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Customer Retention, key accounts

How to Deepen Your Client Relationships in a Virtual Environment

In challenging times working virtual and endless information, briefings, and change; people are forced to go for the easier, the less complex, and for what they know and trust. Your clients want a safe pair of hands, and unless you are conveying this message that your current clients will engage with, then many opportunities will pass you by, now and in the future.

Looking at how can you deepen your client relationships in a virtual environment. You must evolve your message, looking at your data, your client relationship, your client insights and seeing [what needs] to be refreshed, to be relevant for the wants and needs of your clients.

Despite the challenge of our times working in a virtual environment, you must seize the moment of opportunity, with short-term messaging that is relevant now, that will help now and support your long-term goal and purpose.

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Below are six strategies from the Scale Your Sales Framework that will help you to deepen your relationship with key customers and ultimately scale your sales:

  1. Retention over Acquisition.
  2. Focus on Who Are Your Key & Most Valued Clients.
  3. Get Feedback and Get Closure to Your Key Customers.
  4. Build Your Online Reputation – Do Not Be Invisible.
  5. Secure Relationship Referrals, reviews, and testimonials.
  6. Get Comfortable on video – Virtual Is Here to Stay.

 

  1. Retention over Acquisition

 

It always surprises me that I find retention, client experience, client success is not a formalized methodology and therefore, not the primary focus.

In today’s B2B environment, a commercial strategy focused on acquisition rather than on retention of existing clients is a flawed strategy.

 

The probability of selling services to an existing client “OR EVEN A FORMER CLIENT” is 60-70%, while the chance of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%. That is a lot of energy for little return.

Not being focused on the greatest gains and the most significant profit centres are wasteful and filtering away valuable resources.

Is acquisition easier than retaining clients? No!

You have probably listened to many presentations on prospecting, sales funnels, content marketing, blar, blar.

Harvard Business Review research state that if you increase retention rates by 5%, then this increases profitability by between 25% and 95%.

 

  1. Focus on Who Are Your Key & Most Valued Clients

 

Not all client is equal.

Gartner research that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your existing clients.

Do not value a client based on the amount of revenue but their profitability. Do not judge a client on their value last year but on their potential growth. If you have 10% of the available wallet for this type of service, it is more effective and efficient to work on growing this client, than securing a new client.

Most valuable clients: is about the clients who are the most profitable for your company. These clients buy more or higher-value services than the average client; they are usually only the top 20% of your total clients that collectively deliver 80% of your annual revenue.

You must identify and get on intimate terms with your most valued clients because they are significant contributors to your future revenue stream.

 

Go to ScaleYourSales CustomerX Quiz take the Scale Your Sales CustomerX Quiz and download your Report to see how you can – Get Consistent Growth from Your Most Valued Clients.

  • To Boost Key Client Experiences.
  • To Satisfy Your Buyer Needs and so,
  • Increase Your Sales Revenue.

 

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  1. Get Feedback

 

Do you know what they would say about your practice, your service and how they feel about the client experience?

There are opportunities to see where you can help how you can make it easier, and maybe be more empathetic than you have in the past. For this, you need to understand where their specific challenge is now, or what is their biggest concern.

The key is to keep it short and targeted but to survey your clients to refine what you do and how you do it for them. This is a more significant opportunity to reach your clients as humans during this very human moment in history.

Customer research and social listening allow you to, sharpen your focus and spend valuable and focused time with your clients that are more and more online.

Do not blast every client with the same lengthy ill-conceived questionnaire that feels impersonal, and signal that you do not care about them. Remember this is your key client and one you want to get closer to, to serve their needs better. Instead, plan your questions and perhaps toward the end of a client call ask a pre-prepared question. Or send an online survey with a personal thank you note online card.

You can provide your clients with advice and guidance that keeps them loyal and coming back for more. Only, if you can better retune your message and service to their specific needs, so use this time wisely to gather feedback.

 

  1. Build Your Online Reputation

 

According to Rain Group research, 82% of buyers look up sellers on LinkedIn before replying to outreach efforts.

This is your first stop in developing relationships with potential AND EXISTING clients. You cannot get a seat at your client table if you are invisible. That is you, not your brand, not your company, not the business. People buy you first, then the service you promised, and before the reputation of the company. However, your social profile can reflect poorly on you or your company.

There are many obstacles when it comes to developing relationships virtually, and invisibility is one. Developing rapport is one of the top three virtual selling challenges uncovered in LinkedIn research. If I see you online as a relatable credible human, I am more likely to engage with you and trust you.

 

Share your perspective and knowledge through articles posts, video participation in panel discussions; you have got to be visible online to be credible.

Consistently create and post snackable content instead of the 1-hour session go to 20 minutes, instead of 4-minute videos make it 1 minute. Make everything shorter including newsletters, emails, even calls, your clients have many more worries and distractions working from home or through COVID. Always be respectful of your client’s time and only ever add value that is relevant to their specific needs.

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  1. Secure Relationship Referral

 

There is no marketing better than word of mouth. A client who brings you more clients is more valuable than anybody else, even if they are not your most significant clients.

Digital Intelligence Today tells us that while consumers are 92% more likely to trust recommendations by people they know.

Referrals coming from a satisfied client they know and trust, are 4X more likely to buy, has 37% higher retention and 16% higher lifetime value.

Given this, a referral strategy should be treated less as immediate sales opportunities and more as investments in long-term growth. It is an investment in customer experience and client satisfaction strategies.

 

Make a habit of being personable, and genuine and ask, how are you? Be genuinely interested in the people in the business. You must make a habit of being helpful, sharing quality content, and engaging in meaningful interactions and consistently gain positive reviews with clients and with the focused effort, you will see valued introduction to acquaintances with similar needs. In today’s digital era, clients who leave you positive reviews, create a buzz online. Referral, Testimonials, and Reviews, all social proof has a positive financial value.

 

  1. Get Comfortable – Virtual is Here to Stay

 

The skills you develop now will carry you forward.

A recent Gartner survey showed that 48% of employees would likely work at least part of the time after COVID-19 remotely.

Video is the next best thing after face to face, so turn on your video. People like to talk to real people rather than faceless voices.

However, give your buyers the courtesy of knowing that you are using video in your calendar invitation and invite them to join you. Seeing the other person gives important cues to body language, possible distractions, and you can better tell if your client is confused by their facial expression and tone. People do not like to say, ‘I don’t understand’.

The more comfortable you are on camera, the more comfortable everyone else will be. Practice with your phone on a small tripod calling your family and friends. A recent Zoom survey found that 82% of respondents said there was a greater sense of trust with video. A camera off – conference call, signals disinterest, distraction disengaged, or multitasking – if you were doing this face to face, you would be considered rude. It is better to be present and engaged and make it short and succinct than disengaged.

 

Above all be a force for good and add specific value to each and every client relationship.  Sales is to serve, the more focused you are on delivering the kind of service that will help your customer more forward the more your customer will pay it forward. There are many benefits to working in a virtual environment and one thing is true that we are all in this together.

 

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Customer Retention

Why Now: Buyer-Centric Selling is Future-Proofing Sales Revenue

The global pandemic has accelerated a necessity for a customer-first mindset shift in all growth enterprises. Scale Your Sales helps you calibrate customer experience into your sales operations.

Now your primary objective must be to engage buyers and customers at a distance and retain your key customers with extreme focus and tenacity. You must be digital with human connection and personality. Digital is not only an essential tool to listen, engage, and sell but to build customer experiences and the deliver brand promises.  

Janice B Gordon Experience Sales ecommerce sell online

Customer experience is not only a sales focus and some traditional sales process orientated people might argue that it is not a sales function at all. Every area of the enterprise works on something that the customer will read, see, hear, or touch, in their experiences with the company. All the activities and processes within the business can be made simple or difficult for the customer. It is the sales professionals that have the job of selling what is either simple or difficult for the customer. Whatever your level or title ISR, MQR. BDR, AE, SE, CSR, CSM or AM, these sales roles have direct access and impact on the customers and buyers and therefore the experience.

Selling is no longer about delivering products and services; selling is the entire experience the buyer and customer have of your brand.

Janice B Gordon Experience Sales adult-art-conceptual-278312

During the pandemic, face to face appointments getting is no longer an option. All the roles above have had to adapt to the digital space and how they nurture customer relationships. B2B complex sales can be a long and winding road, throw in the pandemic, and now all companies are evaluating their response, survival, and growth direction, this is complexity on steroids.

Invest in your existing relationships, skill-up and gear-up your operation for the new and future opportunities and the pandemic will uncover. Sellers working with struggling industries such as hospitality and travel, must apply flexibility and give your expert advice and support.

In the Scale Your Sales Podcast I have spoken to many sales experts giving their advice on the way forward, a good friend of mine, Patricia Fripp said “COVID19 is not so much a time to sell but a time to keep in touch and be of service. Many clients are not spending money, and others are spending more. Always remember the clients that gave you the business when they had money, help them along when they do not have money. COVID is a great time to learn (invest) today and earn tomorrow.”

Janice B Gordon Experience Sales adult-chair-connection-1251850

‘As a Service’ is a growing business model that has helped hone the retention practices of many organisations. Future-proofing beyond the pandemic is to leverage the experience you create to build customer advocates. Building customer advocates is investing in your existing relationships to create significant rewards.

Buyers and customer trust their peers more than the marketing messages of the supplier or the pitch of the sales professional. You must invest in creating brand advocates and nurturing customer relationship because your valued customers become a trusted extension of your sales and marketing efforts, recommending and referring other peers to your organisation. 

Future-proofing revenue is to invest in your existing key customers and accounts to increase per account revenue. We could talk about cross-sell and upsell, you must stay close to your customer, understand their specific needs, and innovate your product and service to fulfil their (the decision-making unit) wants and needs. It is growing with the customer, creating a breath of relationships, and becoming their trusted partners in good time and helping them through the struggles and challenges.

Janice B Gordon Experience Sales adult-businessman-checkered-936128

The new normal has challenged our resources and the way we adopt the technology. However, one thing which is a certainty is that digital marketing and sales methods are the tools your customers have been engaging with for some time. It is Sellers who are only just catching up to understand what buyer-centric means:

  • Most B2B buyers are already 57% of the way through the buying process before the first meeting with a representative.
  • 78% of buyers expect sales to personalise interactions based on their online activities.
  • Sales professionals using social media are 3.6 times more times of meeting the decision-maker.
  • 86% of IT buyers use social media in their purchase decision process.

Now more than ever, buyers and customer want to buy from sales professionals that can offer real value. Customers want to work with Sellers that are making a positive difference, that has a positive culture and demonstrate their values in the way they interact with them in the experience of working together.

Selling and operating with customer experience focused lens is an opportunity to reduce cost and grow revenue. Excellent customer experiences lessen the length of the sales circle, increases customer satisfaction. It will advance co-creation and innovative improvement with the voice of the customer and trusted partnerships. The closer the customer relationships, the less time spent selling as the relationship produces a barrier to competitor entry and furthers revenue growth opportunities.

Now is the time to orientate your growth enterprise to be buyer-centric.  Companies that align towards excellent customer experience will outperform their peers with predictable revenue growth, shorth sales cycles and greater customer satisfaction and lower churn rates.  If you want to thrive through this pandemic or any other challenge that will come your way, selling can no longer be a function of sales but must be a function of the buyer and customer experience.

 

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Customer Retention, Trusted Advisors

Why Now in COVID19, is it a Great Time to Nurture Customer Advocacy

COVID19 lockdown is the perfect time to identify your customer advocates and nurture the hell out of them.

The growth in social, mobile, and subscription-based business models now make visible customer influence more critical. Peer recommendations and endorsements are the most robust B2B marketing and relationship building mechanism.

Advocate sales and marketing are about leveraging those customers that love what you do.

Who Are the Customers and Buyers That You Have a Great Relationship With? 

Laura Ramos, principal analyst, Forrester, is a promoter of empowering customers as advocates and noted that 74% of buyers go online for business purchasing, and more than half (53%) would rather research online than speak with a salesperson.

This means, you must stand out to your buyers, and not only show up online as a trusted and credible resource; but other customers must show up online as advocates of your personality, products, and service.

And here is why:

  • 92% of consumers trust a peer recommendation more than traditional advertising, and
  • In addition to this, referred customers are less likely to leave.

Getting customers to promote your brand will have a significant impact on your reputation and your revenue post COVID19.

76% of customers say they view customer service as the real test of how much a company values them. In 2017, Moz credited 13% of traffic value to online reviews, making customer feedback the 5th most important ranking factor.

What is interesting is in most circumstances, quantity is regarded higher than quality according to BrightLocal study that revealed when judging a business on customer feedback, 44% of people looked for the number of reviews.

Janice B Gordon Customer Advocacy Pixabay photo-of-boy-wearing-face-mask-4145244

Here is What You Need to do NOW:

  1. When was the last time you looked at your database of customers and reviewed the recent contacts and customer feedback and then asked the key contacts for peer recommendations, testimonials or to be a call reference?
  2. Do you have trusted relationships that would willingly support your cause and refer you to other like-minded buyers and customers? The time to ask is now.
  3. Do you collect and survey customer feedback through online reviews to gain insights into what customers want and their expectations? Now is the time to do it (read my articles on customer feedback)
  4. Have you gone back to a successful collaboration and collated results for a case study? Advocates are prime candidates to offer references for your product or service.

You are missing a trick by not considering and promoting what your customers think about you and your company. Now is the time to go the extra mile and keep your key customer in business, and in-play by being their most valuable resource and support.

On the Scale Your Sales Podcast, I have lots of discussion with experts on the impact of COVID19 on sales and what the best strategies are to come out of lockdown stronger than ever.

Engage and Nurture Identified Customer Advocates

If you are not quite there yet in the relationship with your key contacts, then create a plan of giving. Do whatever you can to nurture your key customers, offer to help them, share their content, refer relevant people to them and give three times as much before you ask for anything.

Engaging and nurturing your key customers in this way will also help you build trusted relationships, and it will, in the long run, improve customer loyalty and retention.

Focus on creating an excellent online reputation, positive reviews, and extraordinary customer success stories. If you do not do this now, then I am telling your competitors to do so.

It is vital to promote your business via key customers; ultimately, you want more of these most valued customers. Your best customers may not refer you on, however, their testimonials will attract other similar customers. If these customers do refer you on, you are far ahead of the competition. It is win-win.

Do You Have a Customer Advocacy Strategy? 

If not, let us talk about how you can get your team focus on it now.

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Customer Retention, Sales Productivity

Why Customer Lifetime Value and Retention Ratios Impacts Sales

Do you use metrics to track customer value and retention?

It is not unusual for me to come across well-established businesses with a turnover of over $10 million and to find that they have never conducted the analysis into the health of their customer relationships.

For this reason, I wanted to share the primary surveys to gain customer feedback on the health of the customer experience and relationship.  In my previous article I talked about measuring what customer feel about your product and service, let’s now look at the customer retention ratios to measure the value of the customer relationship. In this article I am going to talk about the key metrics of business health:

  1. Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
  2. Churn Rate
  3. Sales per Customer

  

  1. Customer Lifetime Value CLTV

Unless you sell completely customised one-off large ticket items, regardless of your margins there is little value in the initial transaction, because of the high cost of acquisition. The value is gained in the longer-term relationship with repeated purchases because the acquisition cost reduces significantly to the cost of maintaining the relationship. The lifetime value (LTV) ratio measures the long-term relationship or value of retention.

The lifetime value becomes higher the longer the customer is retained and continues to purchase from your company. Recognising this critical ratio has built the need for customer success teams who play vital roles in solving customer problems and offering recommendations that enable customers experience, enhances loyalty and ultimately increase long-term sales.

Customer lifetime value allows the business to predict the longevity of sales revenues. There are three components of the CLTV calculation:

  1. Purchase Frequency – the frequency within a given period that customers purchase.
  2. Average Order Value– the average amount of revenue from each sale.
  3. Average Customer Lifespan (if you do not have historical data, depending on industry lifespan can be between 1 and 7 years)

The formula for calculating CLTV is:

Purchase Frequency x Average Order Value X Average Customer Lifespan (x yrs.) (2.2 X £7,500 X 3 years = £49,500)

A detailed CLTV calculation:

Purchase Frequency x Average Order Value X Average Customer Lifespan – (Acquisition Cost + Retention Cost x-1 yrs.) (2.2 X £7,500 X 3 years – (£6,500+£3,000) = £53,000)

I use this ratio to understand which customer is my most valued customers that deliver the highest long-term return.

I know companies rightly celebrate growth in customer acquisition and forget to calculate this growth in customers net of the number of customers who left the service. There is nothing to celebrate of you gain 100 customers but lose 90 in the same period, with higher acquisition cost it is likely you are making a sizeable loss on the small net gain of customers. Exactly why the churn rate is an important ratio to track and especially crucial in a revenue recurring model business.

Janice B Gordon Customer Retention Photo by chrissie kremer on Unsplash

  1. The Churn Rate

Your churn rate is the percentage of your customers that end the relationship and leave the company over a given time.

There are three components of the Churn calculation:

  1. The number of churned customers (decide when a customer has left is it at non-renewal of subscription?)
  2. The total number of customers ( (is there a trial or cooling-off period that customers are not customers until after 30 days?)
  3. Determine a reasonable period (what is reasonable for your industry, quarterly or yearly)

The Churn Rate Formula is calculated as the number of customers who left / by the total number of customers:

(1,000 / 10,000 = 1/10 or 10% Churn rate)

There is a lot to consider, which might affect the churn rate, such as seasonality, sector differences, external factors like the current health crisis in China.

However, the churn rate reflects the value offered to your customer, use customer surveys to understand what aspect of the product features or service experience needs your attention to reduce the churn rate of customers.

It is a valuable tracking metric to identify adverse impacts on customer retention and a measure of long-term revenue health.

CLTV and the Churn rate are essential metrics to improve the quality of customer success; you will need to look at these metrics independently and consider together and interrelated.

Customer Retention Janice B Gordon background-326576 Pixabay

  1. Sales per Customer

This ratio gives the average customer order value. I would track this for the broader customer base and calculate the % of customers that return the highest revenues, to calculate the average order value of the top 20% of customers.

The top 20% of customers are your current high-value opportunities, what I call your most valuable customers and accounts. They deserve special attention to retain them and grow the relationship into a profitable partnership.

There are two components of the sale per customer calculation:

  1. Total Sales in x year
  2. Total No of customers in x year

Total Sales in x year / No of customers (£4,500,500 / 150 = £30.003 sale per customer) 

There are two things I encourage my clients to do to identify their current most valued customers, who are the customer that gives you the greatest share of the revenue?

£2,500,500 / 25 = 100,020 sale per key customer

If you want more of this type of your most valued customer, then you must work hard to understand their unique characteristics and grow the relationship and revenue by delivering the expected value to your customer. Once you understand these customer characteristics, then actively find and nurture to retain more of these valued customers through a strategic plan of engagement.

Janice B Gordon Customer Retention Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Although we are talking about numbers and ratios do not forget that behind the numbers are people and relationships.  The ratios allow you to see trends anticipate problems, make decisions and priorities your resources and efforts.  Like feedback surveys, ratios in themselves are useless unless you are willing to act on improving performance, satisfaction and experience.

The focus is on the individual experience that makes up a buying group and to selectively engage the customer, influencers and buyers. Nowadays, B2B sales are not secured on the decision of one person, but from a group of individual people within the group. You must understand the demographics of who the individuals are, position in company and role, gender, age, personal status and influence. And to understand the individual psychographics of why they buy, family motivated, career climber, risk-averse, view of quality over the economy and their perspective in the buying group, their unique interest and perspective.

If you miss the opportunity of engaging with your customer’s feedback and act on the trends in the ratios, you lose a much bigger opportunity, which is the impact on your bottom-line sales revenue. Use NPS CSAT and CES feedback surveys to build stronger relationships with your most valued customers and CLTV, Churn ration and Sales per Customer ratio to enhance the retention of your most valued customers.

I have selected these customer surveys and ratios because they are inter-related; improved customer experiences have a direct impact on reducing churn rates and strengthen customer lifetime value and retention, impacts the predictable of sales growth.

Do you use other metrics to track customer value and retention?

I look forward to your comments 🙂

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Customer Experience, Customer Retention

Why You Need Customer Experience Feedback Surveys and Which Ones

When I work with B2B client’s helping them identify their key customers and create a Customer Strategic Growth Plan to grow each target customer.  As part of this process to Engage, Educate and Elevate the customer relationship, through the customers’ experience into profitable partnerships.

There are six critical datapoints to measure customer success that I encourage my clients to use regularly:

  • Net Promoter Score
  • Customer SATisfaction
  • Customer Effort Score
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Churn Rate
  • Sales per Customer

I remember working with the sales to close ratios in the 1990s this was when we were still cold calling. A lot has changed since then, the ratios I am interested in are the ones that have the customer at the centre.

PwC surveyed 15,000 consumers and found that 1 in 3 customers will leave a company they love after just one bad experience. While 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions. However, according to Kapow, companies that prioritise customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competitors.

Relationship between customer success and customer experience is that customer experience describes the entire customer journey and their interaction with the supplier and the product. In contrast, customer success looks to understand customer experiences and improve them for profitable growth.

Feedback is an essential part of the process if you want to increase customer success, grow the relationship and increase sales revenue. I am amazed that many B2B companies that do not use customer survey as readily as B2C organisations.

Janice B Gordon customer Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels feeback

There are many reasons for this:  

  • B2B customers are seen as one unit rather than a group of individual experiences and opinions.
  • B2C feedback responses are in the 000s, and so it is easier to see data trends and bottlenecks in the customer journey.

B2B is generally a higher value relationship, and therefore the need for feedback is essential to help develop the relationship long into the future. B2B suppliers will often work within a larger company with a small group of cross-functional individuals with varying roles. These roles might include end-user, decision-maker, specifier, and influencer; therefore, the supplier has access and opportunity to survey for the breadth of customer experience rather than depth. Feedback surveys and ratios lay the foundation for continued growth.

 Customer survey and ratios have several benefits:

  1. The feedback closes the loop to improve performance continuously.
  2. Positive sales revenues follow happy customers and excellent customer experiences.
  3. Customer want results, surveys and ratios help you to measure results and see the trends.
  4. Presenting end-user real-time positive results to the customer is a competitive advantage.
  5. Use the results in a case study as social proof for other similar potential customers.
  6. Less than favourable results from the customer survey is an opportunity to demonstrate proactively, quickly and efficiently respond to issues.

There is some dispute between the predictive validity of some surveys; they all have pros and some cons and a specific value. I will discuss the feedback surveys and ratios that I encourage my clients to use to survey their customers and to assess the health of their customer relationship, retention and sales revenue.

Let’s first look at three feedback surveys:

  1. Net Promoter Score
  2. Customer Satisfaction
  3. Customer Effort Score

Janice B Gordon Customer feedback Image by a href=httpspixabay.comusersmohamed_hassan-5229782 pixabay critique-4353558_1280

  1. Net Promoter Score (NPS) 

NPS asks the question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company or our products to your friends and colleagues?”

Research states that there is a correlation in the likelihood of a recommendation and revenue growth by assessing the customer’s likelihood of recommending your product, service or company.

Respondents to the question, ‘how likely is it…’, scoring 9 to 10 are Promoters and more likely to buy, remain loyal and refer your products or company. Respondents scoring 7 & 8 are Passives or indifferent to your products and those that respond 0 to 6 are Detractors and would not recommend.

NPS can be as low as −100 (everybody detracts) or as high as +100 (everybody promotes). Anything positive, higher than zero, like +6 is good. An NPS of +50 is excellent.

Calculate the NPS as the difference between the percentage of Promoters and Detractors. The NPS score is an absolute number between -100 and +100. If you surveyed your customers and have 20% Promoters, 65% Passives and 15% Detractors, the NPS would be +5 positive, which is good!

You can use the feedback results to segment your passive fans and develop strategies to turn them into active promoters of your company or products.

The NPS single-question asks customers to take a broad view of the brand or product and focuses their intention, rather than their overall feeling of satisfaction.

  1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

CSAT is a metric that tracks how satisfied customers are with your organisation’s products or services.

The question: “How satisfied were you with your experience?” or “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the [goods/service] you received?” Respondents use the scale between 1 Very unsatisfied to 5 Very satisfied

CSAT scores expressed as a percentage scale: 100% for total customer satisfaction and 0% for overall customer dissatisfaction. Calculate only responses of 4 ‘satisfied’ and 5′ very satisfied’; using the two highest values on feedback surveys is the most accurate predictor of customer retention.

Calculated as:

Number of satisfied customers (4 and 5) /number of survey responses x 100 = % of satisfied customers.

CSAT targets an immediate reaction to a specific interaction, product or service, although limited in measuring a customer’s ongoing relationship with a company, you can also use multiple questions to focus on particular parts of the customer experience.

Janice B Gordon Customer Feedback stephen-dawson-qwtCeJ5cLYs-unsplash

  1. Customer Effort Score (CES) 

The easiest way to increase customer loyalty is by helping customers solve their problems quickly and easily. The Harvard Business Review article found little correlation between satisfaction and loyalty, whereas:

  • 94% of customers reporting low effort said they would repurchase, and
  • 88% said they would increase their spending.

If you think about it, the benchmark of satisfaction is a low bar to achieve, is that all you want for your customers experience?

The Harvard research discovered that ease of experience was far more critical, describing it as “processing fluency which is the ease with which information is processed.

Customers rank their experience on a scale ranging from “Very Difficult” to “Very Easy.” Ease of use determines how much effort was required to use the product or service and how likely they’ll continue paying for it.

Ease of a given experience is a better indicator of customer loyalty than measuring direct customer satisfaction.  CES measures the user experience of a product or service.

These feedback surveys questions are quick and straightforward, and you can ask the questions across multiple experiences during a customer’s journey and get a bigger picture view of how your customer feels at various points during their lifecycle.

Customer loyalty is a real business driver of increasingly competitive advantage, and negative responses in these surveys alert you to roadblocks in the customer experience.

When Should You Use Customer Feedback Surveys?

  • Following the post-purchase journey.
  • After the customer lifecycle moments.
  • Before renewal or following the contract anniversary.
  • After customer support or demo interaction.
  • Post customer onboarding.

Gathering customers view makes it easier to find potential and existing bottlenecks and improve the customer experience along the customer journey. However, feedback scores in themselves are useless unless you are willing to act and improve performance. It is best to supplement survey scores with further qualitative research to understand the drivers behind the results to ensure you take the right action to improve key business areas. The resulting ratios and ultimately gain happy customers willing to recommend your service to other similar customers.

Next, I will continue with the feedback ratios Customer Lifetime Value, Churn Rate and Sales per Customer.

Have you use these surveys or will you be using them in the future?  Please let me know?

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anice B Gordon Customer Acquisition 3
Customer Retention

3 Killer Strategies to Acquire the Most Profitable Customers and Accounts

You are running the gauntlet when targeting prospective and acquiring new customers relationship and accounts.

It is not to say that companies should not attract and secure new customers; after all, there will always be a natural loss of a customer. Companies misconstrue prospective and new customers as low hanging fruit. However:

  • According to Marketing Metrics, the success rate of selling to new customers is only 5-20%, while the success rate of selling to existing customers jumps to between 60-70%.
  • According to Gallup and Harvard University study, the average enterprise sale takes seven months to close.
  • According to PwC32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience.

Prospective and new customers relationships are complex and fickle; there are little trust and experience to lean on.

Companies must follow these three strategies to ensure the increase rate of successfully securing new customers and accounts. 

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  1. Secure more of your ideal and most valuable customers and accounts.

If you want new customers, you do not want just any customer; you want customers that historically become your most valuable customers.

  • Who are your customers that you can consistently deliver a superior experience above and beyond any competitor?
  • What specific customers’ needs do you fulfil that are the company’s strengths?
  • Who are the customers that have returned the most profit to your business?
  • Who are the people that can influence the greatest return on your investment?

Gather the information from your CRM software to identify the characteristic of who makes your list of ideal and most valued customers and influencers. These are then characteristic potential customers you want to attract and secure as your key accounts going forward.

Understanding what characteristic make up your key customer and accounts means that you are open to match your potential customer need that might be outside your usual segment or industry.

Understanding the make-up of your most valued customers and accounts helps you plan and allocate your time and resources efficiently and increase your chances of success. This exercise helps you to assess where you have the highest customer character match and the most definite strengths. If the success rate in securing a new customer is less than 20%, you want to ensure you acquire the relationships with the highest potential gain.

  1. Build online relationships with consistent engaging and relevant content.

Inbound marketing is all about drawing people to your website, by creating a customer-centric marketing strategy and of benefit to your ideal and prospective customer.

For instance, if you are a venues management company, write a guide on how to organise a perfect conference or event; or a checklist to host the perfect wedding on almost any budget.

Think of it as leaving a breadcrumb trail. Create content to answer the questions that your ideal and most valued customers repeatedly ask and research. What is the one most useful checklist or comparison chart that your prospective customer would what? From this, you can create a downloadable whitepaper that expands on the checklist or caparison, which will give more detailed information and references to assist your potential customer to move forward in their purchasing research journey? The whitepaper or report lead your potential ideal customer to a relevant case study or demo, which invites them to request a call or meeting?

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You can then promote this checklist or comparison by writing a series of blog posts on the subject and share the blog on all relevant social media or email to a relevant segmented contact list.

When someone has downloaded the whitepaper and gives you their details, you have a qualified prospective customer that has expressed an interest in your advice to solving a problem. You must nurture them further with via email or if requested, follow up with a call or meeting to see how you can be of service.

Social media platforms are essential channels to build broader awareness and to drive your ideal audience to your website and content. Remember video content gets the highest engagement on all channels and is a great way to tell a story.

Partnerships, affiliations and industry networks and media channels are a great way to connect with other companies to establish collaborative campaigns to gain access to relevant and stabled curated audiences.

Referrals and testimonials are great ways to encourage your existing customers and relationships to promote their experience of working with your businesses. Social proof is a powerful tool to demonstrate credibility. 

  1. Focus on the experience that you deliver to win over new customers.

Customer experience is critical for taking a potential customer from acquisition to final purchase. It is the oil in the purchasing engine; without it, the system does not run smoothly.

Otherwise, there will be friction, barriers and difficulties that cause the relationship to stall.

The Temkin Group found that companies expect to earn an additional 70% within three years of investing in customer experience.

To win the experience race, you must align your customer experience goals to reflect what matters to customers.

Too often, companies focus on gain the technological edge, but this may have little impact on the customer experience. Focus on the areas that will deliver the most significant benefit for your customers, like speed, ease, knowledgeable and helpful service; these are the most valuable elements of positive customer experience.Janice B Gordon Customer Acquisition PWC What-people-value-most-at-the-end-of-their-customer-experience PWC

When customers feel appreciated and gets what they want, then the supplier gains measurable business benefits.

According to PwC, over 36% of customers said they would likely spend more.

If you are going to prospect for new customers, then let the experience you deliver do the talking.

Continue to test and analyse the impact your experience has on your ideal and potential customers and develop the value proposition for your well researched prospective customer.

The better the experience, the more opportunities you must get closer to your prospective customers. If you continue to test the relevance of the content to move the prospect along the journey, and if you analyse how closely your experience matches the prospective customer expectations, you will increase your success rate above the 20%.

Better still if you are better able to align with the most valuable customer segments, you will anticipate additional needs and initiate innovative solutions to customer problems, whether or not you get paid for the additions, you are invested in building the longer-term relationship. These innovative customer-focused solutions enable you to create relevant products of premium value and attract new customers with stories of successful customer relationships.

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