Are Customer Programs Giving or Getting?

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Who benefits most from customer programs in place today?

  • New customers?
  • Existing customers?
  • The company itself?
  • All of the above equally?

I’d venture to say it’s rare to find customer programs that benefit all of the above equally — or that truly benefit existing customers. In these economic times particularly, it certainly pays to keep customers coming back! Existing customers are the natural source for good word-of-mouth and referrals, and for expanding share-of-wallet with your brand.

Getting & Giving
Many customer programs are aimed at getting ideas for new product development, getting new customers, getting help for the sales force to convince prospects, getting excitement about the brand, and getting revenue. With all this ‘getting’ by companies, how about scrutinizing these customer programs for how much ‘giving’ they provide to customers? Are the benefits to customers:

  • Long-term, from the customer’s perspective?
  • Reflective of the value they bring to the company, from the customer’s perspective?
  • Applicable only if the customer shells out money to buy the next model — or can customers reap improved experiences with the model they’ve already invested in?

Even with economic pressures, buyers switch brands mostly because of disappointment or annoyance, and much less often due to a more attractive offer. What’s needed to improve customers’ lot overall (and likewise improve your company’s lot), is more attention to preventing hassles.

CEM: An Economical Strategy
While a focus on attracting and converting new customers is obviously tied to revenue, it doesn’t guarantee higher profit or sustained market share. One of the great things Customer Experience Management (CEM) does in preventing customer hassles is it also results in lower waste inside a company, and hence lower costs and higher profitability – and greater ability to pass along savings to both new and existing customers.

CEM is customer-centric, systematic, holistic, and preventive of negatives:

  • Encourages outside-in thinking and processes
  • Demands a much broader view of what the customer experience is
  • Views the customer’s experience strictly from the customer’s viewpoint
  • Values existing customers as much as new customers
  • Keeps customers returning by managing expectations — not by removing choice
  • Increases brand equity by strengthening your brand promise
  • Differentiates your brand in ways that are hard to copy
  • Helps you avoid competing on price
  • Enables great strides to be made on a shoestring budget.

Through true customer-centricity, your company will balance ‘giving’ and ‘getting’ and improve both bottom-line and top-line results by organically keeping customers happily giving you great word-of-mouth, referrals, and share-of-wallet.

Lynn Hunsaker

Lynn Hunsaker is 1 of 5 CustomerThink Hall of Fame authors. She built CX maturity via customer experience, strategic planning, quality, and marketing roles at Applied Materials and Sonoco. She was a CXPA board member and SVAMA president, taught 25 college courses, and authored 6 CXM studies and many CXM handbooks and courses. Her specialties are B2B, silos, customer-centric business and marketing, engaging C-Suite and non-customer-facing groups in CX, leading indicators, ROI, maturity. CX leaders in 50+ countries benefit from her self-paced e-consulting: Masterminds, Value Exchange, and more.

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