I recently stumbled upon a rudimentary but interesting read on the topic of client communications - “The Six Laws of Customer Experience” by Bruce Temkin. In this paper, Bruce discusses what he believes to be the 6 laws that govern a customer’s experience with any large organization. He cites them as:
1. Every interaction creates a personal reaction
2. People are instinctively self-centered
3. Customer familiarity breeds alignment
4. Unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers
5. Employees do what is measured, incented, and celebrated
6. You can’t fake it
Collectively, they are quite telling in where organizations should be investing and focusing resources if they wish to gain long-term customer loyalty, trust and retention.
While Bruce’s paper essentially outlines some basic theoretical marketing strategies, there are a few points he makes that are worth exploring here. In Bruce’s paper, there are in fact four (4) phrases that capture the essence of how important the client is -- to the client, and how firms need to empower employees to honor and leverage this truth.
Client’s Role In The Customer Experience
“Experiences designed for everyone satisfy no one” 1
In the context of client communications, think of your own reaction when you receive flyers or mail shots or email blasts that are clearly generic. Now compare THAT reaction to your reception to similar distributions that were clearly created with YOU in mind. Think of those birthday messages from your investment advisor with a message reminding you of your retirement plan contributions …, or reminders of your as yet unscheduled upcoming 6 month cleaning at the dentist… The personal content makes you take notice right? And you don’t just notice the greeting message do you? The messaging, branding, sender’s information all resonate with you – at least for the few moments you are engaged with that piece of collateral. And it is just that: a piece of marketing collateral issued by the ‘seller’ to keep his/her brand at the forefront of your thoughts.
A simpler generic reminder designed with a profile client group (to which you may belong) would just not have the same impact as these personalized tailored distributions that make you feel you are valued by this supplier.
“Customers … care intensely about their own needs and desires…” 2
If we know one thing about human nature – it’s that humans inherently care about themselves first. Building on this premise, it’s an easy extension to see that if customers are driven by their own needs, efforts to connect with them should be initiated on the things that are of importance to these clients! Companies that incorporate this philosophy of providing relevant, timely communications to their clients that make a difference to the client are the ones that gain traction and brand awareness with their markets.
Adapting the now somewhat dated phrase “Think Global - Act Local” to the context of client communications… think of “global” being the intended market segment... and “local” being the individual client and their needs. Gives a new face to how we engage our clients doesn’t it?!
The Employee’s Role In The Customer Experience
“Front Line employees need to have the latitude to accommodate the needs of key customers” 3
Who best knows the unique needs and requirements of your clients in your firm? Typically, it’s the agent or representative that deals with the client either during the creation of the sale or post sale support activities. At those points of interaction, these key employees must have the ability to tailor his/her deliverables to the specific needs of the client – as they know it at the time. This means leveraging internal resources, systems and tools to provide answers and solutions (so, products & services) that the customer actually needs – not what the company wants to say/position.
Good employees can quickly become great employees when allowed to leverage their tools to properly service clients. Employees in the service field have an inherent desire to ‘help’ clients. Not having the latitude to tailor their services to meet the client’s needs not only frustrates the employee, but also leaves the client feeling dispensable to the firm. Providing the facility for employees to create bonds and strong relationships with clients (even if only for the moment(s) of the interaction) will result in both improved employee satisfaction and client loyalty.
“If it’s hard for employees to do something, then they are less likely to do it - …” 4
When empowering employees to address the need for personal content in their communications, firms should keep the above simple rule in mind. Processes and policies are important to most firms... but keeping these tools and processes simple for employees to follow, will ensure the required results are consistently achieved. Overly complicating the task will ensure failure and lack of commitment from the team.
IT departments that solicit and select easy-to-use technologies that are introduced with long term goals in mind will reap the benefits that come from having flexible solutions that are easily scalable to the growth and contractions of today’s businesses.
1 Page 3, “The Six Laws of Customer Experience” by Bruce Temkin
2 Page 4, “The Six Laws of Customer Experience” by Bruce Temkin
3 Page 3, “The Six Laws of Customer Experience” by Bruce Temkin
4 Page 6, “The Six Laws of Customer Experience” by Bruce Temkin