by Jason Richmond, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.
Even in the digital era, with machine learning, AI and nearly six million mobile applications influencing our lifestyles, insightful companies focus on the most crucial success driver: their people. That means both our employees and customers define business strategies and, ultimately, return on investment (ROI).
Two metrics underline how vital human motivations are to business growth.
1. According to a 2017 Dimension Data report, an astonishing 84% of companies that focus on the customer experience (CX) witnessed a significant revenue hike.
2. Companies that have a program in place to engage their employees enjoy 233% more customer loyalty versus those that don’t, according to 2015 research from the Aberdeen Group.
So, organizations that take double-barreled aim at CX and the employee experience (EX) are on the right track to outperform competitors at every level.
The Churn Factor
It’s vital to retain loyal customers and employees and avoid the calamity of churn.
What is customer churn? You spend thousands of marketing dollars transitioning consumer prospects through the selling stages from casual attention to conviction, then on to the cash till. But unfortunately, after that, missteps in after-sales customer service squander the chance of establishing repeat customer purchases and brand loyalty. What’s the cost?
- It goes much further than revenue. Acquiring a new customer, or replacing a lost one, according to the old rule of thumb, is likely to cost you at least 500% more than maintaining one already in the fold.
- Customer acquisition cost significantly boosts overheads but frequently goes unnoticed because it doesn’t have a specific cost designation.
- Long-term, brand-loyal customers count for a considerable lifetime value, which can run into millions of dollars even in small companies. When consumers jump ship prematurely, the loss is significant.
What about employee churn? The expense involved in employee replacement can start at one-half to two times their salary. That’s without accounting for hours spent integrating recruits with the team, upgrading their skills and motivating them with incentives. Moreover, the disruption of the team processes and morale in the wake of a member’s sudden exit can damage the bottom line with a rapid domino effect.
A Touchpoint Approach
The opposite of churn is retention, the catalyst of a prosperous and thriving business, which is easy to achieve by executing a touchpoint overview.
- First, recognize that employees and customers travel a journey when engaging with your company.
- Second, every journey involves moving from one touchpoint to the next (like map locations on a road trip) until reaching the final destination—the end of lifetime value.
Single disruptive touchpoints are sometimes enough to derail journeys prematurely and irretrievably. We need to detect what and where these are and stop them in their tracks. Here are several crucial touchpoint ingredients.
Problematic touchpoints arise from time to time; there’s no helping it. A head-in-the-sand response won’t solve anything. Employ pulse surveys and post-transaction feedback to gain valuable insights that can erase troublesome interferences before they gain traction.
For example, an abrasive management style or uncooperative team member may contaminate employee performance on a broad scale, leading to resignations. On the other hand, an untrained, rude or impatient client support agent could drive droves of potential brand-loyal customers to competitors.
Not knowing what’s happening below the surface is an endemic problem Here are two insights to consider.
- Three in four employee resignations are preventable, and employers could have prevented 78% of the reasons employees quit.
- More than 60% of customers who skipped to a competitor did so due to a bad experience. Many of these departing customers could have been retained if management had discovered the underlying issues early enough.
In short, unless your customer experience and employee experience frameworks include a professional monitoring mechanism to signal emerging gremlins, they can wreak churn havoc. Heading off crises depends on knowing they’re brewing.
A major cause of customer and employee disruption is lack of recognition. When they feel valued by a brand or company, they are more likely to stay put. Consider these findings.
- The “Great Resignation” in 2021 revealed that huge numbers of employees looked for better jobs, citing reasons including low pay, no opportunities for advancement and feeling disrespected at work.
- Over 70% of consumers expect personalized brand experiences, and more than three-quarters of them get frustrated when they aren’t.
Understanding The True Meaning Of EX And CX
Intensely competitive marketplaces trend toward product and pricing sameness. Likewise, salary scales and job descriptions for similar career paths in the same industries show insignificant differences. As a result, industry leaders succeed by thinking—and acting—outside the box. They create value through improving service and developing a culture to which both employees and customers relate.
In addition, positive influences include:
- For employees: Seamless collaboration with team members, enlightened company attitude to remote working, bosses trusting initiative, empathic and sincere feedback and assistance during troublesome personal issues.
- For customers: Integration into consumer clubs, offers for long-standing loyalty, getting first dibs at new brand lines and responding fast to complaints or suggestions.
To confirm that price cuts and salary hikes aren’t primary retention factors:
- An Accenture report found that nearly 50% of customers are willing to pay more for a shopping experience that exceeds their expectations.
- On the HR side, 60% of employees would take a pay cut if it meant working for a more empathetic employer.
Whether in the role of customer or employee, people are looking for fulfillment topped with non-monetary benefits. Failure to acknowledge emotional forces on our lifestyles results in lost profits and massive replacement costs.
Awareness through feedback can resolve many ills, eradicating them before they become endemic. Mapping the touchpoints creates the framework for sound HR and marketing strategies that eventually converge on impressive employee and customer retention. In most instances, minor adjustments can significantly impact customer and employee experiences and, ultimately, the company’s return on investment.