Managing customer relationships effectively

Really? More dating advice?

There is a quip/quote that I frequently hear regarding relationships:

In each relationship, one person enters the union hoping their partner will mature/change, but won’t. The other person enters the union, hoping that the other partner will not change but does.

Certainly not true of all people and all relationships, but I’m sure we’ve all seen circumstances that we can relate to like this example. I bring it up because it applies much in the same way that a brand-customer relationship works. 

Just think about airline loyalty. They’ll entice you with reward opportunities, and you hope those will last forever, but they do not. They change the rules, change the redemption structure, and ultimately change the entire program’s value. At the same time, the airline hopes that you will come on board (no pun intended) and change through increased spending and loyalty, but ultimately you’ll only fly as much as you need to fly.

The same is true in the business to the business environment. A company will make promises up front, tell you how they’ll change for the better for your business. Too often, the customer looks for that change that never arrives. Sometimes that is on the customer also, promising a certain commitment (financial or resources) to make the relationship all work but never making the necessary changes. 

Are your promises kept?

A very simple question that doesn’t have a very easy answer. All customer relationships are tricky – is the brand bringing enough value to the customer based on the price and features, and does the brand feel they are getting enough from the customer to make it worth conducting business with them in a category. Also, keep in mind that not all customers are the same; that is a key reason for using tools such as revenue weighted NPS

While the value proposition between a brand and a customer will always be influenced by external factors – a new provider in the market, income loss, or other events – the traditional approach has been to conduct extensive research of consumers and customers to better understand the areas being impacted. However, when it comes to customers, I contend it is important to do more with less. I’m not suggesting that you don’t ask customers for their assessments of the relationship with your brand, just be certain to ask the right questions and take the correct steps after asking the questions. In fact, one of the five pillars of CX is to streamline research – make the communication easier. 

More relationship advice – CX style

Making it easier for the customer to communicate with brands is the key reason we are introducing NPS+. Our earlier versions of the Advanced Net Promoter Score aimed to improve that communication by taking the burden off of the customer to “do all the talking”. Instead, we made it easy for the customer to identify points of pain or delight without the typical battery of questions. We’re taking it a step further in understanding the voice-of-the-customer in a way that can help predict churn and use the same question to let the customer help your brand innovate. It is a change from the normal process of “get more data points while we have them.”

A common number floating around customer experience circles is that 9 out of 10 companies intend to compete on the basis of customer experience, which means more surveys. In fact, 100s of millions of customer experience surveys are conducted annually. It is time to look beyond customer experience and find a way to have a better customer experience with your customer experience surveys. NPS+ will do just that. 

Are you innovating within CX? We’re going to talk about NPS+ in great detail in the coming weeks. The environment today requires all businesses to be smarter, faster, and more affordable – and cleaner. This should be true within your CX approach. Join QuestionPro as we speak with HorizonCX CEO Karl Sharicz and talk about how companies can innovate their CX program and bring innovation from their CX program to their customers. You can register for our September 10th discussion here.