Ask any CEO these days about their attitude to customer experience and it is likely that they will quote Jeff Bezos from Amazon: “Everything we do we do with the customer in mind.”

It’s funny then that, according to research by Lee Resource and IBM, 80% of companies surveyed claimed that they offer superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed with them. Ouch!

80% of companies surveyed claimed that they offer superior customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed with them. Ouch!

It is undisputed that negative customer experiences cost your bottom line. Have a look at these CX statistics:

For every customer complaint, there are 26 other customers who have remained silent. (source: Lee Resource Inc)

A dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience, while about 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. (source: Lee Resource Inc)

Attracting a new customer costs 5-times as much as keeping an existing one. (source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC)

Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4 to 6 people about their positive experience. (source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC)

86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience. (source: Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report)

It’s no wonder then that customer-centricity and customer experience (CX) are hot topics in business right now. But just saying so is not enough. What about your business? Just how customer-centric is it?

Just how Customer-Centric is Your Business?

Before I go on I’d like to clear up a question I get asked a lot: What is the difference between customer-centricity and customer experience?

It’s simple, really.

Customer-Centricity creates positive Customer Experiences. In other words, for customers to perceive a business as being customer-focused it needs to be structured and managed like Jeff Bezos says, i.e. with the customer in mind. So, to be customer-centric, at every touch point in the organization you need to ask: “What does that look like from the customer’s point of view?” and then adjust your processes, KPIs and culture to do the right thing to create that positive customer experience.

So, how Customer-Centric is Your Business?

I propose that there are 10 Critical Customer Touch Points in the customer’s buying journey that can make or break your business.

These ten Touch Points are:

1. A Brand that Differentiates Your Business

I don’t mean that you have to be a household name or that your logo needs to be a certain color. The main thing is that you have a distinct brand that customers can recognize and identify you by. Most businesses should have this under control.

2. A well-defined Product and/or Service to Sell

How well can you articulate your product or service? How clearly can you explain to your prospects and customers the benefits of your product or service? Will your customers understand what it does for them, i.e. what’s in it for them? Or do you mostly talk about how it works?

3. A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) And A Killer Introduction That Engages Your Ideal Buyers And Makes Them Want To Know More About You

This is critical: It can’t be a motherhood statement such as “We really care for our customers.” It needs to be credible and you need to be able to back it up. What is your unique value proposition? I.e. can you clearly state what makes your business and its offerings unique and why a prospect should be interested in you? What makes you different from any other business out there?

And then, how do you convey that difference at the first point of contact with a new prospect? How can you intrigue and engage them right from your opening introduction? How do you get them to lean forward and say: “Tell me more.”?

4. A Clear Understanding Of Who Your Ideal Customers And Prospects Are

You would agree with me that there is little point in engaging with the wrong kind of prospects. You are better off dealing with the right kind instead, right? So, how clear are you on what your ideal customers look like?

5. The knowledge Of Where To Find Them

Once you know who your ideal Buyers are you need to know where they hang out. Do you know where to find your ideal prospects and customers?

6. The Understanding To Access And Engage Them Effectively

It’s not enough to know where to find your ideal Buyers. You need to know how to get to them and get them interested in your goods or services. How effective and scalable is your sales process? How well does it leverage your unique value proposition (see Point 3 above)?

7. The Know-How To Eliminate Your Competitors

Rarely will you be the only one in the race to a deal. Instead, you will most likely have to beat off any number of competitors. So, how do you fend them off and becomes your Buyer’s final and only choice?

8. The Skills To Create Effective Sales Proposals That Close Deals

In most B2B sales situations you are likely to be asked to submit a sales proposal to your Buyer. Do you get excited by the fact that the Buyer asked for a proposal and send it off to them asap? Or is there a better, smarter way? Further, how can you ensure that a) your proposal covers exactly what the Buyer needs, and b) that you have maximized your chances of your proposal being the last one standing, the one that gets accepted?

9. A Superior Pre, During and Post-Purchase Customer Experience

If you reflect on the customer experience statistics at the beginning of this article you will understand just how mission-critical your customers’ perceptions and experiences are to the success of your business at every step of the way. So, how successfully are you managing your Buyer’s interactions with your business?

10. The Ability To Keep Your Customers Loyal And To Win Their Repeat Business

Your customers’ experience does not end with a transaction. In fact, their post-sale experience is so critical that it will determine whether they will choose to come to do more business with you, or not. So, how do your prospects and customers perceive their interactions with your business at every touch point? Is their experience a pleasant one that will make them rave to their friends and colleagues about your business, or is it one that will more likely make them warn people off you?

There you have it. The 10 critical customer touch points that make or break your business.

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Peter Strohkorb
Peter Strohkorb is an international B2B Sales & Marketing Effectiveness Expert, specialising in the Tech, IT and Services Sector. Peter’s vision is a world where organisations enjoy sustainable sales growth by maximising the effectiveness of their customer-facing resources through his structured Sales and Marketing productivity framework. Over more than 20 years in executive Sales and Marketing roles for some of the largest technology corporations on the planet Peter witnessed the waste, cost and personal frustrations that occur on both sides when Sales and Marketing teams do not collaborate as well as they could. This personal experience fired his passion to create his The OneTEAM Method™, which is both his solution to this problem and the title of his first book. In December 2019 his book was voted #33 of The 88 Books all Marketers should read. Peter is currently working on his follow-up book, titled “Smarketing™: Sell smarter, not harder” to be published in 2020. Apart from being a successful consultant and executive mentor Peter is also a popular corporate speaker, MC and facilitator, a guest lecturer in the Executive MBA program at the Sydney Business School and a popular subject matter expert in both traditional and online media. Peter also runs a specialist sales and marketing thought leadership forum on his YouTube channel and through his webinars. He has received industry awards for his Sales & Marketing Assessment tool, his thought leadership content and for his research into the state of Sales & Marketing Collaboration. Peter holds a “Mini MBA” in Marketing and Management from the prestigious Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney. He is also a graduate at the Australian Institute of Company Directors in Sydney and is a professional board director. Peter lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family. He is looking forward to hearing from you.