If you work in a company that takes its longevity seriously, there’s a high likelihood you’ll find yourself face-to-face with the notion of retraining your customers.
The notion usually arrives at an interesting transition point. Future business goals are clear, the business is thinking tactically about how to achieve them, and the business wants to keep its current customer base.
If it feels lonely, remember it’s not a unique business challenge. Consider Bed Bath and Beyond, who’s facing the reality of training customers to bring coupons into stores.
But while the long road ahead can feel daunting, it’s an interesting starting point. After all, retraining customers offers much more substance than the standard meeting fare.
So what are some practical considerations for “retraining” your customers? Let’s talk about two in particular we see from great customer experience companies.
1. The best customer experience companies outline customer-centric progressions.
Your current customers have developed expectations and behaviors over time. If you want to change them, then start with a common tenet of customer centricity: define your customer segments.
Specifically, define what they will be in the future, after you’ve achieved your business goals. What segments will your company serve best? What will they expect of you? How will they interact with your company? What will they need to flourish?
The goal here is to help humanize your end result.
Now imagine the path that your current customers will have to walk to that future. And compare it to your company’s path. What’s a sensible pace for your customers? How many are you willing to lose for a given step toward that future? What work will you need to do to coach your people and change your touchpoints to reflect each step along the way?
If you take a customer-centric approach, you’ll support customer retention throughout the progression. As a rule, people accept gradual change much more easily than drastic change.
2. The best customer experience companies don't forget the prospect experience.
PeopleMetrics believes the customer experience starts before the customer is actually a customer. And the notion of retraining customers gives us a good opportunity to illustrate. Let’s consider one question:
Would it be easier to retrain old customers, or start with new ones?
In theory, the second option is easier. You wouldn’t have to overcome any previous conditioning or history. You wouldn’t have to redefine your interaction.
In reality, it’s not practical (or very nice even) to get rid of current customers for new ones. But you can use a hybrid approach: retrain current customers as you set more manageable expectations for new ones.
Our Voice of the Prospect product helps companies measure and improve their prospect experience, so they can set the stage for the rest of their customer experience. They can also use the prospect experience as a filtering mechanism, one that identifies and targets ideal customers, so they can concentrate energy on those customers and achieving their business goals.
Want to improve your prospect experience?
If you want to improve the entire customer experience, doesn’t it make sense to start as soon as a customer makes first contact? Our ebook below gives you pointers for creating a memorable prospect experience, so you can turn your best prospects into ideal customers.
You can also subscribe to our blog to learn more about the prospect experience and how it relates to the customer experience. See you soon.