Category Archives: Customer Experience

Are You a Missionary or Mercenary Leader?

It’s been proven time and time again – a positive customer experience has a direct correlation with financial success. A recent customer satisfaction study showed that two-thirds of customers would be willing to spend more following an excellent customer experience.

When your customers like the experience you deliver they’re more likely to consider you for another purchase and recommend you to others. They’re also less likely to switch their business away to a competitor.

Customer experience has become the new battleground for competitive advantage. The successful organizations of the future will be the ones that create memorable experiences for their customers as opposed to simply completing transactions.

People don’t talk about transactions, they talk about experiences.

How do ICONIC brands like Zappos, Chick-fil-A, Amazon and Disney continue to rise above the rest? According to Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, the secret sauce is in having an “obsessive compulsive focus” on customer over competitor.

Bezos separates CEOs and entrepreneurs leaders into two categories – missionaries and mercenaries of the business world.

The missionary is building the product and building the service because they love the customer, because they love the product, because they love the service.

The mercenary is building the product or service so that they can flip the company and make money. “It’s usually the missionaries who make the most money.” he says.

The only way to win in today’s competitive environment is by:

  • delivering a seamless customer experience
  • making an emotional connection with your customers

Without passionate employees committed to wowing the customer, your brand becomes just another business in a sea of sameness – a commodity. Or you soar above and beyond the competition and become a category of one.

Jeff Bezos is a missionary leader famously obsessed with customers. “Obsessing over customer experience is the only long-term defensible competitive advantage,” Bezos has said.

It’d be hard to argue that Amazon’s compulsive obsession with customers hasn’t proven to be the best pathway to success and creating customer loyalty beyond measure. The iconic brand’s deliberate focus on pleasing its customers, rather than focusing on the bottom line has proved profitable for the company.

Take Amazon Prime for example. Currently, there are more than 100 million Prime members globally. Prime customers spend an average of $1,300 per year, nearly twice that of non-members.

Bezos’ customer obsession even transcends beyond the boardroom into every business decision and corporate meeting. Whether its three people, five people, or 15 people, every Amazon meeting has one extra seat reserved for the customer.

As I’ve always said, the experience your customers receive is a direct result of the work environment you create.

Are you a missionary or mercenary leader? What do your employees see in your daily behavior when you’re interacting with customers?

As a leader, it’s essential that your actions clearly demonstrate to your team that customer (and employee) experience is a priority. It may not require you leaving an empty seat in every meeting but believe me, people mirror and emulate what they see – not what you say.

Calvin Stovall, Keynote Speaker, specializes in delivering high-energy, customized keynote presentations for organizations that desire to reach or maintain ICONIC status. He focuses on delivering the perfect blend of business concepts, story-telling and music themes to bring home an impactful message that touches both the heads and hearts of his audiences. To Book Calvin for your next event click here:

Your Worst Employee is Your Website’s Contact Form- Fire It!

When was the last time you left a voice mail message for a company you were considering doing business with? For example, if you had a leaky faucet and called a plumber, but got their voicemail, would you leave a message? For the vast majority of us, the answer is “No.” We just move on and contact the next vendor on the list. The bigger question is “Why don’t we — or won’t we- leave a message?”

The Three Reasons are:
1. We simply don’t want to wait. We have become accustomed to getting the answers we want when we want them. Whether it is being able to order items online 24-7, or simply asking Alexa or Google Home for the answer to a question. Today we don’t wait for a response. The information is at our fingertips and purchases are available with just one click.

2. There is an almost endless selection of other options available to us. Virtually everyone is good these days because if they weren’t, the marketplace would “out” them in short order. Face it, quality choices abound.

3. We don’t know when, or if, someone will get back to us. The same dynamic exists with your website contact form. The “contact form” is the answering machine of the internet. Nobody wants to fill it out. They want direct contact information to a real person. Get rid of it!

Here is the uncomfortable truth: If the only way for your customers (or prospective customers) to reach a real person at your business is through your website’s contact form, then you need to know that your form is driving away more prospects than your worst employee. It’s costing you a fortune in lost business.

To be clear, I understand why you have a contact form. You want to funnel all your messages to one person or department. You want to capture their contact information. You want to get a sense of what the question or problem is before you return their call. You want to avoid scaring people away with your unpublished price so you have them fill out the form so you can ascertain their needs and have a sales rep call them back to have a real conversation and tailor your solutions to their individual needs. Blah, blah blah.  The reasons go on and on.

The problem is that they are YOUR reasons. News Flash: Your customers don’t care about your reasons and they certainly don’t want to contact you the way you want them to. Your customers want to contact you the way THEY want to. And if you restrict their access or their communication options, you are driving them away — in droves.

The solution: Give them options! Sure, you can have a contact form, but also post a key staff directory with contact options. Give them phone numbers, email addresses and after hours options. I know you are reluctant, but your customers don’t care! Your customers want to connect with a real person. If you won’t let them, then they will contact your competitors. Trust me, it happens millions of times every day. Look! There goes another one!

David Avrin, CSP is a sought-after international speaker on Customer Experience and Marketing. He is the author of the best-selling book: Why Customers Leave (and How to Win Them Back) named by Forbes as:
“One of the 7 Business Books Entrepreneurs Need to Read!” Book David Today: