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Customers Pay 25% More for Better Experience

Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 12:07 PM

Despite what you may believe about how price sensitive consumers are given the economic realities of late, Oracle's "Customer Experience Impact Report" indicates 86 percent of customers would pay 25 percent more for a better customer experience.

Now that's ammunition for your sales team. When they receive resistance from a prospect regarding price, building value around your top-notch customer experience may help overcome that price obstacle. But first, you have to ensure your experience is truly stellar and be able to prove it. Here's how.

Every quarter, send a ten-question survey to your customers from the prior quarter. Begin by asking them to rate their satisfaction with your company overall in addition to key customer contact departments. Have them rate the value they receive from the products or service they buy from your company. Inquire about what makes your company different in their view, and why they originally elected to do business with you. Then ask if your company has delivered on those initial expectations.

Consider asking if they refer you, and why or why not. Willingness to refer is a strong indicator of true customer loyalty as their neck is on the line if they refer poorly. Round out your questions with a simple inquiry about what your firm can do to improve its customer experience.

You might consider contracting with someone from the outside to call your key accounts and any dormant customers annually, as they are much more likely to speak frankly with a stranger than in a company-administered survey.

Once you know, definitively, that your customer experience is beyond reproach, now you have to prove it to new prospective customers, as your competitors no doubt make similar claims. One way is to use the results of your customer survey. Promoting the fact that 90 percent of your customers are highly satisfied with your service is a strong differentiator.

Another way to prove it is to share testimonials from raving customers. If you calculate customer retention and referral numbers, these are strong indicators of customer loyalty and are worth sharing as you make the case for your exemplary customer experience.

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reports that most dissatisfied customers will tell nine to 15 people and 13 percent of those will tell over 20. Considering the viral nature of social media, a preferred channel for sharing brand dissatisfaction stories, the number of eyes seeing that negative feedback could be astonishingly high. The risk in not asking for this vital experience feedback is simply too great.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing in Memphis, TN, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

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Lori Turner-Wilson
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Lori spent over 15 years leading corporate marketing and communications divisions in the financial services, hospitality and franchise restaurant sectors. As Director of Target Marketing for the Hampton Hotels brand of Hilton Hotels Corporation, Lori managed promotional, direct and Web marketing, as well as custom publishing, for the brand's franchise system. In her role as Vice President of Employee Communications and Development for First Horizon National Corporation, she managed the corporation's internal culture initiatives, communications, and employee recognition programs. Other positions held include Sr. Communications Director/Corporate Editor for TCBY Enterprises, Inc., and Vice President of Marketing for First National Banking Company. Lori is a founding sponsor and member of the Board of Directors for LaunchMemphis -- an organization committed to developing an entrepreneurial community in Memphis comprised of investors, entrepreneurs and local organizations. In addition, Lori is on the Board of Directors of the Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South and on the Advisory Board for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. She is a sought-after speaker in the Memphis area, delivering sales and marketing keynote addresses and workshops to organizations like: the Memphis Chapter of the American Advertising Federation, the Sales & Marketing Society of the Mid-South, LaunchMemphis, EmergeMemphis, the Memphis Regional Chamber, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Lori holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in addition to having completed the University of Colorado's School of Bank Marketing and Management. She is the recipient of numerous industry awards including local and district Addy's, Communicator awards, and a Telly. She received recognition as one of the Memphis Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40" recipients in 2009. Lori also served as a contributing ghost writer for the renowned "Complete Idiot's Guide to Guerilla Marketing." Beyond her passions for marketing and dogs of all shapes and sizes, Lori is an avid traveler, runner and foodie.