In this week Proto Partner’s blog, we are going to explore the two sides of a customer relationship. On one hand, we will focus on a seamless and spotless customer relationship, and on the other hand, we will look into a potentially problematic customer interaction that, with a practical example, illustrates something that we discussed in last week’s post, “Romancing with your customers".
To shed light on a less successful customer experience we will comment on Brian Cantor’s article, the managing editor and community director of IQPC’s Customer Management IQ. He believes that many brands have not yet reached the point where they can declare that they know their customers. Even companies that collect multitudes of information about their customers, have an extremely hard time in identifying the emotional and commercial reaction to their company’s initiatives. Nevertheless, customers expect companies to exceed their expectations and truly know them. Or, at least, they should be able to identify the details of their transactions.Recently, Brian had a problem with an online purchase from Foot Locker, the leading global authentic footwear and apparel retailer with a $308M net income in the Year to Date of 2013. After correctly placing his order online, he had to proactively contact Foot Locker to confirm if everything was correct. Unfortunately, the company had “forgotten” to tell him that due to several problems on the Foot Locker website, the order did not go through and was cancelled. Brian believed that it was Foot Locker’s obligation to communicate and offer a proactive solution. In his opinion, a business must not only unlock information but also “assure access to the information that exists at every conceivable touch point”.
Communication is one of the most important assets of a perfect customer relationship. It must coexist with transparency and the ability to deliver the satisfaction that the customer demands. But what is most important is to anticipate problems (something that did not happen with Brian and his sneakers) and before the customer finds out that something is wrong, identify it, communicate through the proper channels, and assure that an intelligent and relevant solution is implemented.
In the end, customers know that companies can also make mistakes. Brian infers that “Every business will say no to a customer”. But, that is not the problem. Nevertheless, imperfection in the customer knowledge process with lack of access to the proper information at the right time cannot be tolerated.
To read the article, click here.