According to a July 31st story in USA Today, the FAA has six months to explain why it shouldn’t regulate seat size. This is all predicated on airline safety. But irrespective of the outcome, we all know that seats are shrinking while passengers are doing the reverse. No wonder why air rage incidents are on the rise. We are all fighting for space: above, at and below the seats. With all due respect to the airline industry, their need to squeeze margins at the expense of passenger comfort has been going on for some time.
This seeming insensitivity on management’s part as to what’s happening in the cabin is not confined to the airline industry. Several years ago, I remember listening slack-jawed as my marketing manager shared that he didn’t own any of the investment product we sold and never would. He didn’t believe in active management. What incensed me was that this individual was not only a long-term employee but also a frequent spokesperson.
Here’s the point: if we don’t sit with our clients, how can we expect them to stay with us? The reasons to delight customers are obvious but worth repeating:
- Client acquisition is more expensive than retention
- Technology has created an unparalleled transparency to the relationship
- Clients have easier ways to discover alternatives to your service
- Happy clients stay longer and delighted customers refer new ones
- Client satisfaction brings recurring revenues and drives profits
Outside of certain industries (like cable) we don’t have an explicit contract governing the relationship. We do have an implicit contract, however, that benefits all parties – this is especially true when we strive to shock and delight them. Perhaps no one does this better than Virgin Group’s founder, Sir Richard Branson. When asked what business Virgin is in, Branson famously responded, “The experience business.”
If the preceding is of growing importance, how do we get to be an “experience” business? One of the best ways is to map it. To literally create the customer’s journey. There are many ways to approach it. The attached represents my “go to” diagram:
In my next blog, I will discuss how to complete the map to create customer satisfaction and drive brand loyalty.