Don’t Ignore the Effects of Your Decisions on Customers
When resources are tight, services or customer-facing extras are often the first items to go. The smartest budgeters recognize the moments that matter most to customers. They find creative ways to hold onto the little details that make customers feel good and think positively about the company. Customers judge brands and service providers by three things:
- Whether the company meets their needs
- Whether the company is easy to do business with
- Whether the company is able to provide an enjoyable customer experience
When you use these criteria as a framework for budgeting, customers’ priorities shine through.
Build a Budget around Mutually Beneficial Relationships
Align the company’s plans with activities that optimize the customer experience. When companies build business models around mutually beneficial relationships, the potential for explosive growth multiplies. Separate the customer-value-creating aspects of your budget from the non-value-creating aspects and make decisions accordingly. Not sure which is which? Time and dollars are better spent figuring out which programs answer more customer needs than taking guesses or finessing that spreadsheet for more easy profit. As Don Peppers and Martha Rogers Ph.D., explain in their book Extreme Trust, companies that align their budgets with programs and services that proactively protect the customer and then use big data insights to show the customer that they have the customers’ interest at heart, win big. Even if it requires spending extra money in the short term to demonstrate a trustworthy brand in the long run, the payoff of generating extreme trust will be worth it in the end.
Customer-Centric Budget Items that Please Customers and Reduce Company Spending
It’s not always customers vs. the company. Many customer-centric strategies and programs are budget friendly and make customers happy. Here are the top two techniques that simultaneously make the most of scarce resources while optimizing the customer experience.
- Chat Service and Social Customer Care: Phone calls and traditional communication channels are more expensive than newer methods for serving customers. While customers will think your company is cutting-edge with proactive chat sales and a team of social media experts, the process of directing customer inquiries to these channels will leave more room in the budget to pursue other customer-facing projects.
- Self-Service: Today’s digital customers would rather go online to find the answer to their own questions, and nothing is cheaper than empowering them to help themselves. Today, self-service technologies are sophisticated answer engines instead of a laundry list of possible answers, and the best solutions allow companies to turn their internal customer service technology platform into an online self-help portal for customers.