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How Effective is Your “Customer Prevention Program”?

How Effective is Your “Customer Prevention Program”?

I was speaking with a friend and former client recently. We got onto the topic of what it will be like when air travel returns to normal. His expression grew dim. He started recounting how often air travel is a miserable experience for the casual (i.e., non-frequent) flyer. How often the disincentives of flying outweigh the benefits. He referred to the airlines’ “customer prevention program.”

I love that. Sometimes it seems that, yes, companies do their best to prevent customers instead of attract and keep them. Of course, it’s not intentional. It’s what happens when businesses are designed purely from an inside-out, not an outside-in perspective.

What about your business? Do you unwittingly have a customer prevention program? Answering that would be a great exercise for your leadership team. Here’s what to do:

1) Have them walk through every step of the customer journey (from pre-purchase to purchase to post-purchase), every touchpoint that influences the customer experience.

2) Have them assess their emotional reactions. What triggers irritation, what causes confusion, what makes them feel disrespected?

3) Estimate the consequences and costs to your business of customers experiencing those negative, emotional reactions.

4) Redesign the customer journey with those learnings in mind.

Do you like that? Wait, there’s one more step …

Before you implement that redesigned customer journey, go through the same exercise once more … with real, live customers. If you’re going to redesign the customer journey from the customer perspective, then get the customer’s perspective!

So why, you might be thinking, should I go through that exercise with my leadership team? Two reasons. First, to have them start to think like a customer. Next, to have them understand that imagining what the customer thinks is no substitute for actually determining what the customer thinks.

After all, your goal is to attract and keep customers — not prevent them.

Make it happen.

Michael

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