Fear Defines the Customer Experience


Customer Experience

Anyone in the roles of sales, implementation and support has probably experienced the angry, disappointed customer due to a poor implementation. The poor implementation is probably due to un-met expectations.

Expectations (deliverables) can include software features, functionality, delivery dates, costs and other. So, in the lessons learned process, everyone asks “what went wrong?”  What do you think? In my experience, the answer usually falls upon the sales process and the final statement of work (SOW). Unrealistic goals and deliverables were included in the SOW. But that takes me right back to “why?” Why do we sell “futures” in software? Why do we include data standardization, integrations, delivery milestones and related, that everyone, internally, knows just won’t happen.

From my experience, it’s FEAR! Fear plays far too big a role in the sales process. Fear of not achieving quotas, revenue projections and fear of losing jobs…

Now let’s look at this from another perspective. Based on your respective research material, reference-able sales close at a rate at around 80%. All other sales activities deliver at about 5%. Now compare the cost of reference-able sales to all other sales activities. Now look at related hard costs and soft costs. Now include the impact on moral, industry reputation, ability to hire good staff, etc…

You can certainly spend a great deal of time and resources on evaluating and quantifying your customer feed-back questionnaires, but at the heart of good business is the positive customer experience. Talking to your project managers and customer support representatives is usually the best place to get immediate insight into status on customer relationships. They will tell you how difficult or easy managing each customer is. The information is going to be very raw, but the most honest. As a manager, you should be able to understand and translate the feedback from these departments and assess where areas for improvement exist, if at all. This will give you the direction required to apply the corrective actions if necessary.

Kevin Williams, CDIA+


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