Energize your company with a clear customer promise

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Can you clearly state what customer segments your company services and what unique experience you provide them? If your answer is yes, you belong to a very small and exclusive segment in business. For you there is no need to continue reading. Companies that deliver an outstanding performance share some common characteristics. They all know very clearly what customer segments they serve and they are very concise on what experience they promise their customers. If you want to join this group of outstanding performers, start with a clear customer promise.

You probably know that providing a unique customer experience requires more than a clear customer target segment and an attractive customer promise. But let’s just start at the beginning and do a small test. Check the websites of your competitors and look for their commitment. Can you easily find who they are serving and what experience they are providing? Who seems to have a very clear and attractive value proposition? What competitor is self confident enough to state a detailed customer experience promise? Who seems to be the most ‘worthwhile’?

Jewson

With over 500 branches across the country, Jewson is the UK’s leading supplier of timber and building products to the trade and general public. Jewson is part of the Saint-Gobain Building Distribution Group, Europe’s number one building materials distributor, having been acquired by Saint-Gobain in April 2000.

Have a look at Jewson’s customer service policy.


Jewson calls this their Customer Service Policy. I believe this is a great example of a clear customer commitment. You could argue a bit on the way their promises are stated: do they all mention a clear value to their customers? But by stating their commitment, they already set their selves apart.

A clear promise = A huge magnet

If you want to attract customers and employees, your company needs an attractive promise. This promise will communicate your audience if you are even ‘worthwhile’ to spending their precious time on. And make no mistake, customers are getting more demanding. On top of that, googling for your competition and even turning to the competition has never been easier. How do you make your company worthwhile?

A clear promise = A clear control

The mantra amongst quality experts is: “Quality = Expectation minus Experience”.

Your (prospective) customers have a certain set of expectations when dealing with your organization. And this set is a combination of lots of elements: previous dealings with your competitors, the looks of your website, the way their call to your company was handled and many other experiences.

A clearly stated customer promise is a great control for your company to influence the expectations of your customers. It is a very important handle in improving your customer experience.

How do you improve your ‘magnetism?’

Begin attractive as a company is the basis for finding customers, employees and even vendors. If you succeed in developing ‘corporate magnetism’ finding profitable customers and competent employees will be much easier.

But how do we get there? Just by taking a few easy steps:

1. Finding your target group(s);
2. Make a clear promise;
3. Consistently deliver upon your promise.

1. Finding your target group(s)

Marketing people always mention target segments. Nothing wrong with that, but try to remember that you target segment is not a segment because they share some common characteristics like for instance demographics. No, your target segment should be a segment because the customers in that group share a common need. A need that your company can fulfill.

I will not enter into detail on this subject since you can already find a lot of information on this topic. But I would like to leave you with a thought: I see a lot of companies who are trying to be everything to everybody. I believe it is more worthwhile to be of maximum value to a small group than to be of no value to a larger group.

2. Make a clear promise

Of course there is a connection between the size and diversity of your target segments and your customer promise. The smaller and more cohesive your target segment, the more specific your promise can be. For many companies it still is too costly to work with target segments of 1 (customer). No worries, though, Jewson’s customer commitment proves good enough for quite a large customer segment.

The companies I meet always start sharing their corporate identity. In many cases they have developed their identity with a consulting company that is always keen on translating that identity in marketing campaigns. We are not discussing identity here. Your (corporate) identity is more about who you are and what values you operate on. It is by far not enough to grow your magnetism.

A clear customer promise is a clear and attractively written statement about the unique experience you provide to your customers. It is your answer to the question your customers almost never ask: ‘What makes your company worthwhile for me?’

Write down your promise; share it with some friends and customers. Let them decide if you are worthwhile.

Your promise carries huge potential. You can use it for internal communications. You can have all your teams looking into the promise and translating it into process improvement and even behavioral changes. You could even ask every individual employee to translate the corporate customer promise into a personal commitment. Even before you decide to communicate your promise to the outside world.

3. Consistently deliver upon your promise.

Congratulations! You now have clearly defined your customer target groups and you have put a clear customer promise on paper. You are now halfway. Although I must warn you: getting through the second half is quite a bit more demanding than finishing the first half.

Your promise has no value until it is consistently experienced and valued by your customers. And the magic word here is consistently.

To promise = to find, to deliver = to bind

I am not sure if the words are correct English, but a clear promise will help you attract the right audience to your company. Delivering up to that promise will bring you lasting relationships, with both customers and employees. Delivery will bring you ‘bondage’.

Consistent delivery is quite more difficult than a clear customer commitment. I will share my thoughts on that issue in the weeks to come.

Robbert Bouman
Escendo B.V.
Robbert Bouman is the founder, executive officer and lead consultant for Escendo. This company helps fastgrowing and larger companies in The Netherlands to unleash their potential. We help our customers to design and deliver upon their customer and employee promise. We help improve their customer and employee experience.

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