The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty

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Everyone knows that the best way to create customer loyalty is with service so good, so over the top, that it surprises and delights. But what if everyone is wrong?

 


In their acclaimed bestseller The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon and his colleagues at CEB busted many longstanding myths about sales. Now they’ve turned their research and analysis to a new vital business subject—customer loyalty—with a new book that turns the conventional wisdom on its head. 


The idea that companies must delight customers by exceeding service expectations is so entrenched that managers rarely even question it. They devote untold time, energy, and resources to trying to dazzle people and inspire their undying loyalty. Yet CEB’s careful research over five years and tens of thousands of respondents proves that the “dazzle factor” is wildly overrated—it simply doesn’t predict repeat sales, share of wallet, or positive wordof-mouth. The reality: 

Loyalty is driven by how well a company delivers on its basic promises and solves day-to-day problems, not on how spectacular its service experience might be. Most customers don’t want to be “wowed”; they want an effortless experience. And they are far more likely to punish you for bad service than to reward you for good service.


If you put on your customer hat rather than your manager or marketer hat, this makes a lot of sense. What do you really want from your cable company, a free month of HBO when it screws up or a fast, painless restoration of your connection? What about your bank—do you want free cookies and a cheerful smile, even a personal relationship with your teller? Or just a quick in-and-out transaction and an easy way to get a refund when it accidentally overcharges on fees?


The Effortless Experience takes readers on a fascinating journey deep inside the customer experience to reveal what really makes customers loyal—and disloyal. The authors lay out the four key pillars of a low-effort customer experience, along the way delivering robust data, shocking insights and profiles of companies that are already using the principles revealed by CEB’s research, with great results. And they include many tools and templates you can start applying right away to improve service, reduce costs, decrease customer churn, and ultimately generate the elusive loyalty that the “dazzle factor” fails to deliver. 

The rewards are there for the taking, and the pathway to achieving them is now clearly marked.




From the Hardcover edition.
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About the author

MATTHEW DIXON is executive director of the Sales & Service Practice of CEB. He is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, and his previous book, The Challenger Sale, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller and won acclaim as “the most important advance in selling for many years” (Neil Rackham) and “the beginning of a wave that will take over a lot of selling organizations in the next decade” (Business Insider).


NICK TOMAN is senior director of research for CEB’s Sales & Service Practice and is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review.

RICK DELISI is senior director of advisory services for CEB’s Sales & Service Practice and a noted public speaker and facilitator. 

CEB is the leading member-based advisory company. By combining the best practices of thousands of member companies with its advanced research methodologies and human capital analytics, CEB equips senior leaders and their teams with insight and actionable solutions to transform operations.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Sep 12, 2013
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780698137585
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Consumer Behavior
Business & Economics / Customer Relations
Business & Economics / Marketing / Direct
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Four years ago, the bestselling authors of The Challenger Sale overturned decades of conventional wisdom with a bold new approach to sales. Now their latest research reveals something even more surprising: Being a Challenger seller isn’t enough. Your success or failure also depends on who you challenge.

Picture your ideal customer: friendly, eager to meet, ready to coach you through the sale and champion your products and services across the organization. It turns out that’s the last person you need.

Most marketing and sales teams go after low-hanging fruit: buyers who are eager and have clearly articulated needs. That’s simply human nature; it’s much easier to build a relationship with someone who always makes time for you, engages with your content, and listens attentively. But according to brand-new CEB research—based on data from thousands of B2B marketers, sellers, and buyers around the world—the highest-performing teams focus their time on potential customers who are far more skeptical, far less interested in meeting, and ultimately agnostic as to who wins the deal. How could this be?

The authors of The Challenger Customer reveal that high-performing B2B teams grasp something that their average-performing peers don’t: Now that big, complex deals increasingly require consensus among a wide range of players across the organization, the limiting factor is rarely the salesperson’s inability to get an individual stakeholder to agree to a solution. More often it’s that the stakeholders inside the company can’t even agree with one another about what the problem is.

It turns out only a very specific type of customer stakeholder has the credibility, persuasive skill, and will to effectively challenge his or her colleagues to pursue anything more ambitious than the status quo. These customers get deals to the finish line far more often than friendlier stakeholders who seem so receptive at first. In other words, Challenger sellers do best when they target Challenger customers.

The Challenger Customer unveils research-based tools that will help you distinguish the "Talkers" from the "Mobilizers" in any organization. It also provides a blueprint for finding them, engaging them with disruptive insight, and equipping them to effectively challenge their own organization.
The former Executive Vice President of Walt Disney World shares indispensible Rules for serving customers with consistency, efficiency, creativity, sincerity, and excellence. 

Lee Cockerell knows that success in business--any business--depends upon winning and keeping customers. In 39 digestible, bite-sized chapters, Lee shares everything he has learned in his 40+ year career in the hospitality industry about creating an environment that keeps customers coming back for more. Here, Lee not only shows why the customer always rules, but also the Rules for serving customers so well they'll never want to do business with anyone but you. For example:

Rule #1: Customer Service Is Not a Department
Rule #3: Great Service Follows the Laws of Gravity
Rule #5: Ask Yourself "What Would Mom Do?"
Rule #19: Be a Copycat
Rule #25. Treat Every Customer like a Regular
Rule #39: Don’t Try Too Hard

As simple as they are profound, these principles have been shown to work in companies as large as Disney and as small as a local coffee shop; from businesses selling cutting-edge technologies like computer tablets to those selling products as timeless as shoes and handbags; at corporations as long-standing as Ford Motors and those as nascent as a brand new start-up. And they have been proven indispensible at all levels of a company, from managers responsible for hiring and training employees, setting policies and procedures, and shaping the company culture to front line staff who deal directly with clients and customers

Chock-full of universal advice, applicable online and off, The Customer Rules is the essential handbook for service excellence everywhere.

A Wall Street Journal bestseller

Why are Mercedes-Benz customers so loyal and passionate? Because the people at Mercedes-Benz are Driven to Delight

In his previous bestsellers--The Starbucks Experience, The New Gold Standard, and Prescription for Excellence--Joseph Michelli revealed customer experience practices and strategies of beloved businesses. Now, in this timely new book, he shares the greatest customer-driven insights behind one of the most iconic brand names in the world: Mercedes-Benz USA.

DRIVEN TO DELIGHT reveals:

How Mercedes-Benz USA launched a multi-year program to elevate their customer experience--even though their product was already “best in class.” How they activated people, improved processes, and deployed technology to emotionally engage customers. How the Mercedes-Benz approach can jump-start any customer-driven business—by accelerating your commitment to the customer experience.

Filled with exclusive front-seat insights from Mercedes-Benz employees, eye-opening testimonials from passionate Mercedes-Benz fans, and solid nuts-and-bolts advice for creating your own consumer-aligned road map, Driven to Delight will help you retool your strategies, reignite your customers, and refuel your team for the long haul.

Mercedes-Benz. The name alone conjures images of luxury, innovation, quality, and performance. But in today’s market, you need more than a world-class product to outpace the competition--which is why the executives at Mercedes-Benz USA set a course to create a customer experience in keeping with their legendary cars.

This is the story of how an organization became Driven to Delight. It reveals the action plan Mercedes-Benz USA used to catapult the company to first place rankings in national customer satisfaction studies while at the same time growing sales and profits. With unprecedented access to company personnel, customer experience expert Joseph Michelli charts the journey the company took and identifies the all-important keys to driving delight in any customer-based organization. You’ll learn how to:

Create a compelling vision for exceptional customer experiences Identify the ever changing wants, needs, and desires of your customer segments Map out your key customer journeys and high value contact points Effectively evaluate customer perceptions throughout their journey with you Resolve customer needs swiftly and constantly improve your delivery processes Link rewards and recognition to customer experience excellence throughout your organization

These proven techniques are part of the Mercedes-Benz USA “Driven to Delight” culture which sets a new gold standard in customer service, employee engagement, and peak performance. You’ll find step-by-step strategies that can be customized to fit your business model and customer needs. You’ll discover invaluable tools like Vision Mapping, Customer Journey Wheels, Customer-Centric Strategy and Resource Planning Processes --plus 20 Key Questions you can use to diagnose your progress and steer your company in the right direction.

Along the way, you’ll get a rare first-hand comprehensive view of a world-class company in action. You’ll see how a “best or nothing” organization became customer obsessed, mile after mile, year after year. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to ramp up your own customer experience, rev up your customer commitment, and take your customers on a journey that’s bound to delight--the Mercedes-Benz way.

Joseph A. Michelli is an internationally sought-after speaker, author, and organizational consultant. His books include The Starbucks Experience, The New Gold Standard, The Zappos Experience, Leading the Starbucks Way, and Prescription for Excellence, which hit #1 on The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists.

A Customer Experience Roadmap to Transform Your Business and Culture

Chief Customer Officer 2.0 will give you a proven framework that has launched and advanced the customer experience transformation in businesses in every vertical around the world.

And it will take years off your learning curve.

Written by Jeanne Bliss, worldwide authority on customer experience, and preeminent thought leader on the role of the Customer Leadership Executive (such as Chief Customer Officer, Vice President of Customer Experience, etc.) this book follows the five-competency model she uses to coach the C-Suite and Chief Customer Officers.

1. Manage and Honor Customers as Assets

2. Align Around Experience

3. Build a Customer Listening Path

4. Proactive Experience Reliability and Innovation

5. One Company Accountability, Leadership & Decision Making

Chief Customer Officer 2.0 will get you into action quickly with a united leadership team, and will shift your business intent to earning the right to growth by improving customers’ lives. Jeanne Bliss fearlessly shares her tools and leadership ‘recipe cards’ for leading and enabling your business transformation. And she provides practical guidance on how embed the five competencies into how your company develops products, goes to market, enables and rewards people, and conducts annual planning.

Including over forty accounts of actions by Customer Leadership Executives around the world, this is the book you have been waiting for that tells it like it is and gives you the framework to build your customer-driven growth engine.

Jeanne Bliss pioneered the Customer Leadership Executive position, holding the role for twenty years at Lands’ End, Allstate, Coldwell Banker, Mazda and Microsoft Corporations. Since 2002 she has led CustomerBliss, a preeminent customer experience transformation company where she helps companies achieve customer-driven growth. She is a worldwide keynote speaker, and sought frequently by major media for her point of view. Jeanne is the co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, established to advance the worldwide discipline of customer experience and customer experience practitioners. She is also the best-selling author of Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action (2006), and I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions to Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad (2011).

What's the secret to sales success? If you're like most business leaders, you'd say it's fundamentally about relationships-and you'd be wrong. The best salespeople don't just build relationships with customers. They challenge them.

The need to understand what top-performing reps are doing that their average performing colleagues are not drove Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and their colleagues at Corporate Executive Board to investigate the skills, behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes that matter most for high performance. And what they discovered may be the biggest shock to conventional sales wisdom in decades.

Based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions. The authors' study found that every sales rep in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types of reps can deliver average sales performance, only one-the Challenger- delivers consistently high performance.

Instead of bludgeoning customers with endless facts and features about their company and products, Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer's specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customer's every demand or objection, they are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.

The things that make Challengers unique are replicable and teachable to the average sales rep. Once you understand how to identify the Challengers in your organization, you can model their approach and embed it throughout your sales force. The authors explain how almost any average-performing rep, once equipped with the right tools, can successfully reframe customers' expectations and deliver a distinctive purchase experience that drives higher levels of customer loyalty and, ultimately, greater growth.

What's the secret to sales success? If you're like most business leaders, you'd say it's fundamentally about relationships-and you'd be wrong. The best salespeople don't just build relationships with customers. They challenge them.

The need to understand what top-performing reps are doing that their average performing colleagues are not drove Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and their colleagues at Corporate Executive Board to investigate the skills, behaviors, knowledge, and attitudes that matter most for high performance. And what they discovered may be the biggest shock to conventional sales wisdom in decades.

Based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions. The authors' study found that every sales rep in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types of reps can deliver average sales performance, only one-the Challenger- delivers consistently high performance.

Instead of bludgeoning customers with endless facts and features about their company and products, Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer's specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customer's every demand or objection, they are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.

The things that make Challengers unique are replicable and teachable to the average sales rep. Once you understand how to identify the Challengers in your organization, you can model their approach and embed it throughout your sales force. The authors explain how almost any average-performing rep, once equipped with the right tools, can successfully reframe customers' expectations and deliver a distinctive purchase experience that drives higher levels of customer loyalty and, ultimately, greater growth.

Four years ago, the bestselling authors of The Challenger Sale overturned decades of conventional wisdom with a bold new approach to sales. Now their latest research reveals something even more surprising: Being a Challenger seller isn’t enough. Your success or failure also depends on who you challenge.

Picture your ideal customer: friendly, eager to meet, ready to coach you through the sale and champion your products and services across the organization. It turns out that’s the last person you need.

Most marketing and sales teams go after low-hanging fruit: buyers who are eager and have clearly articulated needs. That’s simply human nature; it’s much easier to build a relationship with someone who always makes time for you, engages with your content, and listens attentively. But according to brand-new CEB research—based on data from thousands of B2B marketers, sellers, and buyers around the world—the highest-performing teams focus their time on potential customers who are far more skeptical, far less interested in meeting, and ultimately agnostic as to who wins the deal. How could this be?

The authors of The Challenger Customer reveal that high-performing B2B teams grasp something that their average-performing peers don’t: Now that big, complex deals increasingly require consensus among a wide range of players across the organization, the limiting factor is rarely the salesperson’s inability to get an individual stakeholder to agree to a solution. More often it’s that the stakeholders inside the company can’t even agree with one another about what the problem is.

It turns out only a very specific type of customer stakeholder has the credibility, persuasive skill, and will to effectively challenge his or her colleagues to pursue anything more ambitious than the status quo. These customers get deals to the finish line far more often than friendlier stakeholders who seem so receptive at first. In other words, Challenger sellers do best when they target Challenger customers.

The Challenger Customer unveils research-based tools that will help you distinguish the "Talkers" from the "Mobilizers" in any organization. It also provides a blueprint for finding them, engaging them with disruptive insight, and equipping them to effectively challenge their own organization.
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