Winning Them Back

Being customer-centric should be a priority for any business—yet these days more businesses seem to be treating it as an afterthought. Customers are taking notice. How can we reverse the damage and do better? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • The start of the pandemic tested our patience as things everywhere either slowed down or shut down completely.
  • At the same time, it also made us a lot more empathetic to the businesses struggling to keep it together.
  • Customer satisfaction was at its lowest point in 28 years. Yet we were forgiving when we had to wait months for restocked inventory. Or spend hours on hold.
  • As the worst of the pandemic fades into the past, some businesses are now taking our goodwill for granted.
  • Across industries, the customer experience remains poor and prices are skyrocketing—often out of greed rather than necessity.
  • It doesn’t help that big tech has abandoned its mission to improve our lives in favor of keeping investors happy. The quality of the experience is dropping while the number of ads goes up.
  • Unsurprisingly, customers are fed up. They expect more from the businesses they support.
  • Some are even taking action to settle the score—pestering or publicly shaming businesses in-person and online.
  • Employees have also had enough. They’re quitting faster than before the pandemic and becoming more difficult to replace.
  • So what can we marketing leaders do to win back customers who are growing more fed up and jaded by the day?
  • Getting the customer experience right involves aligning your people, processes and tools.
  • Start with a clear vision for what customer excellence looks like. Make sure that vision is grounded in your brand and not just generic best practices.
  • Assess the state of all customer-facing elements to identify the gaps. And consider being agile in designing and testing improvements.
  • Also, be cautious when it comes to using digital tools like chatbots.
  • Time has become more precious for all of us. And too often, chatbots are poorly designed—creating more friction and higher waiting times to get the help we need.
  • If prices have significantly increased for valid reasons, tell customers why. Be honest and avoid euphemistic messaging. Explain the reasons behind the price change. And be clear about how the change is linked to customer value.
  • Do more to earn back forgiveness. Excel where you can to make up for areas where you risk disappointing. Be transparent and make honest apologies. And give employees more autonomy to make decisions—while making sure their own needs are met.
  • Ultimately, putting customers first is much like having a bank account. You can end up taking out more than you’ve put in and then find yourself in trouble.
  • Great customer experiences build goodwill. The opposite erases it. Where does your balance stand?
Issue #165
Apr 2, 2023

Further Reading