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Are we sending mixed messages?

During the next several weeks in Customer Connection, we’re going to talk about motivation. I’m excited about the topic because it is one that I want to learn more about. I’ll use this blog, and leverage other resources like the weekly video highlight, and the library to share what we’re hearing.

As customer advocates, our role is to motivate employees to become more customer-focused, and to help them adopt behaviors that customers will respond to with increased loyalty, retention, and future purchases. It is logical that loyal customers are going to stay with you, resist competitive offers, and are willing to pay for the value you provide.

If we can all agree that this is true, why is it so difficult to instill customer-focused behaviors? Why do we even need to talk about motivation? It seems like people would be self-motivated. I believe one reason is because our systems, processes, and scorecards are sending mixed messages. Our words are saying, lets be customer-focused, but our systems and metrics tend to focus on how well we are doing instead of how well they (our customers) are doing.

It seems like we need a measurement that is purely focused on how we’re helping our customers. What would this measure look like? Some might say it is a financial indicator of customer spend, repeat purchases, or market share. While these are essential, they send a message that it is about selling more. Others might say, it is a customer satisfaction or loyalty metric. I think this is a part of it, but it still doesn’t account for the return that the customer receives in doing business with us.

One way I’ve been thinking about this is the combination of a quantifable value delivered to the customer and an indicator of how the customer feels about the relationship. It seems like the two together could be strong predictors of the financial indicators that we track today. Here’s what I’m thinking.

What is your experience? What is your measurement for customer-focus? Is it sending mixed messages?

NOTE: This post was originally submitted in Customer Connection on 2/9/2009.

About the Author

Leslie Pagel

Leslie Pagel

As vice president of customer experience, Leslie is responsible for incorporating the voice of Walker’s customers into the solutions development process. To do this, Leslie spends the majority of her time interacting with Walker account teams, clients, and prospective clients to understand their business challenges. She coordinates several listening posts that are used to drive strong client relationships and enhance our consulting and technology capabilities.

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