to get a better understanding of what you might need to adjust in order to adapt and become even more successful in sales today. (more…)