Invest in the Customer Experience To Build Relationships


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I believe the customer experience is the vehicle for building customer equity. And, with customer equity comes sustainable sales and much more—a relationship that customers value, are committed to and will advocate.

Putting this principle into action means more than bolting on a customer experience module to existing sales, marketing, and customer service practices. It means shifting the focus of the relationship. To do this the company needs to make the customer experience their priority. It can’t simply use a delightful sales process to get the deal and use customer service to smooth things over when things go wrong.

A recent One to One Weekly interview with the discount brokerage Scottrade’s shows just how committed they are to putting this concept into action.

Scottrade conducts most of its business online but their CMO, Chris Maloney, says “that doesn’t stop the company’s personal connection strategy. When a user registers via the website, Scottrade takes that information to customize direct mail, and triggers a call from one of its 300 local branches.” Scottrade doesn’t have a customer service department; all 1700 employees are customer service representatives. And they start building the relationship before they go for the sale.

According to Maloney, “The value of the individual transaction might not be worth the price of the customer’s call, but the long-term value of the relationship is well worth it.”

This “relationship first” focus pays dividends because customers tend to become more active traders, are more loyal to the company and they become passionate advocates who recruit other active and loyal customers.

John Todor
John I. Todor, Ph.D. is the Managing Partner of the MindShift Innovation, a firm that helps executives confront the volatility and complexity of the marketplace. We engage executives in a process that tackles two critical challenges: envisioning new possibilities for creating and delivering value to customers and, fostering employee engagement in the innovation and alignment of business practices to deliver on the new possibilities. Follow me on Twitter @johntodor


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