Companies spend big money and significant resources to acquire new customers while they tend to give little thought about how to hold onto clients who are heading for the exits. That’s a mistake.
Businesses need to change their thinking on this front and retool their strategies to dedicate more time and effort to retain the customers they already have. They can do that by elevating the customer experience.
The new book “Taking Your Customer Care to the Next Level” explains how.
Authors Nadji Tehrani and Steve Brubaker (News - Alert), both customer care experts, take readers on a journey that explores the importance of repeat business, and how to go the extra mile to keep customers coming back. The book also explains the difference between sales and marketing, and it looks at the role of content, leadership, listening, marketing, mobile, people, personalization, social media, training, and video in taking customer care to the next level.
Customer experience, as you’re probably already aware, has become a hot topic in recent years, and there’s no shortage of companies that are pushing the message that they are keenly focused on CX. But for all the talk about this subject, there are very few organizations out there today that deliver truly next-level customer care, Tehrani and Brubaker note in their new book.
“Ironically, as we searched for relevant experiences of companies with extraordinary customer care, we had great difficulty finding more than a handful of companies that have truly put the complete package together for taking their customer care to the next level,” the authors write.
The bottom line is that customers today, for the most part, simply are not being wowed by the companies with which they do business. There are, of course, a few rare exceptions to that rule. The book illustrates the first point by sharing actual case studies and examples of experiences that, the authors say, should be shocking if it weren’t for the fact that poor customer experience has become the norm. More importantly, however, “Taking Your Customer Care to the Next Level” looks at some examples of companies and other organizations that have done just what the book’s title suggests. Among the companies noted in the book are Ace Hardware, Amazon, American Express, Apple (News - Alert), Disney, The Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Wine Enthusiast, Zappos, and even a doctor’s office.
In the book, Tehrani offers a personal example of how one business he interfaced with offered next-level customer care. It was a doctor’s office he visited while away from home after falling and cutting his eyebrow. The doctor not only took great care in giving him stitches, but also put him at ease by engaging with him in a friendly conversation. The following day the doctor herself called Tehrani at his home to check up on him.
“We call that going the extra mile,” says Tehrani.
Delivering next-level customer care is important for a few key reasons, as the authors explain. But one of the top justifications for spending the time and money to implement a new strategy to deliver next-level customer care is that it’s far less expensive to keep existing customers than it is to win and onboard new ones.
That said, Tehrani and Brubaker urge readers, if your advertising budget line item is greater for customer acquisition than customer retention, you are fighting a losing battle. They emphasize the importance of putting more resources into existing customers, who as a result will stay loyal and even become advocates.
TMC CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert), Nadji’s son, notes in the foreword to the book that traditionally it has cost six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it did to keep an existing one. However, he adds, in the age of social media it is 100 times more expensive to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. That’s in part because of the significant price companies often pay in loss of brand reputation when departing customers not only leave, but also share their poor experiences with the rest of the world via social media, which makes it more of a challenge to win new customers going forward.
As billionaire businessman Warren Buffet notes: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
It’s also worthwhile to mention the following Marketing Metrics data noted in the book: The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20 percent, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent.
Yet, for so many organizations, valuing customers is more of an idea expressed in their marketing materials than part of the culture and strategy. Telling customers we care about them while at the same time expecting them to wait on hold for a long time, not giving them an easy option to reach a live customer care assistant, and/or failing to truly take their complaints and requirements into consideration simply doesn’t ring true, and these kinds of things can leave a bad taste in mouths of customers – assuming they remain as customers at all.
All that needs to change, as the senior Tehrani and Brubaker note. Business owners and executives, they say, must lead by example to put the customers’ needs at the forefront and develop incentives, policies, and training to match the needs of the customers.
Indeed, customer care is about more than making the sale and then moving on. It’s about cultivating long-term relationships. That’s how stores used to operate in years past. The authors say that the good news is that – with the right culture and strategies in place – we can do that again, but in a whole new way that speaks to what’s happening now.
Whatever the era, customers want to be treated with respect, and know the organizations with which they do business value them as customers and understand their needs. Customers also want to be able to conduct business with as little friction as possible, and their expectations for experiences may differ depending upon the setting, time, or situation.
While systems like integrated CRM solutions, location-based technology, marketing automation, mobile apps, and omnichannel customer care can help make that happen, the bottom line is that businesses need to have the right people in place to deliver next-level customer care. By the right people, the authors mean people who are compassionate and helpful, and who have the information and skillsets to get the job done. Staffing the correct number of customer care people is also key to this equation.
“Poor customer relations cost companies nearly $41 billion each year,” Tehrani and Brubaker write. “But this doesn’t have to be the case. Preserve relationships by providing the utmost compassion for your customers.”
To hear more about what Tehrani and Brubaker have to say in the book, visit nextlevelcustomercare.com. You may order your copy of “Taking Your Customer Care to the Next Level” on Amazon.com (News - Alert).
Meet the Authors
The authors of the new book “Taking Your Customer Care to the Next Level” are both industry veterans who bring a wealth of experience to the subject of customer care and how to use it to retain customers and build your business.
Nadji Tehrani is credited with making teleservices and call centers America’s biggest growth business. He founded Technology Marketing Corp. in 1972, and a decade later he launched Telemarketing magazine – considered the “bible” in helping companies around the globe increase their sales, deliver superior customer care, and build market share.
In the years since, the magazine evolved to become Customer Interaction Solutions and now CUSTOMER magazine in a move to reflect the expanding role customer experience plays not just in the call center, but across all interaction channels and business disciplines, including product design, marketing, and sales. Tehrani remains the executive group publisher and editor-in-chief of CUSTOMER magazine to this day.
Tehrani is also the recipient of numerous awards. In 2003 he was inducted into the American Teleservices Association Hall of Fame. He was presented with the National Leadership Award from The National Republican Congressional Committee. And he was selected by then-Congressman Tom DeLay as the honorary co-chairman of the Business Advisory Council.
Steve Brubaker began his career at leading contact center solutions provider InfoCision (News - Alert) in 1985, where he currently serves as chief of staff. He’s also a member of the Direct Marketing Association, the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, and the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals.
Brubaker is the recipient of numerous industry and other awards. In 2007 he was honored with the prestigious Fulcrum (News - Alert) Award from the American Teleservices Association (now known as PACE) in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the call center industry. In 2012 he was selected by The University of Akron to receive the Simonetti Distinguished Business Alumni Award. And just last year he accepted The University of Akron Honors College Distinguished Alumni Award.
The InfoCision executive is also known for his popular blog, The-Right-Call, in which he offers tips on such topics as how to create a personalized customer care experience, how to ensure all employees deliver a consistent face for the brand, and how to keep workers motivated so they can deliver the best possible customer experience.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino