Chapter 1: The Future of Business is H2H
When learning new ways on how to conduct business, humans have a natural tendency to turn away in rejection. Excuses often come quickly into thought but stop the excuses now. This book will walk through what you need to implement to Never Lose a Customer Again based on years of research with hundreds of thousands of companies and employees. "It is time to stop thinking B2B or B2C- the future of business is H2H." There is a massive misconception that B2B and B2C business need to be conducted differently. While there are differences in the logistics of B2B operations and B2C operations, the differences are less significant than most people imagine. We don’t need to focus on the differences on how to manage B2B or B2C operations. We need to be focusing on a single human-to-human (H2H) operation.
"When we think about the typical B2C environment, we know we’re selling to a single buyer and our focus is on that individual. Without an H2H approach, we fail to think about the other people who will interact with the purchased item… In contrast, when we think about an H2H interaction in a B2B setting, we have to recognize that every business is an organization comprised of people, and therefore your product or service is interacting with humans- and many of them."
We want to take into consideration all of those who would be interacting or using the product or service you are providing.
"To never lose a customer again, you must meet your customers, whoever they are, where they are in their emotional journey."
The ultimate purpose of business is about solving problems to help human beings. No matter what type of products or services your business is providing or the type of industry you are in, you are a human interacting and selling to humans. All business boils down to be human to human interaction.
Chapter 2: If a Dentist Can Do It, So Can You
Joey Coleman uses an example of his experience at the Dentist to try to encompass what good, effective, quality customer care looks like. You do have to earn lifelong loyalty. Not only is it important to create an effortless experience for the customer, but equally important to anticipate and serve their needs before it is asked of you. "If a dentist can create a remarkable experience and earn lifelong loyalty, every business in every industry in the world can do the same."
Chapter 3: The Cost Of Losing a Customer
A large amount of money, time, and energy is spent towards gaining new customers through consistent dining, marketing, and sales. But, what effort is being put into keeping the customers you have already have? There is a "customer retention epidemic." Customers are widely agreeing to conduct business with companies just to leave shortly after.
"Regardless of where your business operates, what industry you are in, or the size of your operation, you are likely losing approximately 20 to 70 percent of your newly acquired customers in the first 100 days of the relationship."
Companies aren’t spending their money, time, or energy in the right places once they acquire a customer to ensure they have a good experience. They are losing people after the sale.
So, why do you lose customers? It ultimately is the feeling of neglect customers have after the sale. Thinking back to why you quit doing business with someone, you may have many different excuses on why you believe you left. However, you really walked away because you believed the company didn’t seem to care if you did so.
As companies have exploded in growth, less and less humanity is visible between interactions. In the workplace, people often say there isn’t space for personal life in the professional environment. This reflects to how you handle and operate business. This is what has caused the customer retention epidemic leaving customers to no longer feel special and instead feel unnoticed and uncared for. Operations are now restructured entirely to how it is most effective for a business, not taking into consideration the customer’s experience.
"Brain science teaches us the even if a prospect knows, loves, and believes in a company’s offerings, after they become a customer, fear, doubt, and uncertainty will plague their thoughts."
This combined with the lack of energy businesses are putting into their acquired customers’ leads to an even worse state of mind for the customer, and they are turning away from businesses faster than you think. How can you stop it?
Chapter 4: What is Customer Experience?
Joey Coleman offers 3 key reasons why business struggle with customer retentions
- Businesses don’t catch as well as they chase: Once targeted clients move to customers, the sales team is no longer to be seen anywhere. Businesses are lacking emphasis and effort on what to implement after the sale is executed and the true relationship between, now business partners, begins. "It is the blind spot in today’s business."
- Companies’ award acquisition over retention: "The very structure of business operations is set up reward the acquisition of new customers." There is no emphasis on current customers. Additionally, most leaders rise through company rankings through marketing and sales, creating a propensity to reward those who are outward facing and focused because that is all they've ever known. "The average business spends 6.9 percent of total company revenue on marketing and less than 1/5 of that is spent on customer retention." It is common to find businesses constantly trying to increase a prospect’s awareness and knowledge then move to consideration of the sale and the purchase, but very rarely devote any attention to ensuring satisfaction, gaining loyalty, and driving advocacy.
- Customer service and employee experience are marginalized: "Most business hierarchies place account management and customer service employees at the bottom." There is a lack of reward seen in account management compared to the trips, financial perks, and awards given to employees in sales and marketing. The work customer service employees are actually also often incentivized by how fast they can process through customers rather than showing dedication to customers.
There are financial consequences faced with a bad customer experience in more ways than direct revenue. "Across a wide range of industries, a 5% improvement in customer retention will yield a 25% to 100% increase in profits." Each retained customer largely increases the profit because the carrying coat of keeping a new customer is not nearly as high as the cost of bringing a new customer and when sales and marketing costs go to zero, all money spent on acquisition staying in the business.
- How big would your company be if you never lost a customer?
- How much more money would you have accumulated?
- How much faster would your company grow?
Benefits of keeping your customers include more efficiency, more effectiveness, more profitable, and higher morale leading to an overall more successful environment. "The lifetime value of a loyal customer can be greater than ten times the value of their first purchase."
Chapter 5: What Is Customer Experience?
Over time, businesses have discovered ways to stand out from their competition. It used to be accomplished by having limited defects then it was by customization to soon be accessibility in the 2000s. The only thing left for a business to differentiate itself from the competition now is customer experience.
Difference between customer service and customer experience:
- Customer Service: The assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services- how a business responds when things go wrong
- Customer Experience: How customers perceive their interactions with your company- encompasses the emotions a customer feels and anticipates what might go wrong
A book, Raving Fans, talked about how creating superior customer experience would create "raving fans" that would spread your business through word of mouth. "80% of companies say they deliver "superior" customer service, but the customers say differently with only 8% felt the companies delivered "superior" customer service."
Chapter 6: You Only Have 100 Days To Get It Right
"A sale is not finished until the customer receives results."
They need to be able to reach their goal with your product before they become into a raving fan and results aren’t immediate. It might be some time before the customer receives results but it is your job to continue the relationship. Joey Coleman puts emphasis on how the first 100 days (Day 1 being when the sale is made) are essential - easy to remember, short enough to maintain, and long enough to deliver value. It takes more than a sale of a product to develop a track record, establish trust, and prove its delivery. It takes the pursuit of 100 days.
Chapter 7: The 8 Phases Of Customer Experience
An overview of the 8 phases:
- Assess - When the customer is deciding to do business with you or not
- Admit - When the customer admits they have a need and believe you can solve it. Also known as "the sale"
- Affirm- When the customer begins to doubt the decision they made to work with you
- Activate - When the relationship between a customer and organization materializes in a meaningful way and the business begins to deliver on its promises
- Acclimate - When the customer learns about the process the organization uses
- Accomplish - When the customer achieves the results they desired
- Adopt - When the customer takes ownership of the relationship
- Advocate - When the customer becomes a raving fan
The 6 ways to communicate in each phase:
- In-person: Allows you to show your level of commitment through body language
- Email: Inexpensive but increasingly common medium but can be purposeful
- Mail: Increasingly better medium with meaningful handwritten notes revokes an emotion an email in your inbox can’t create
- Phone: Accessible with "91% of people keep their phone less than 3 feet away from them at all times"
- Video: Had become largely popular and valuable with CEO Mark Zuckerberg believing "we are entering this new golden age of video"
- Present: Creates very positive customer emotion through thoughtful and personalized presents
Chapter 8: Phase 1: Assess
The assess phase is not all about the sale. It is about connecting with the customer and meeting them where they are. Ask yourself if you can solve the problems others are facing. Do you fill a need? "Customers often don’t know what they want, but they feel they want something." This is where marketing and sales are at play so the customer is able to see what is to come if they choose to be a customer. The length in this phase varies, depending on the size and significance of the purchase.
Traditionally, the marketing department’s job position was to convince the customer that there is a problem and that the company has the solution. It should present their products or services to align with achieving customer goals. "At best salespeople say things such as "We’ll take care of you," but generic statements like this lack explain how they are going to accomplish it." You have to share and show how you are going to accomplish satisfaction.
Honor the agreements you make in the "Assess" phase to maximize customer satisfaction and experience. To create a superior customer experience, there a few things to check up on:
- Evaluate your website
- Research testimonials
- Considering online reviews
- Reviewing your marketing materials
There is a need to structure handoffs between marketing/sales and account managers more fluid. Within this phase, there are 6 ways to communicate you are offering a memorable experience.
- In person: product demonstrations, scenarios, and pitch meetings to get you face-to-face interactions all to build a relationship.
- Email: offer education aspects of your brand to help them learn more
- Mail: free educational newsletter and postcards to be sent to prospects to help them evaluate your operations
- Phone: offer call-in sessions or Q&A sessions.
- Video: bring your brand to life with educational explanations
- Present: go beyond the free sample, offer a personalized gift to have a great impact on the prospect’s experience
Chapter 9: Phase 2: Admit
"The Admit Phase begins when the customer admits they have a problem or need and believes your company or organization can solve it as a result they decide to buy your product or service."
This phase begins when the sale is official. Customers are excited, not only about the purchase, but about creating the new relationship with you. Usually, this phase is marked by internal celebration but the customer is excited to. They are excited about starting business with you and the results yet to come. It is important for the organization to celebrate along side them.
Most businesses fail to join the customer in these feelings of joy.
Don’t allow the customer to fear their new "friend" is only concerned about making the sale. Share equal excitement and capitalize on the customer’s emotional peek. "Announcing the new partnership between the company and the customers she was the good news with the rest of the world. Celebrating and congratulating the customer with excitement elevates interaction to an emotional high."
Creating a physical memento is very crucial in marking the milestone that occurred. It gives a legitimate reason to continue communication and reminds the customer of the good choice they made. "Use playfulness, humor, and unexpected surprises to make the experience remarkable. Your customers are human and so are you. Remind them with your actions and behaviors and in the process give them a taste of your company culture."
Building a relationship with your existing customer is very important early on. You want them to have a sense of belonging, community, and commitment. Everyone desires to be apart of a group much larger than themselves and your company could provide that for them, create a memorable experience. You want to be careful not to over celebrate. Match the new customer’s level of enthusiasm.
Chapter 10: Phase 3: Affirm
"After experiencing the emotional high of the admit phase, customers move into the affirmative phase- their emotional state can take a dramatic turn. This phase is commonly known as "buyer’s remorse." The customer feels fear, doubt, and uncertainty about the decision they just made."
It is our job to put those negative feelings to rest. You want to treat your customer as if they are a part of your family.
Tip: If you wouldn’t do it in your personal life, why do you think it’s acceptable to do this in your professional life?
Designing your business to have a smooth handoff between your sales personnel and your account managers creates a positive customer experience. To ease the customer’s doubt with the decision they just made and counter the negative feelings they are experiencing, it is essential you provide them with the affirmation they need. Use a series of positive, high energy communication to counteract the chemically induced feelings of doubt. Be aware of questions they may think including:
Did I make the right choice?
Is this really going to help?
Is this going to be the answer to my prayers?
What if it’s not everything I was promised?
"When a business doesn’t take the time to build into it system and process ways of countering negative emotions and remorse, the new customer often gross distant and eventually leaves the business altogether."
First, add a little bit of a celebration. Understand and anticipate the customer’s emotional journey. Make items like confirmation emails remarkable. Explain your policies and reassure them that this was a good decision.
"Turn current customers into evangelists and then use their enthusiasm to counter a new customer’s feelings of buyer’s remorse. Connecting them with current customers is one of the most effective ways to make new customers feel welcome and confident about their decision."
Chapter 11: Phase 4: Activate
"The activate phase begins with the first major post-sale interaction with the product or service. The Business must energize the relationship and propel it forward with an official "kick off" of the relationship. The business also begins to deliver on the promises made during the Assess phase."
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to impress customers the moment they first have contact with your product or service. The first impression is powerful. During this phase, the customer will experience "the moment of truth"- did your product deliver? It will be accompanied by enthusiasm, excitement, and a high sense of energy. This is when you "talked the talk" and it becomes "walking the walk." It is essential you deliver your service or product in an engaging and memorable way.
"Many organizations do you pay attention to this phase, however, few fully capitalize on the opportunity to start things off with an incredible first impression."
Businesses need to remove any barriers your customers may be experiencing when using the products they paid for. Engage with your customers to tailor their experience with your business to them. Make the interaction remarkable. "Officially starting the relationship with an unexpected, high energy surprise mailing is a great way to create a feeling of "shock and awe" and set the stage for incredible interactions in the future."
Kick your business off with a great start, and then there’ll be much more to come. Helping customers have a successful interaction with your product will ease any negative emotions and instead set the foundation for a long, thriving relationship. "Make a good first impression. Emphasize the role your customers play in achieving their own success. "
Set the tone for future interactions and create a positive emotional reaction to your brand experiences.
Chapter 12: Phase 5: Acclimate
"In the acclimate phase, the customer learns how to the organization does business. The customer needs to get familiar with the various interactions that occur during the relationship. Businesses typically deliver their products hundreds, thousands, or millions of times, so they assume everyone knows their process and what will happen next. New customers don’t have this understanding and need more hand-holding than you think."
Something that can ease customer’s into the acclimate phase is introducing a new customer into your organization’s culture. Allow them to get adjusted and comfortable around a new environment of people, process, and systems. This phase is about making your customers feel comfortable.
Your new client has "signed the dotted line," but they may have just barely absorbed the information you have provided. When you don’t understand why you newly acquired customer has a vast amount of basic questions after already proceeding to purchase your products and services, it can be frustrating, but you have to take the time to get them acclimated. "The distance where you think your customer is and where they actually stand is huge." It is your responsibility to make sure you are tracking along through the process together.
"Regular communication eliminates uncertainty."
- Make your process as visual as possible to outline steps to walk the customer through it.
- Take the time to break it down into small pieces and not overwhelm the customer with all the information at one time.
- Get them submerged in the culture.
- Give them insight on who your company is, how you interact with one another, and ultimately make them feel included.
- Make it clear who they are directed to if they have any question.
- Stay on top of their emotional state and communicate consistently. Through this, develop a personal relationship.
This phase is the first major interaction where the customer accomplishes their original goal. Make it a good one.
Chapter 13: Phase 6: Accomplish
In this phase, the customer learns how the organization operates. "New customers don’t have this understanding and need more hand-holding than you think." Acclimate your customers and guiding them to make sure they understand where you both are headed. Slow down and help them by introducing them to the culture, people, and processes that form your organization.
Often, companies fail to recognize customers are bombarded with information. In the beginning, a lot of focus is on making sure customers understand the processes, expectations, and results to come. Once the client is committed and vested, they may get lost in the process. When it comes to accomplishing the customers’ goal, most interactions fall into one of three categories.
1. Mission accomplished
2. The lukewarm bath
3. Mission failed
Keep in mind, a sale is not finished until the customer receives a result. Until then, mark the important steps along the way. Milestones to remind the customer you are coming along and your service is paying off.
"Defy customers’ preconceived expectations."
You can knowledge meant of a customer achieving their desired results doesn’t require significant commitment of time, money, or effort but acknowledging them is important. Remind your customers of why they began to do business with you in the first place and that what they set out when doing so has been completed. Reinforce results. Have personalized communication or even automated emails to point out the milestone.
"Take the time in the beginning of the relationship to collaborate with the customer and establish solid metrics for success. It will make it easy to know whether the finish line is reached."
Seek new opportunities through those wins. Give careful consideration to what the customer wants and needs to ask for more.
Chapter 14: Phase 7: Adopt
"In the adopt phase, the customer adopts the business and proudly show support for the brand. Having accomplished the original goal, the customer now decides to double down on the association and establish a long-term relationship."
The "Adopt" phase is met when the customer takes ownership of the relationship. Make it easy for those loyal friends to express their loyalty. Focus on the brand loyalty of your best customers. Get them to purchase even more products and services. Establish an exclusive membership to your top tier of customers to make them feel special.
"Any business that stands by its products and customers possesses the building blocks for creating a community around its offerings. By owner very loyal customers and giving them a way to self-identify, the organization established his tight bond within the customer base."
Pro-tip: Focus on your 1%. Effort on just one percent of your best customers builds strong commitment and devotion.
"Put extra focus to your most loyal fans and adopters. Increase their personal commitment to you while growing your word-of-mouth support and promotion."
Create incentives for your customers to continue doing business with you. Subtle but consistent marketing effort further reinforces the benefit of loyalty to the brand. Your most loyal customers deserve special treatment. Make this experience unique for them. Make them feel valued and take the time to get to know them on a deep personal level. Strive to make a relationship that will shift from a one-sided, transactional interaction to a two-sided friendship.
Chapter 15: Phase 8: Advocate
In this phase, "the customer becomes a raving fan and referral engine all in one." Free built-in marketing rep? That is the end goal. Making a referral to another is extremely easy for the current customer and they usually have benefits do doing so. It is common ways to acknowledge a referral from an existing customer through financial incentives.
"The best referrals come from happy current customers. Making a referral program that is it understand, even easier to participate in, and worthwhile for them."
- Don’t ask too soon for a referral
- When you shift to the next customer immediately, the company sends a message that they don’t care about their current customer
- The ultimate goal is to have raving fans. When you have people who do the work for you on getting new clients, you will decrease spending on marketing and sales. People show up at your door without you needing to draw them in
- Asking for referrals requires thoughtful timing and genuine asking. Get an honest assessment of how you are performing. Provide the customer with tools to write an effective testimonial and ensure that the results will describe the experience of working with you
"Reward your customers’ positive behavior in a way that brings new customers into the fold."
- Provide your best customers something meaningful to them
- "Creating great referral campaigns that get your customers to actively bring you new customers is to incentivize them with something they want and would have a hard time obtaining on their own."
- Go above and beyond to actively seek out special experiences your loyal customers wouldn’t easily be able to arrange
- Get the "right referral" instead of as many referrals as possible
- Develop programs to excite most loyal customers to spread the word. This will help create lifelong advocates
Strengthen bonds with existing customers and work with them to identify prospective clients. The customer has established enough trust in your company that they will be more likely to share their network with you for potential lead to referrals.
Chapter 16: Get Started: How to Stop Losing Customers Today
Joey Coleman created a four-step process to further develop how you work through the eight phases of customer experience. The steps will allow you to understand your customers and position your business effectively to enhance your customers’ experience on their journey across the eight phases.
1. Investigate - Learn everything you can about the people you serve
- The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to interact with them.
- Collect bits of information that offer a personal and emotional connection to your customers. Things of value can include their name and their experiences, not just where they went to college but what it was like for them.
- When it comes to investigating your customers, it’s important to get clarity on where to store the data you collected and who’s in charge of maintaining it.
- Identify data fields and start investigating/ tracking to create records.
- Learn more about your customers without asking your customers for the answer. This can include doing research on LinkedIn to get insight into your customer’s current job or taking a glance at their personal life on Facebook to see their hobbies and biographical facts.
- Focus on listening to them so you can gather information about them. Pay attention to side comments and subtle references to learn valuable information
2. Observe - If you’re willing to watch and listen, you can learn almost anything you want to know about your customers.
- Enhance your customer experience process by observing your customer in their natural habitat.
- Create unique opportunities to build a connection and rapport.
- Show your commitment to the customer and don’t miss the opportunity to take notice of their behavior.
- Connect tell your offerings affect and influence their actions. Try to interact with your product or service regularly to see your business from the customer’s eyes. It will allow you to appreciate and improve their experience.
- Study the little things about them that you can further examine. Those have the largest impact.
3. Personalize - Make every interaction with your customers meaningful.
- Enhance customer experiences by personalizing your interactions. Using the last two steps, you are now able to customize your communication.
- The easiest way to create a remarkable customer experience is to use personal emotional connections when communicating with individual customers.
- When multiple customers have similar interests, you can design communication that allows you to create a personal and emotional connection with multiple customers at the same time.
- Presents are a great idea but make sure that they are personal and thoughtful. They don’t need to be expensive.
4. Surprise – going above and beyond to make your customer smile.
- The final step in the process is surprise. Typically, a surprise usually ends up being an annual holiday gift which is often a non-personalized item.
- Surprising someone creates a whole new emotion leading to even greater impact on the relationship.
- Consider the quality of the gift, and giving a gift as a surprise just adds to the experience. You know all about your customers if you followed the previous steps and I personalize your interactions and communication.
- Take it to the next level and enhance the experience by surprising them.
- Avoid giving last minute gifts or gift set or a waste of money. Don’t overlook the people who have the most influence on customers’ decisions and behaviors.
- Encourage your customers and loved ones. Getting a customer an item with your logo or name on it is not considered a gift, it is a marketing tool. Although there is nothing wrong with promotional products they just aren’t gifts.
- Make sure you give gifts that are best-in-class; don’t send cheap gifts as it sends a clear message that you see the relationship as being worth very little. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, but you should spend more time selecting the perfect gift for your customer.
- Make the effort to surprise someone and accompany it with a handwritten note.
How do I get my employees to follow this process? First, get your employees involved from the beginning. Let employees cocreate the experience by involving them from the start in the design and structure of customer initiatives. Give employees the freedom to develop their own approach to creating their customer’s experiences. It will allow you to harness their creativity while also encouraging them to implement the ideas. Pay attention to little improvements and then honor them with big celebrations.
Serve as your "brand experience team." Give authority to oversee and operate the customer experience and enhance activities instilling a sense of pride in ownership. Establish a commitment to putting the customer first. It will further strengthen the organizational culture. Consider assigning no more than half of the members of the brand experience team to seek volunteers for the remaining positions and don’t hesitate to look for participants and every day department role and position within the company. You will often find a commitment to customer experience where you least expect it.
How do I get my employer to make this a priority? Management tends to be focused on day-to-day activities of the organization and may miss the big-picture problems. Individuals who take the lead in customer experience activities often see promotion and advancement that out pace their colleagues – not only because of their increase interaction to senior management but because of the direct relation between the employee’s activities and new increase in revenue, retention, and profit. Lending them a copy of your book will show your commitment to growth and learning, your interest in customer experience, and your willingness to "do the homework" for them.
Theses steps can dramatically enhance customer experience across all 8 phases of the customer life cycle. Using this 4 step process allows you to design and deliver remarkable customer experience through the organization.
Chapter 17: If Comcast Can Do It, So Can You
People remember having bad experiences with companies. Think of the worst experience you have ever had with a business you interacted with them as a customer. After doing this exercise at numerous workshops, the author noticed one company frequently being nominated for poor customer experience: Comcast.
Comcast was able to turn their company around by turning around multiple aspects of their failing customer experience. They learned to:
- Adopt more of an active and proactive approach to dealing with customers and focus on the overall experience they are having
- Make navigating the customer life cycle smoother
- Keep the customer "front and center" in every internal debate
- Take advantage of 2 way communication to better position and build and develop relationships with customers instead of one way operations.
- Distinguish between what we should teach the customer and what they learn from using our product
- The product is the experience, so be committed to enhancing the product
Remember why you first started in the business you are in. What you change will have a ripple effect in your organization. Lastly, business is ultimately about the people, so make it the best for the people. Meet the needs of the real people you serve.