The recent issue of Customer Relationship Management magazine features research from Gallup showing that fewer than 1 in 7 B2B customer relationships are optimal.
“It’s becoming more difficult to stay ahead of your competitors with just a product-oriented differentiation.” — Ed O’Boyle, global practice leader of Gallup Marketplace
According to O’Boyle, “You have to add more to the relationship there. B2B in particular, has a maniacal focus on the features, products, and delivery mechanism but sometimes fails to recognize the strength of the relationship that they need to build.”
Fully engaged customers, according to Gallup’s definition are those who “are strongly emotionally attached and attitudinally loyal. They’ll go out of their way to locate a favored product or service, and they won’t accept substitutes.” These customers were found to average a 23 percent premium over typical customers in overall wallet share, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.
There are a number of ways to create engaged customers beyond offering an outstanding product or service. One way, of course, is through various forms of brand marketing. However, while a well thought-out and creative marketing campaign can create the strong emotional attachment needed to form a high level of customer engagement, customers will quickly switch from engaged to actively disengaged if they have a bad interaction with customer service or support.
Hence the growing focus many companies are placing on achieving world-class customer service. By spending a fraction of their marketing dollars to improve the customer service skills of their employees, providing their service and support teams with the appropriate technology to support them, and making sure company processes and procedures are customer-friendly, these companies are achieving outstanding results. Investing in service delivery will not only measurably improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, but also reduce operational costs as well.
With the economy beginning to improve, it’s time to consider re-allocating resources to ensure that your customer service and support teams stand ready to build on your brand promise, and create customers who loudly sing your praises.