touch point

Be Generous to a Fault - 8/20/19


People who think they’re generous to a fault usually think that’s their only fault – American Journalist Sydney Harris. This quote reminds me of someone who views themselves as a giver – someone who is so humble that he likes to humbly tell everyone of the gifts he’s given, good Read more

Don’t Assume because... - 8/13/19


You've probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that… Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen Read more

Patience Leads to Positivity - 8/6/19


Thank you for your patience. That’s a statement I enjoy saying…when I am the customer. When I’m trying to learn something and I’m about to go into a process, I want to have a feel for what the whole process involves. Over the years, I’ve gotten tired of feeling like Read more

Back to Reality...for Customer Expectations - 7/30/19


Have you ever walked into a patient registration area of a hospital and seen a sign that said “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes, please see the receptionist?” Have you ever called a customer service number and been told by a recording that “the average hold time is Read more

For Excellence to Happen, Get Engaged - 7/23/19


The customer was throwing an absolute fit in the lobby. Sitting among several other customers waiting for her number to be called, she was raising her voice and letting out the occasional expletive about the lengthy wait time. An employee sitting behind the counter thought to herself: I’m going Read more

Libby Listened to Serve - 7/16/19


Libby was new to her role with the organization. She had never been a customer service representative in a call center before, but she was hired because of her attitude. She wanted to learn, enjoyed working with people, and could carry on a conversation with a wall. After going through Read more

Chris Got Noticed for All the Right Reasons - 7/9/19


Chris was working through a temporary agency, and he got a job at a warehouse. He was packaging items to be shipped out, and his shift didn't start until 7:30 a.m. Chris always got there a little bit early because of the bus schedule, and he hated just sitting Read more

What Does “No News” Mean? Here’s a Quick Story - 7/2/19


Steven was trying to make the purchase of his new used car official, so he could get license tags for his State. In order for the State to allow him to put the vehicle in his name, he had to submit paperwork to prove that the prior owner (from Read more

Are you the Output or the Input? - 6/25/19


You’re the output and the input. Sorry to put it into such technical/industrial engineering terminology. But in a service system, we all have some role as a part of the process. First, we receive the output. Somebody has a customer that they direct to us, so that handoff is from Read more

Hear Them, and Tell Them What You Heard - 6/18/19


CSS has conducted close to 1000 research projects over the years, many of which were web-based surveys. And oftentimes, in addition to or instead of completing the online survey, respondents e-mail us directly with questions or comments – and we respond personally to every message on behalf of our Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step – 3/19/19

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to be some semblance of ongoing communication. There has to be some kind of dialogue that is not all about you. It’s about listening to the other person, about seeking them out and sharing something of value, or listening to something being shared by them.

For those of us that are trying to deepen relationships with our clients and grow our business with them, oftentimes we can get into a habit of communications being all about selling. Communications become all about pushing information. It gets to the point where, whenever they hear from us, they’re hearing about us and our products and services.

But think about what makes for a good relationship. There is informal as well as the more formal interaction. There are not long periods of dead silence. There are enough ongoing communication touches that the relationship never goes stale.

The Second Step in gaining a Customer for Life is to have a strategy that you implement that ensures that you don’t go too long between communications with the other person. This strategy has a mix of formal and informal touches. You’re not constantly pushing information to them, and sometimes you’re just engaging them in informal discussion.

Sometimes you’re asking them questions to learn more about them. Sometimes you’re requesting information or being inquisitive. And sometimes you’re providing something just because it’s the right thing to do even if there is no direct tie into a new sale.

In other words, care about them as an individual enough so that more than half of your communications with them are either helping them out, generally keeping in touch, or asking them about themselves.

To create a customer for life, take the second step. Make it about them, and never let the relationship go stale.

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What to do DURING a Bad Experience – 5/15/18

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After providing the final research report to a client recently, even though the report provided tremendous detail and a 10-page Executive Summary, the client asked that I cull down the key takeaways to a few bullet points. As I glanced back through the report, there was one exceptionally interesting finding.

As background, this research was for an event that takes place annually. One of our approaches to analysis is to look at the characteristics of last year’s respondents and their individual responses to the survey, then identify which of those attributes strongly correlated to renewal and attendance at this year’s event.

One of the strongest factors impacting renewal to this year’s event was Event-related Communications. Last year’s event was negatively impacted by the weather, and it was interesting that many of the respondents felt better about the overall experience if they felt better about Event-related Communications, and they felt worse about the overall experience if they were not satisfied with the Event-related Communications.

Essentially, when an organization has challenges, a particular event as issues, a product or service has poor quality or lacks timeliness, the importance of effective communication ramps up dramatically.

When things are going bad, it’s better to overcommunicate than under communicate. It’s better to be more proactive and provide information above and beyond about what the issues are, what the resolutions may be, and what timeframes are expected.

It’s not just a good thing to keep customers in the loop, but when significant issues arise, those communications are often the difference between a renewal and a cancellation, the difference between keeping a customer and sending them to a competitor, the difference between a repurchase and lost business.

When you look at your ongoing customer Touch Point Strategies, make sure that there are specific strategies in place that enhance customer communications when the experience goes bad.

Know what to do during a bad experience.

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Why Your Customers Would Leave – 5/30/17

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We’ve written several TOWs over the years on Client Relationship Development, Touch Point Planning, and Retention & Growth strategies, and all – in some way, shape, or form – address Retention Drivers. We’ve offered many examples of Retention Drivers for particular industries like Sports, but let’s discuss how you determine the specific Retention Drivers for your business.

Why do customers stay with your company…and why would they leave?

Here are several questions to consider in order to uncover your customers’ unique retention drivers:

  • Why did they buy from your business in the first place, and is that part of the reason why they would buy again?
  • What aspects of their experience in working with your business have a significant impact on their decision to buy again?
  • What is it about the brand or reputation of your company that resonates most with them – and makes them want to be affiliated with you as a customer?
  • How much do they value having strong customer service and account relationships with your organization and your people?
  • How do they define “value,” and how important is value in their decision to return?
  • What is the most important factor in determining their willingness to return, and how do they perceive that your organization performs in that factor versus competitors?

Note that most of these questions focus on what’s MOST IMPORTANT to them and what actually drives decision-making. Keep in mind that many people will say that Price or Convenience or Customer Service or Speed of Delivery is important to them, but what actually causes them to choose Company A v. B?

Also note that these questions force us not to make assumptions. For example, don’t assume that the reason they bought first is why they continue to buy. Don’t assume that how you define your company’s competitive advantage matches how your customer perceives your business v. competitors.

Ask yourselves these questions (better yet, ask your customers), and learn their unique Retention Drivers.

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