Tag Archives: customer

Lots of Energy Going Into Improving the Customer Experience

Over the last two years, we have witnessed executive appointments and many strategy projects related to improving the customer and agent experience. It seems like we’ve all been bombarded by banner ads, e-mail promotions, webinars and conference speeches on this topic (and I speak from personal experience, having participated in a number of these). All of this energy and activity will translate into more major initiatives and spending in 2014. The question is, “What will these initiatives look like, and who will be in the driver’s seat?”

There will still be many individual projects that will contribute to enhancing the customer experience. Insurers will roll out new mobile apps, customize customer documents, upgrade portals and provide new customer self-service options. All of these types of capabilities are important elements of the customer experience. 

But for insurers that are thinking ahead, there will be two overarching initiatives that set the stage for a differentiating customer experience.

One of these initiatives will be driven by business leaders – planning for customer interactions through the whole customer journey. In 2014, more insurers will map out their communications with customers and agents across the enterprise. This type of initiative is increasingly being driven by the CMO with the intent of improving brand consistency and customer satisfaction.

The second initiative is often driven by the CIO, and it is aimed at establishing a unified digital platform that integrates all types of digital communications with customers and agents – mobile, portals, the public web site, social media and collaboration technologies.

I expect to observe many different variations of these initiatives in 2014. Insurers that are able to combine these efforts will make the most progress in improving the customer experience and having an important impact on company results. The ideal scenario will be to establish a unified digital platform to support all digital customer interactions in a common, efficient manner and then optimize each interaction with an understanding of the overall customer journey. Individual projects for mobile, collaboration, portals or other technologies will be able to leverage the platform and produce consistent, personalized communications.

3 Sales Myths That Are Killing You (And You Probably Don’t Even Know It)

You don’t have to sell everyone and you don’t have to serve everyone. The idea that companies should chase every piece of business out there and that if they don’t they’re leaving money on the table is antiquated. The negative impact of chasing the wrong prospects and serving the wrong customers is huge. To change your approach you may have to remove the myths that you may believe. Here are three:Myth #1: The Law Of Large Numbers
“More means more” is the core of this myth. More prospects means more sales … The only time that I see this myth become truth is not when you are a salesperson, but when your role is truly just order taking. Order taking means that the purchasing energy is driven by customer demand, not salespeople demonstrating value and securing new customers and contracts. All prospects are not created equal and the most successful salespeople who truly sell are successful in part because they prune their list, reducing the number of prospects regularly.Myth #2: The Funnel (Hotel California) “You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave…” These lyrics from The Eagles song “Hotel California” are just as true for CRM and sales tracking systems. There is a belief that once a prospect has been added to the list of qualified targets that companies should continue to communicate, sell, participate in RFPs and generally pursue those companies. I was in a session recently during which a company’s leadership bragged about chasing a deal for a decade. What a waste. Think of it: Ten years of newsletters, trade shows, prospecting campaigns, RFP participation and so on. How much margin would there need to be above regular business margin to pay for the huge investment made?

Myth #3: Money Is Money (Even When The Client’s A Jerk)
Some clients are just not worth having. I see companies clinging to the old idea that “the customer is always right,” allowing low-profit and bad-cultural-fit clients to eat away at their businesses. A great quick read is Robert I. Sutton’s book, “The No Asshole Rule.” It was written about employees but is every bit as true for customers. The negative blast zone in a company that a bad employee or a bad client creates is far more damaging than the revenues they produce.

Here are quick reality checks for you to test how your company is doing in regards to these myths:

  • How many prospects in your pipeline have been there longer than 15 months without an order? Fifteen months may be the wrong window, but there is a period after which the prospect is just an expense, not a real opportunity.
  • How many of your clients violate “The No Asshole Rule?” Determine how they became customers and then figure out how to avoid those prospects in the future.
  • Do you have a threshold for your salespeople as to how many prospects they can have active in their pipeline at any one time? Salespeople can be blocking real activity by “claiming” prospects when they haven’t made progress after a defined period. They can’t land the opportunity and your company is not landing another client either because your salesperson is tied up in a dead pipeline.

Myths are fiction passing as facts. Clean out the myths and you can refocus your sales efforts.