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Are You Easy to Buy From?

Posted on  4 October 11  by 

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What if I told you that the long-standing beliefs driving your customer engagement strategy actually turned out to harm you in the long run?

Imagine the surprise of sales and service execs when they found out that, in the service channel, going above and beyond when serving the customer doesn’t pay off. The break-through research from our sister program—the Customer Contact Council—dismantled many of these universally held beliefs about customer loyalty.

Finding #1: Customer service organizations should care first and foremost about mitigating disloyalty—customers are four times more likely to leave a service interaction disloyal as compared to loyal.

Finding #2: The primary thing service organizations can do to mitigate disloyalty is to focus on reducing the effortcustomers must put forth to get their issues resolved. In other words, make it easy for the customers to solve their problems.

Finding #3: It is not only that the problem is resolved that matters, but also how.  The customer’s perception of how much effort they put in is about two times as influential as the actual actions taken by the customer.

(SEC Members, read more about these findings in Are You a Low-Effort Service Organization?)

Fascinating, isn’t it, especially if you think about the implications these findings have for your sales strategy.  Do sales organizations need to worry about eliminating unnecessary effort for customers? As it turns out, they do.  

When SEC looked at the drivers of customer loyalty in sales, we found that 1) the most important thing that sales reps can control is leading with insight and 2) when it comes to the sales experience, being easy to buy from is one of the top drivers of decision-makers’ loyalty.

But, with the growing complexity of our own offerings, more sophisticated global back-office support, increasing regulatory pressures, and multiple sign-offs required to preserve deal economics, how can we shield our customers from unnecessary complexity?

We’ve heard some pretty interesting bureaucracy busting ideas recently. One organization tracked every instance when a rep required additional approval for a deal to go through and eliminated the ones that got approved 90% of the time.

Here are some more systemic approaches that we’ve seen recently:

  • Creating deal desks—As the nerve center that coordinates with cross-functional teams, deal desks are used to manage profit margins and improve revenue growth while fast cycling complex deals. See our findings from the Deal Desk survey.
  • Streamlining team-based selling—For many organizations, this presents a significant challenge.  If the notion of an account “team” is nothing more than a group of people across your business who are loosely coordinated to serve an account, then it’s like trying to control chaos. See the key attributes of a well-managed team-based selling model.

What are you doing to become easy to buy from? Please contribute ideas in the Comments box below.

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