Customers today are looking for more than just a quick product or solution fix. They want to fall in love and are keen to invest their time and money into a long term committed relationship with the perfect partner.
So what separates potential marriage material from just a one-night stand?
Well, just like authentic people, we’re drawn to authentic companies. These are companies that know who they are, have a sense of purpose connected to something bigger than the dollars they make and deliver value to their customer through a great user experience.
More often than not, this customer experience becomes a direct externally facing representation of the internal employee culture of a company.
If teams are disjointed or siloed, the experience will also be disjointed and siloed. The customer doesn’t know which version of the company they’re going to get and when they’re going to get it. They can’t get comfortable or familiar with the experience and therefore begin to lack trust in the company – sometimes before even experiencing the product or service.
Let’s face it, as companies get bigger – teams and functions are naturally going to become more siloed and while we may not be able to reorganise our teams constantly to avoid this – we can make sure that our people are aligned on the WHO, WHY and HOW so the WHAT – the employee culture and customer experience, can be a truly authentic one. This way we have a better chance of getting our customers to fall in love with us and enjoying a long lasting relationship with them.
The WHO – Company values are lived throughout the organisation and demonstrated across the entire customer experience
Who are you? I mean, really?
Your company’s core values are a key reason a customer decides to do business with you. Your customer wants to feel that connection, that you have something in common with them – that your beliefs are consistent with their own and are demonstrated through your actions.
For these values to show up in customer interactions they must extend beyond a list of words or sentences sprawled across company walls. They have to be lived and breathed by every employee across the entire organisation and form a common language that aligns teams regardless of their function.
Value alignment starts with the senior leaders across the organisation. Are they walking the talk? Is value driven behaviour being reinforced? How aligned are performance reviews to organisational values and beliefs?
And just as important is that when each new employee joins the company – they’ve done so based on value-fit and recruiting managers have asked the right questions to assess it.
The WHY – Individual and team goals are aligned and oriented to the customer
What we’re trying to achieve, and the goals we’re trying to hit often influence our behaviour and our actions. In an organisation, these behaviours heavily influence the company culture, which, in turn dictate the customer experience.
More often than not, employees are so micro-focused on their individual and team goals that they forget about the bigger picture or don’t understand how the KPIs they’re working towards connecting to the key goals of the organisation.
Without a clear understanding of a longer term strategy, the goals of individual teams can sometimes conflict, showing up as fake promises to the customer when one team, for example, is focused on conversion metrics, leaving another who might be not as amply resourced, to deal with retention.
Perfect partners not only make the effort to align and connect multifunctional goals and priorities across the organisation, they also align these goals to the successful outcomes of their customers.
We know what gets measured matters. Imagine if every employee and manager were incentivised on helping the customer achieve their goals and how much more connected siloed teams could be through a purpose bigger than just revenue metrics.
The HOW – As well as their problem being solved, the customer’s core human needs are also met throughout the experience
Long term relationships are generally not purely transactional. Sure a customer might be initially be attracted to a value proposition that promises to solve the immediate problem they have, but for a relationship to truly last there needs to be more in it for them over the long term.
Life guru Tony Robbins introduced the concept 6 core human needs in one of his relationship improvement programs. He talks about our desire as human-beings to have each of these 6 needs fulfilled: Certainty, Variety, Significance, Connection, Growth and Contribution, and describes and the feeling of lacking when one or more of them are absent in a relationship.
- Certainty – Is there enough consistency that the customer can trust the outcomes of the interactions?
- Variety – Even with certainty fulfilled, is the customer still surprised and delighted by the experience?
- Significance – Do they feel important and front of mind?
- Connection – As well as feeling like the most important person in the world, how does the experience help them feel part of something bigger than just themselves?
- Growth – How does the experience support their growth or adapt to their expectations over time?
- Contribution – How can they contribute to or improve the experience for themselves or others?
Whether or not you subscribe to Tony’s philosophies, I encourage you to reflect back on a service, product or end to end experience you helped deliver that was unsuccessful and ask yourself which of the above core needs might not have been fully met.
So if you’re looking to win your customers love and be their perfect partner, start by asking yourself:
- Who you are and if your company values are showing up to your customer?
- Why you are doing it and how can you better connect your individual or team goals to a customer outcome? and
- How you are fulfilling your customer’s core human needs across all interactions?
Here’s to many long lasting and loving relationships!