Over time, what your customers need from you and how they want to do business with you will change. CRM provides a way for you to keep in touch with these changes to even predict their direction and scope.
Kristin Anderson worked with the star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis some years ago, not long after an automated telephone system for newspaper delivery ‘starts and stops’ had been installed. At that time, 20% of homes in the Star Tribune delivery area had only pulse dialing and could not use the new touch-tone system. Another, larger percentage of customers just didn’t want to talk to machine. As subscribers began experiencing automated systems in other areas of their lives, the process began to feel more familiar. When they realized that they could now stop their morning paper before their trip out of town, even when they didn’t think about it until 11:30 pm many became strong advocates for it. Now, many of those same customers are online.
Change with your Customers:
Measure the pace of change for your customers. Create a timeline for your company. Mark changes in what you offer to customers and how customers do business with you. Whether your timeline reaches back to the 1800s or just to the past 18 months, you should see some significant shifts. If not, you may be caught in complacency missing to changes that our customers want to make. Don’t let their last changes be to new services provider.
Understanding the changing needs and desires of your customers is critical to continued success. If you don’t understand those changes, you lose customers, little by little.
Don’t be too far ahead:
You may find yourself a head of the curve of customer change. Being ready with the next great thing before your customers are ready to buy it can put you out of business or make you a huge success.
Founded in Memphis, TN in 1916 Piggly Wiggly was America’s first true self service grocery store. Shoppers accustomed to presenting their orders to clerks, didn’t know what to make of the self-services carts. But Saunders (founder) showed them how and the rest is history.
1. Where are your Customers leading you?
2. Where are you leading the pack?
3. Where could you be leading them?
Make Parting Such Sweet Sorrow:
What if you spot a relationship where customers is already on the way out, about to become a former customer? Don’t give up. If the customer chooses to leave, it’s also possible that the customers will also choose to return. The manner in which you handle things right now will be the last and most lasting memory for this customer.
The human temptation is to react to the news in one of two ways. On one end of the spectrum is giving up – Oh well, that customer is gone. So you turn your attention elsewhere. Yet in the best case, the customers may not choose to leave after all.
The other end of the spectrum is to get angry – Fine! We didn’t want your business anyway. In fact, psychologists tell us that it’s often easier for us to face a breakup when we are angry with the other person than when we feel rejected by him or her. And the same issue comes into play with customer service relationships.
To create to best possible parting and even forestall it, follow these guidelines:
Reserve your value judgment: It may just be that you are no longer a good fit. No harm, no foul. Value judgment tends to force us into defending our positions. And defending often distracts from affirming what this customer really needed, what this customer really experienced during their relationship with you, and what this customer expects to experience with the new provider.