Tuesday, October 2 was Customer Experience Day, an industry-wide celebration for professionals and companies that create great customer experiences. Dell Technologies participates every year, recognizing our team members and the work they do to put the transformative power of technology into your businesses, helping you achieve your desired outcomes and delight your own customers.
CX Day gave me an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made in delivering an exceptional customer experience across Dell. And while I am excited about how much we have achieved in a short time, there is still opportunity for us to improve. Having the chance to speak directly with a customer that has been with Dell for almost two decades put a lot of our work in perspective and was a tangible example of how understanding the outcomes a customer is focused on helps us better meet their needs, act as a trusted advisor, and deliver an experience that earns their loyalty and trust. Our customers and partners are the driving force behind everything we do, and we define our success through your success.
We truly believe that improving customer relationships can have a major impact on your business results. Here are five tips from the Dell Technologies playbook to consider as you look for ways to develop relationships with your own customers.
- Execute on the basics
You don’t get permission to play in the higher-level relationship areas with customers if you don’t get the fundamentals right. No matter how much progress you make, you’re never going to be perfect and there will be times when you mess up. It’s all about how you take accountability and respond.
At Dell Technologies we took a closer look how we approach and resolve customer escalations. What we found was that when we take full accountability and make things right, we elevate our relationship with the customer to a whole new level. I can’t overemphasize how important our response is in those situations.
- Honor customer loyalty
Customers are your lifeline, you must be relentless in their pursuit for success and honor their partnership and loyalty. Recently through data analytics, we identified customers that consistently honor us with their business and make up a substantial portion of our business. To show our appreciation, we develop differentiated programs delivering increased value for our customers. Additionally, we offer an exclusive opportunity to connect select customers with Dell executives and their own industry peers providing additional insights into operations, products, solutions, industry experts and the marketplace.
That said, creating such a formal program may not be the right fit for your business. If so, there are easier ways to approach this. Pick up the phone, commit to talking to a certain number of customers each week and be the feedback loop to your team members. Your customers will appreciate the personal engagement and follow-up.
- Lead with insights
According to Gartner, customer analytics is considered the most critical technology investment for CX improvement projects. We couldn’t agree more, as leading with insights allows us to be more predictive and proactive. Additionally, we also agree that the ROI for CX is a critical measurement, and that “realized ROI ranges from benefits for customers (such as increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy) to benefits for the organization (such as increased revenue, customer lifetime value, customer retention and profitability).”
We recently took a set of pilot accounts and tested certain data points to score customer health, using outlier detection, clustering and other machine learning techniques to identify signs of early distress. We reached out to validate with account teams and customers, and approached a 90 percent success rate within a few months!
- Innovation with purpose
In addition to creating brand loyalty through innovative products and solutions, customers also expect a purpose-driven relationship. A new study by Cone Communications revealed that 87 percent of consumers said they’d purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they cared about.
Since Michael founded the company 34 years ago, Dell’s purpose has always been to develop technology that drives human progress. To do so, we focus on three main areas to drive positive change and contribute to a more sustainable future, including:
- Sustainability – how we build sustainability into everything we do, from our supply chain to product development.
- Purpose-driven giving – how we apply our solutions, investments and time to drive human progress at scale.
- The future workforce – how we ready the next generation as well as today’s workforce to thrive in an all-digital world.
Is your business aligned to a bigger purpose beyond just selling products? If not, I highly recommend reading Start with Why, an inspiring book that explores why some people and businesses are more innovative, influential and profitable than others.
- Get in the trenches and network
Some of the best relationships and business deals happen when you least expect it. Participating in networking events that allow for informal conversations has been a key factor in my personal success and also grounds me to better understand what a customer needs and how we at Dell Technologies can support them.
Two years ago at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network’s annual summit in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Sue Abu-Hakima, founder and CEO of Amika Mobile, a software platform that specializes in saving lives via an integrated emergency critical communication and control server. The conversation eventually led to a recently announced OEM partnership between Amika Mobile and Dell EMC. We are thrilled about this partnership that embodies Dell’s purpose – driving human progress through technology.
I also believe that internal networking within your own company is invaluable. Connecting with team members can help you align on common customer-driven objectives that can unify your organization on shared success goals, focused on our customers and partners. So much of what we do is dependent on highly valued, collaborative relationships internally to better serve our customers, partners and team members. Working with and through other organizations unfied on a single customer journey provides a common focus and a clear definition of success, ultimately through the eyes of our customers.
These tips help guide me as I interact with and advocate for our own customers, partners and team members. And while there’s not a one-size-fits-all formula for strengthening individual customer relationships, I hope that they provide you with some inspiration as you work to meet your own business goals. Every customer has unique objectives and hurdles, but I’m a firm believer that by grounding interactions with a human connection, data that informs and a bigger purpose is critical to creating an emotional connection that drives the best possible results.