SteveBillinghamConsulting

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Passionate about your business

First class “client experience” in action

When Jan Carlzon took over Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) the business was making multi-million losses and in worrying decline. In just 12 months he turned the business around. In one year earnings were up £60 million in a drastically slumping market where other international airlines collectively lost £1.5 billion.

One of the key elements of Carlzon’s turnaround was his unerring focus and commitment to customer care.

10 million customers a year typically come into contact with 5 SAS employees. And each contact lasts an average of 15 seconds.

In Carlzon’s words: “SAS is ‘created’ 50 million times a year, 15 seconds at a time. These 50 million ‘moments of truth’ are the moments that ultimately determine whether SAS will succeed or fail as a company. They are the moments when we must prove to our customers that SAS is their best alternative”

Carlzon worked out SAS had 5 x 15 second moments of truth with every customer. How many moments of truth do you have? How long are they?

Just 75 seconds per customer determines SAS’s reputation, whether a customer comes back, and whether they recommend others to use SAS.

How long have you and your team got?

Because Carlzon and his 10,000 employees changed these 5 x 15 second interactions they turned multi-million losses into multi-million profits in just 12 months. Not bad.

The 5 x 15 second customer conversations at SAS were with front-line people. Not managers or directors. As at SAS, your front-line people similarly have the knowledge, insights and experience to help you improve your moments of truth.

Identify your moments of truth and get to work on improving them… now!


Quote of the week

You always need heroes, but if you celebrate firefighters, you get fires.

Tom Searcy


Are you measuring the right things?

Most advisers measure what they think is right (usually turnover and if you are lucky… profit) rather than measuring what matters most, i.e. the things that matter to clients.

In 1994 Continental Airlines was failing… big time. It had filed for bankruptcy twice in the previous decade. Then they hired Gordon Bethune who simply got every employee focused on just 3 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

That single act transformed Continental into one of the most profitable airlines in the work by the late 90s.

Rather than focusing employees on the “traditional” measures like revenues and reducing costs he publicly and dramatically burned the employee manual in their car park and announced that the rules had changed.

He got every employee focused on three “customer experience” KPIs

  • Less lost luggage – a quality KPI
  • Fewer complaints – a customer satisfaction KPI
  • More on-time arrivals – a reliability/speed KPI

The key thing about each of those measures is that they are focused on what customers really care about.

The result? Profits soared!

What happens when you start to measure the things that matter most to your clients? You start to predict (and control) the future success of your business.

What are your equivalent “client experience” KPIs?


Some thoughts on Marketing

Finding more, higher value, more profitable clients is one of the key challenges for advice businesses in today’s market. Indeed, probably the most common question I get asked during my work with advisers is “How can we attract more HNW clients?” The days of working with anyone who can fog a mirror are disappearing due to the costs of running an advisory business. Whilst low touch, technology based propositions will allow advisers to operate profitably in the mass market, genuine face to face relationship driven advice will need to generate significant revenue per client to be profitable.

In my view, successful marketing starts with recognising that your business exists solely for the purpose of making a positive difference to the lives of your clients rather than just to make money for you. Your marketing activity has to clearly communicate what that positive difference is in a clear and compelling way. It also has to create a perception in the minds of potential clients that your service is both distinctive and valuable.

Many advisers I come across have no clear marketing strategy or plan and much of the marketing activity they undertake is poorly targeted and somewhat sporadic, perhaps only receiving any real focus when there’s a need to generate revenue. Marketing is like farming… it takes time. You can’t expect instant results. You have to plough, sow and tend the fields before you can harvest the crops. Many advisers start “marketing” and don’t sustain the activity either because other priorities come along or they feel their marketing isn’t working.

Understanding the needs of your niche and where and how to find them, packaging up your services in a compelling way and getting your message out in a consistent and sustained way using a variety of strategies and tactics are the marketers equivalent of ploughing, sowing and tending.

Marketing is about deliberately creating and maintaining relationships with clients and prospects. How do you create those relationships? The same way you create and maintain any relationship: by what you say and what you do.

Where do you find all these prospects and how do you reach them?  Well they are just people living their lives and doing their jobs, so you’ll find them doing what they usually do, day in day out;

  • At home
  • At work
  • Meeting in their clubs or professional organisations
  • At seminars and conferences, listening to someone speak
  • Reading their mail
  • On the phone
  • Reading the newspaper or their preferred professional journal

So write to them, call them on the phone, write an article for the magazine they read, give a talk at an event they’ll be at, join their clubs and go to meetings. Marketing isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t need to be expensive. But it is a discipline.

It takes time, energy and some creativity and it does need consistent and sustained activity. If you aren’t going to be able to sustain it, don’t start in the first place.


Delivering an Outstanding Client Experience – Part 9

In our final video of the series I explore whether it’s possible to measure something that seems so intangible as “client experience” and provide an simple but effective framework and formula for doing so.


Delivering an Outstanding Client Experience – Part 8

In this, the penultimate video in our 9 part series on delivering an outstanding client experience, I explore the role that outsourcing can play in helping you stay focused on delighting your clients, including the 4 keys to building successful relationships with your outsourced service providers.


Delivering an Outstanding Client Experience – Part 7

In this video, part 7 of our 9 part series on delivering an outstanding client experience, I explore the importance of employee engagement in delivering outstanding client service, and the strategies you need to keep your people focused on doing just that.


Delivering an Outstanding Client Experience – Part 6

In this, the 6th video of our 9 part series on how advisers and planners can deliver an outstanding client experience that will build client loyalty and trust, I examine the 4 key behaviours that build trust in the adviser/client relationship.


Delivering an Outstanding Client Experience – Part 5

In the fifth part of our specially commissioned series of videos of how advisers and planners can deliver a first class client experience, I explore why regular reviews are key to building profitable long term client relationships.


Delivering an Outstanding Client Experience – Part 4

In this, the 4th of our 9 part video series for financial advisers and planners on delivering an outstanding client experience, I explore the concept of developing and mapping the “client journey” through the advice process.