What does customer commitment mean to you and your company? If you asked 5 employees, would you get a single answer or five different responses? Is there one leader in charge of customer commitments? Here is our list of four critical commitments consumers require in order to become a fan of your organization/brand(s).
Commitment One: Have One.
What we mean is that your employees need to know what your/their commitment is to customers. Every employee in the organization should know what it is and why it’s important. Don’t assume that everyone (or anyone for that matter) knows how they should form their behaviors related to customers. This applies equally to the one-door boutique and the multi-national brand.
This can take the form of a customer promise, as long as you’re living it. If you encourage dialogue with customers, how are they greeted when they reach out to you? What is in your CSR phone script? What about online chat? Are they consistent? Do your employees have the autonomy to go off script to ensure a customer commitment is achieved?
Commitment Two: Realization that a customer commitment is a one-way street.
This is a binding agreement with your customers that says you are focused on them without any expectation of reciprocal behavior. It doesn’t sound fair, does it? You might think that if you do something for them, that they should reward you with business and loyalty. Our competitive consumer environment is getting increasingly unforgiving. If your company doesn’t want to play by the “consumer first” rules, then there are plenty of other mobile, online or brick & mortar storefronts that will gladly give a lot. And keep giving.
Customers are the friend who invites you to lunch and for an hour talks non-stop about their lives, expect you to care about and help solve their problems, then jumps up, exclaims they have to return to work, and you have to cover the tab. There may be a lot of hurry up and wait. Expect it. Prepare for it. Welcome it. It’s their time that is valuable – not yours.
Commitment Three: Get to know me but don’t be creepy about it
It may sound strangely anachronistic, but you want to be able to walk into that metaphoric “store” and have every sales person know your name and know exactly when to engage and when to stay away. However, while customers want your undivided attention and the feeling of familiarity with you and your brand(s), they do not want you to necessarily hound them about personal information, such as a mother’s maiden name or first pet.
So how do we personalize without offending? Listening. Not just the actual act of listening when on the phone, but observing customer dialogue via chat, via social, via other digital communities where your audience(s) are spending time and engaging. From this level of information gathering, you will be better positioned to know what will be important to your customers while not going overboard.
Commitment Four: Be empathetic
Discover Card launched a series of ads in 2016 featuring customers on the phone with CSR agents that turned out to be the same customer. The dialogue and resulting actions of these clever ads revealed that Discover not only cared about you as a customer, they were just like you and could put themselves in your shoes to assess and address your needs.
Can your teams and leaders do that with your customers? Even if they aren’t “customer facing” consider actively promoting empathy as a core business behavior to strengthen customer relationships. This is where your engagement with customers can show genuine care and realization of how valuable customers are to you.
Incorporating these four commitments into employee behaviors will help with building a culture of employee engagement which goes a long way toward building long-term, loyal fans among your customers.
BroadStreet Partners is ready to help you improve upon your customer commitments and support your initiatives regarding customer and employee engagement, click here to contact us.