In 2012, what comes first – the sale or the customer’s satisfaction?


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The Difference Between A Sales Culture and A Customer Culture

In a recent article by Lior Arussy and Strativity Group, Lior writes about examples we witnessed this year and they stem from a simple truth. “These companies put themselves first and their customers second. These organizations, and many others, have a sales culture and sales DNA – not a customer culture or customer DNA.”, writes Lior. Verizon Wireless, Netflix, and Bank of America are examples I had heard about and that represent this Sales first culture Lior writes about. They were thinking that they could get away with charging for a service they had previously provided for free – generate more profits but not generate any additional value for the customer. Value for the customer must come first – a core belief with Success with CRM…

In his article he continues:

“In a sales culture, the customer is merely an ATM machine that spits out money if you push the right buttons. The customer is an object who, by the act of his or her becoming a customer, will be willing to tolerate any bizarre decision by the company without question and without a response. After all, ATM machines do not talk back or have opinions. They just stand there and spit money. In this operating model, the customer is merely a means to an end. The customer is not the end goal. The customer is simply the cheapest way the company can find to make its numbers and please its stockholders.

In a customer culture, the customer is an equal partner. The customer is consulted with and treated with respect. The customer’s view matters because there is an understanding that the customer is the one paying the bills. One does not surprise customers with unexpected fees or try to squeeze the customer, assuming they have no other choice. In a customer culture, the customer is a subject with a voice. He or she is a precious asset that needs to be preserved with care.

These distinctions are not just nice statements on the wall incorporated into the company’s mission statement. They are the guidelines by which decisions are made. They are also the organization’s principles of operation.”

Relate to Your Experiences and Your Customers Experiences

How many times have you as a customer really been only a number for a business? They were not really concerned with business relationship development. The ‘relationship’ was not built in this sales first transaction culture. Now take this a step further and ask your customers and clients about the experience they have had with your business. How were they greeted when they called in or when they visit your web site? How do they feel once they receive your product or service? Do they feel like referring your business to a collegue or friend? If they have an issue is it resolved in a timely and positve fashion?

In a customer culture, the efforts, resources and budgets are spread properly across the entire customer journey with the company. The company views and understands the customer through all interactions: awareness, sales, usage, service, returns, invoicing, collections and so on. The customer is not just a transaction. Nor is the customer an event that takes place during the actual purchase. The customer is viewed as a partner in a long-term relationship – a relationship that is invested in, nurtured and grown. Employees’ measurements and executives’ compensation reflect this conviction and ensure that resources are focused on ensuring customer delight and the company’s fulfillment of its promises. The perspective used is one of a wider lens that recognizes that the customer relationship that should last for years”- Lior wites.

Customer Culture Drives Financial Results

You may ask yourself, “Do sales and customer experience conflict?” Lior and I believe: Absolutely not. Customer centric companies reap the rewards and generate great sales with little need for discounts. They are able to impact the five (5) important P’s of customer relationships:

  1. Preferences towards their brand
  2. Premium price
  3. Portion of budget
  4. Permanence of the relationship
  5. Promotion to other customers

In a consumer study conducted by the Strativity Group, they discovered the following facts about customers who had an exceptional experience with a vendor:

  • Portion of Budget: 73% would expand their purchases with a vendor by 10+% if the customer experience was superior
  • Permanence: 70% of loyal customers state that they plan to remain with a vendor for ten years or more whereas only 24% of disloyal customers expect to remain with a vendor for ten years or more. In contrast, 35% of disloyal customers expect to leave a vendor within a year versus fewer than 1% of loyal customers.
  • Promotion: 58% said they would recommend companies that deliver superior customer experiences to others
  • Premium Price: 55% of loyal customers are willing to pay a premium price of 5% or more for the experience they receive versus only 14% of disloyal customers. In contrast, 52% of disloyal customers expect a discount of 5% or more to continue doing business with a vendor while only 12% of loyal customers demand discounts of 5% or more.

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About Strativity Group, Inc.

Strativity Group, Inc. is a global research and consulting firm advising organizations on creating lasting, profitable relationships with their customers and employees through the transformation of their strategies and execution to revolve around the customer experience.

I have enjoyed and shared with you previously various insights, strategies and actions Lior Arussy has brought forth to businesses.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


  1. Those are some pretty powerful stats and hopefully Executives will respond by focusing on developing Client Services teams, Support teams, capturing client feedback and creating an exceptional client experience. Those numbers represent a LOT of clients that can just slip away if they are not treated properly. An exceptional client experience is even more critical in a subscription-based service but every business should look at their client's satisfaction levels and adjust their business accordingly.

    If you think your client's issues will just go away, you are right. They disappear, right along with the client.



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