Would you like fries with that? Reduce repetition to improve customer experience and performance


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Imagine the last sale your company made. You worked hard for it. You earned consideration and made your prospect’s short list of options. You demonstrated you were the best choice as they tried you out – imagining what life would look like on the other side of the purchase with you helping them solve the need that triggered them to act. Now you have both arrived at the commitment step of any customer experience: the purchase step.

Too often, businesses get in the customer’s way at this step. Do you? There are two ways this can happen, and repetition is at the heart of both.

The first repetition error happens when leaders fail to use what was learned about customers during earlier experience steps. When I’m speaking with groups of leaders, I often ask how many believe their organizations use everything they learned in the LEARN and TRY steps of the customer experience during the BUY step. Sadly, I’ve yet to see more than half of any group raise their hands.

Do you ask customers to share information or do things that they already shared or did as they were learning about you or trying you out? I grant that some of these requests are for security or regulatory compliance – like the fact that each time I make an appointment with my doctor I am asked my birthdate and address. But the sad fact is (you know this as you’re reading) that as leaders we can indeed control much of this repetition.

The second repetition error happens when we set aside or simply forget the customer’s goal at this step: to get on to solving their need with all the control and speed possible. We should be protecting them and affirming them so they leave this step feeling they were brilliant to have chosen us and happily ready to move forward. Instead, some firms fall directly into cross- and up-sell offers. In essence they ask again, “Will you buy this?”

During the purchase process, your customers are trying to solve the need that caused them to act in the first place. Too often, leaders repeat the purchase question “please buy this” (in some form) in an endeavor to solve the next need.

We’ve all been there. Remember the last time you had to activate a new credit card? Were you bombarded with all sorts of additional programs from the “helpful” rep on the phone? How about having to click “no” on two or three screens when checking out from an online store? This might explain why shopping cart abandonment can range from 51 to 70 percent.

The placement of cross-selling and up-selling opportunities should be aligned with the expectations your customers bring to the buying process. Translation: Your customers should welcome new buying opportunities, as a means to enhance the solution they have chosen to solve their current need, or as a way to get to the solution faster.

Avoiding – or getting out of – the repetition trap

Here’s a simple exercise to help you discover how well you are protecting customers with convenience and control as they buy.

First, start by stating where the BUY process begins and ends from your customers’ point of view. Then, map out the major steps that your customer takes between those start and stop moments. These steps might include such things as:

  • Tells us they are ready to buy
  • Receives terms of agreement and payment
  • Signs contract
  • Enters credit card information
  • Looks for confirmation that we’re in agreement

Once you’ve mapped out your buying process, make a note at each step where you ask for additional information or present cross-selling and up-selling requests. Finally, assess whether your up-selling activities positively contribute to your customers’ perception of convenience and control or negatively detract from that perception.

I’ve created a handy PDF of this exercise to make it easier for you to map out your buying process.

How did you do?

What have you done to purge repetition – and offer your customers convenience and control as they buy? Let me know via a comment on this post or #dominobook on Twitter and get a copy of Domino for free.

Matched to every step in the customer experience, you’ll find more tools and exercises in Domino: How To Tip Everything In Your Business Toward Better Financial Performance.

Note: photo by LabyrinthX via FlickR Creative Commons.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Linda Ireland
Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner of Aveus LLC, a global strategy and operational change firm that helps leaders find money in the business performance chain while improving customer experiences. As author of Domino: How to Use Customer Experience to Tip Everything in Your Business toward Better Financial Performance, Linda built on work done at Aveus and aims to deliver real-life, actionable, how-to help for leaders of any organization.


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