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February 18, 2016
By Bill Tennant
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Data Intelligence,Tips & Tricks
Having spent the past 10+ years in customer-facing roles and the past four years dedicated to improving customer satisfaction to drive growth in a highly competitive market, I’ve learned that providing a personalized experience is more important than ever. Organizations today often make the mistake of simply sending the occasional email to their customers and believe this will be enough to keep them happy. However, customers today expect much more from their vendors and the solutions they purchase. With a competitive landscape that makes it easier than ever to abandon underperforming products, it is imperative that companies not only communicate with their customers but also actively listen and ensure that they consistently deliver on their promises.
Years ago, when stepping into my current role, the first true test of “promise delivery” landed on my plate while standing at a conference. Due to communication missteps, coupled with a social miscue or two and a technical miss, I was in the unusual position where my promises held very little weight with this a customer. It was one of those (hopefully) rare customer scenarios requiring “all hands” if customer-obsessed actions are the heart of an organization’s culture. My team stepped into this situation with both feet and truly listened to the customer. We understood the need and delivered a successful outcome…even though it required twice daily status calls 7-days a week for multiple weeks.
That particular customer was not interested in hearing what we wanted to say. They were interested in open communication—with their trusted partner (vendor) listening to their concerns, resolving them, and providing guidance around areas where they may have been taking the wrong path—and naturally, they relied upon us to be the experts. We were able to accomplish this and resolve some internal communication gaps due to the experience, and it resulted in a renewed mutual trust with the customer. However, this would not have happened had we not taken the initiative to communicate as a means of delivering on our promise. Ultimately, investing in the success of this customer with our time and resources delivered an extremely valuable opportunity for our customer, and revenue to us through their advocacy of our solution, and expansion of their overall deployment.
There are quite a few articles out there detailing amazing new ways to expand customer satisfaction and drive a successful customer experience. Many of these articles are offering new technologies, which are meaningful and valuable to a total customer experience, but ultimately do not convey the foundation of a pervasive, cultural Customer Experience strategy, with the underlying conviction that we WILL deliver on our promises.
I could talk for hours, simply building upon many areas of our business and others that help drive a successful Customer Experience; from “outside-in” thinking to executive support, to employee satisfaction. Yes, all of these areas are important, all of these areas can be critical to success and I will speak to them in more depth in future posts; but the primary, fundamental pillar to creating a successful Customer Experience strategy is a corporate culture dedicated to always delivering on your promises.
Having a product that meets these needs and the ability to design and implement a personalized experience through processes, people, and our product allows ZAP to shape the user’s path and experience from the evaluation phase through to the customer’s advocacy of our brand. This modeling of our customer journey has not always been perfect, has taken different detours and will continue to be adapted in order to optimize our customer’s journey toward achieving Data Intelligence in an industry rife with failure and low adoption rates. With a 95%+ retention rate, ZAP’s customers realize our value through our product and our people but stay because we pride ourselves on delivering what we’ve promised.
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