Customer Experience vs Sales & Retention

I’ve written in the past about the benefits of following a CX strategy and Watermark Consulting did some great analysis a couple of years back on how CX Leaders have outperformed CX Laggards on the stock market.

CX Leaders v Laggards

So seeing these benefits, more and more businesses are now following a CX strategy.

And that’s wonderful.

But the Comcast call that went viral earlier this week highlights a disconnect between organisations’ CX goals and how they are hiring, incenting and motivating their sales and retention employees.

Let’s look first at what customers want. Their expectations of the service they will receive from you have been set by companies like Amazon, Apple, and Zappos (I dream of the day I’ll be able to add an Australian company’s name to that list). In short, they rightly expect nothing but the best – service par excellence.

Businesses, meanwhile, hire salespeople based on how successful they’ve been at closing sales in the past. For retention specialists, its about how much business they’ve been able to save a company from losing. They then weight these employees’ financial incentives heavily towards their respective objectives of achieving new sales or retaining existing business.

Is it any wonder then that salespeople do not hand hold a customer through a complex implementation process preferring to move onto their next deal and you get belligerent attitudes from retention specialists like the one Ryan Block encountered at Comcast? They don’t get paid to help you in that way.

To further exemplify this, yesterday I had lunch with an old colleague of mine who works in sales for a global IT company. He said “at the beginning of the quarter its all about providing a great customer experience. In the last 2 weeks of the business quarter its: “close those deals!””

What’s the Answer?

Here are a five things companies can do to help align themselves with the level of service their customers are expecting:

  • Continually monitor client needs to ensure you’re still meeting them and to integrate their insights into your relationship management model.
  • Change your incentive system. Align a portion of the at-risk component of salespeoples’ and retention specialists’ salaries to your CX metrics.
  • Change your hiring prerequisites to reflect a stronger focus on customer satisfaction and include information regarding your CX programs in your onboarding process.
  • Calculate customer value not just on the next deal they sign with you but the total amount of business they are likely to do with you if you retain them – Customer Lifetime Value.
  • Share your CX metrics and how you’re tracking to them with customers (both existing and potential).

If your company is doing something similar or different to this I’d love to hear about it. Please share your experience in the Comments section below.


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