Your company has many interactions with customers. Some of these interactions are focused on making a sale. Some are focused on addressing a customer service issue. Others are focused on learning about the customer’s needs.
But no matter what the specific goal of a particular interaction, there are three goals shared by every customer interaction. If you meet these three goals when your organization interacts with a customer, you can consider the interaction a definite – and profitable – success.
Goal #1: Your relationship with your customer improves
Does your customer feel closer to you at the end of the interaction
than they did at the beginning of the interaction?
Think what happens when you share an especially good time with friends. Don’t you feel a bit closer to them afterwards, even if you already had a good relationship with them before this good time?
Now consider what happens when you have a powerful business interaction, either when you are a customer or when you are interacting with one of your customers. The feeling that your relationship improved during this interaction is palpable.
Relationships are built through relationship-building encounters, i.e., interactions in which a relationship is better after the interaction than it was before the interaction started. No matter what you are trying to accomplish in a customer interaction, always focus on this goal: Improving your relationship with the customer.
Goal #2: Your customer better understands why you are important to her
At the end of the interaction does your customer have a
clearer understanding about why you are important to her?
In a customer interaction, you hope your customer will have an “A-Ha!” moment in which she says, “I really think this person/company/product can help me.”
Most advertising and sales pitching fails to accomplish this because advertising and sales communications are most often intent on telling the story of the product. Customers are more likely to understand why you matter to them if your interaction is focused primarily on the customer’s story, and weaves in relevant product or service benefits into this customer-focused narrative.
In every customer interaction, help your customer better understand why you are important to them.
Goal #3: Your customer is more motivated to act in ways that drive your success
Is your customer more motivated to do business with you at the end of the interaction than they were at the beginning of the interaction?
The direct driver of your company’s success is the actions that customers take. You only meet your goals when customers take actions such as learning about your product, meeting with you, visiting your place of business, buying from you, buying more from you, raving to friends about you, etc. Ultimately, nothing you do matters if it doesn’t encourage customers to act in ways that help you succeed.
Motivating your customers to act in ways that drive your success is a goal of every customer interaction.
What kinds of communication media are most effective at accomplishing these three goals?
If you want the answer to this question, don’t look at the to-do lists of most companies’ communication professionals. Marketing departments are mostly focused on media such as advertising, websites, brochures, PR, social media efforts, etc. These efforts are relatively ineffective at building relationships, communicating why you are important to a customer and motivating customer action.
The media that most effectively meet the three goals of a customer interaction are the person-to-person conversations that happen between your customers and people who work for your company. Conversations that matter to customers are influential, memorable and inspiring.
As I asked you to consider in “Conversations That Matter,” are you allocating enough of your communication resources to creating conversations that matter? Or are most of your communication resources devoted to marketing communications that aren’t especially effectively at building relationships, helping customers understand why you are important to them, and motivating customers to act in ways that drive your success?
Your marketing communications may be necessary, but they are not primary. When you focus on creating conversations that matter with customers, you are much more likely to achieve the three goals of every customer interaction.