Thursday, August 19, 2010

Win customers' loyality by just solving their problems.

"Stop trying to delight your customers". To really win their loyalty, forget the bells and whistles and just solve their problems. This is the title and subtitle of a Harvard Businsess Review article, issue july/august 2010 by Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman and Nicholas Toman. They are associated with the Customer Contact Council, which is a division of the Corporate Executive Board

The Customer Contact Council has conducted a study of more than 75,000 people who had interacted with customer service companies, over the phone with customer service representatives (CSR) or through self-service channels such as the website of the company, mail, chat or voice prompts. They also held hundreds of interviews with customer service leaders (managers, directors) form big companies all over the world and asked them three questions:
  1. How important is customer service to loyalty?
  2. Which customer service activities increase loyalty, and which don't?
  3. Can companies increase loyalty without raising their customer service operating costs?
Two amazing conclusions emerged. These conclusions should affect every company's customer service strategy.
  1. Delighting customers does not build loyalty, but reducing their effort (what customers must do to get problems solved) does.
  2. Acting on this insight can help a company to improve customer service, reduce the costs to service and increase customers' loyalty and retention.
This article is a must read for managers and directors acting in a customer service environment. It can be bought on the website of the Harvard Business Review. For the next weeks, every Thursday we will post a blog about this subject.

Table of content:
  1. Win customers' loyalty by just solving their problems.
  2. Cut the crap and solve customers' problems.
  3. Make it easy, make it no effort.
  4. Customer Effort Score.
  5. Remove obstacles 1
  6. Remove obstacles 2
  7. Remove obstacles 3
  8. Remove obstacles 4 and 5 

This post is part of a series of blogs about the relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty. That is a research project from the Customer Contact Council and has been published in the Harvard Business Review, edition july/august 2010.

Next blog is this series: Cut the crap and solve customers problems

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