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With the advent of the Internet and social media, the new business mantra is that selling is not just limited to salespeople anymore, writes speaker, author and mentor Tony Hughes on behalf of SugarCRM.
This article appeared in www.marketingmag.com.au and shows how a satisfied customer can reduce the need for a large sales and marketing force simply by recommending a firm to others when they have experienced a positive business experience. Customer service becomes the new sales model – “A satisfied customer becomes the best business strategy of all”, says author Michael LeBoeuf.
One example that epitomises the effects of a people and customer centric company mantra (culture) happened in the aftermath of the QF32 incident where an Airbus A380 carrying 440 passengers experienced a failure mid flight.
Safety, transparency and accountability are cornerstones for all Qantas pilots, and this embodied culture shone through as flight captain Richard De Crespigny assumed the role of customer service and public relations leader once the team had the aircraft safely on the ground.
His open and honest disclosure and personal guarantee to passengers in the airport terminal after the event, transformed the traumatised passengers into the best brand advocates Qantas could ever have hoped for. A compelling customer experience following passengers being faced with a potentially life threatening ordeal.
Every employee who touches a customer in any way needs to be an advocate of the brand and seek opportunities to deliver not only revenue but lasting value.
An organisation’s digital presence from their website and intranet channels to social media engagement strategies should empower employees to engage with customers and stakeholders and hold meaningful conversations not just to support sales and marketing messages but to improve services and build sustainable relationships, loyalty and new interest.
The real power of social media can be found by monitoring conversations and using the platforms to gather valuable insights about what is happening in the marketplace. Employees need to understand that with this sort of freedom comes responsibility and accountability. But when implemented well, it’s powerful.
Service people are salespeople, and all people are brand advocates: People should be plugged into the full view of each customer, empowered to engage in meaningful ways, and rewarded if they go above and beyond in delivering exceptional customer service and relationship building, regardless of their role or position within an organisation’s hierarchy.
Key ingredients for creating a sustainable and value-based customer centric culture:
- Focus on what’s relevant to customers when understanding what represents value and create emotional connections for every interaction
- Use a mirror, not a manual, to transform the organisation by living the values and culture
- Carefully hire only those who are culturally aligned to the right attitudes and values to represent brand truth and customer advocacy
- Empower and liberate all employees to embody the culture and live the brand every day, and;
- Trust people to step-up, and reward those who create Customer Magic
Yours in The Making of magic,