Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Creating Loyal Growth – Part 2

By Pablo J. Perez, Executive and Corporate Team Coach
Have you ever washed a rental car? This is a question I ask of managers and leaders of traditional businesses or non-for-profits, and 99% of the time the answer is a smile and a “no.” The sense of ownership has a direct link with loyalty, and loyalty has a direct link with business growth. In other words, if your customers and employees are willing to “wash the rental car” (the organization), then the chances of developing sustainable profitability are high.

If the reason for an organization to be in business centers on their customers or the community they serve, in order to achieve organizational success, the leadership team should assume the following critical functions as it relates to their customers:

• Develop a customer-oriented strategy
• Design and implement customer-friendly policies and processes
• Develop employees’ skills
• Monitor and improve processes on the issues that are defined as most important to the customer.

The customer is now the center of the business universe. Everything in the organization should rotate around increasing customer retention and having the right interaction with our customers, with the sole objective of creating loyal growth.

According to Barbara Glanz’s Human Business Model, whether you are serving employees as a leader or a manager or are serving a customer, you always have choices. There are two levels in any interaction that we have:the business level, which is focused on achieving external objectives and goals a specific person has, and the human level, which is all about how people feel during that interaction. Most of the training we have received is focused on creating interactions at a business level, but we have received little training on the human level interaction.

At the human level is where customer loyalty grows. According to the statistics, a 5% increase in customer retention consistently resulted in a 25-100% increase in profits. This unbelievable result is consequence of a powerful force created by the emotional connection to your customers.

Organizations invest a lot of money developing products and services to compete in the marketplace and also design and implement customer service strategies to provide support and generate customer satisfaction. Nowadays, customer satisfaction is synonymous with mediocrity. Using a grading system, satisfaction could easily translate into a “C” on a report card. When customers receive more value than they expected, then the grade rises to an “A,” which always equates to loyal customers.

If we draw the diagram of every Point of Connection that a potential customer has with the organization from before the sale is made to after the delivery of the product or service, we would be able to visualize the total buying process. We need to provide all customers with the level of value and emotional support they expect at every Point of Connection.

Every Point of Connection is an opportunity to connect emotionally with your customer and be sure they are receiving the value as they define it. It is an opportunity to interact at the human level generating the emotional contact that will make them come back and bring their family and friends.

If you are a business owner, or you are leading a business unit or a whole organization, in order to effectively manage Points of Connection; I want to encourage you to follow these steps:

Identify all Points of Connection between your customers and your company.
Once they are identified, you must understand what value your customer is looking for in each Point of Connection.
If there is a gap between the value your customer is expecting and what currently exists, then it is management’s job to put in place proper employee development and process improvement to eliminate the gap.

If you want more information about the three above-mentioned steps to create loyal growth in your business, or you are interested in implementing a customer loyalty strategy for your organization, please call (305) 722-7215, or you may also send me an e-mail at

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Creating Loyal Growth – Part I

By Pablo J. Perez, Executive and Corporate Team Coach
The formula to achieve profitable organic growth should be as simple as attracting, developing and keeping profitable customers. Companies spend an important part of their budgets in marketing and advertising with the purpose of attracting new customers; however, keeping and developing your customers are the result of having a solid and aligned organizational culture.

If your customers can switch to your competition at any time, you should keep reading this article.

In all businesses we have four types of customers:
• New Customers, who receive our biggest investment of attention and time;
• Current Customers, to who we have been providing services for a period of time, giving us a “safe” feeling;
• Past Customers, people who no longer are doing business with us;
• Future Customers, who will do business with us in the future.

From the list above, who is your most important customer? I know the answers will vary; however, let’s focus on the Past Customers – those that decided to stop doing business with us.

The federal government carried out a research program and to find out why customers stop doing business with a company. The research discovered that:
• 3% move away.
• 5% develop friendships or business alliances with other companies.
• 9% go out of business.
• 14% leave because of quality issues.
• The other 68% don't like the way they are treated.

As you can see from the above, the last two reasons make up 82% of the total lost business and both of these reasons are avoidable. Now you might assume these customers were unsatisfied. However, maybe they were not loyal. Or maybe they were both?

Is customer satisfaction equal to customer loyalty? Definitely not. A satisfied customer may keep doing business with you but will not create profitable organic growth for your company. A loyal customer will bring to your company not only her or his business, but will refer you business from family and friends.

Research prepared by Accenture concludes that customers who are highly satisfied for the most part are willing to switch providers if the incentive is right.

% Indicating Would
Reason to Leave Switch Provider
Any reason 87%
Lower price 79%
More reliable/better service 58%
Better products 47%
Offers suited to my needs 6%
Access to a real person 36%
More product choices 27%
Rewards program 29%
More accurate billing 22%

However, according to the same research, these are the actions loyal customers are likely to take:

Continue purchasing .........81%
Recommend the company to others ...........74%
Respond to specials ........51%
Provide direct positive feedback ...........38%
Provide personal endorsement .........31%
Share information with company for improved products and services ........20%

Most consumers believe good customer service should be a core competency of the companies with which they do business. Today, they need to receive more than good customer service to become loyal to your business.

Customer satisfaction surveys are useless in terms of creating loyal customers. 95% of dissatisfied customers will not participate in any survey. They just leave and never come back. Another thing you have to remember is that 8 out of 10 of those people who go away will bad-mouth you. They will tell somewhere between 25 and 250 people that they had a problem with your company, and they will actually enjoy saying it. It's your job to keep that from happening.

Customer loyalty is based on four elements: price, service, trust, and emotion.

On “Creating Loyal Growth – Part 2” I will describe in more details these four elements.

To discuss how I can help your organization to develop loyal customers for your organization, please call (305) 722-7215, or you may also send me an e-mail at

Friday, March 7, 2008

Make 2008 Your Best Year Ever..Until 2009

By Pablo J. Perez, Executive and Corporate Team Coach

If you listen carefully to the talk of the town, you will notice that recession is in the air. People talk about the stock market, the real estate slowdown, oil prices, the presidential election, etc. And I wonder, is a recession a negative economic growth or is the accrual of people’s negative thoughts? Aren’t we responsible for the outcome of our business and personal activities? Are we talking about possibilities instead of negativities?

Two thousand and eight could be your best year ever, but you need to have the courage to take action to get there. Be ready to use the resources you already have to do a better job of what you are doing.

In his book “Leadership an Art of Possibilities”, Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic says that the new leader’s job is recognizing the downward spiral and enrolling people in the journey to radiating possibility.

There are 5 ways you can change the outcome of your business and personal life:

1. Never say never again. How many times have you restrained yourself from doing something because you listened to the voice of the little fellow on your shoulder telling you “you will fail again” or “don’t even try it” or “you can’t do it”. You MUST stop listening to your negative inner voice, substituting it for positive thoughts about success. Remember, “Luck” is where opportunity and preparation meet. When you met your spouse or your partner, where you planning meeting her or him that day? Successful people are always open to new opportunities and ready to say yes.

2. Talk about obsession and no recession. Don’t participate in negative conversations about the future. Change the subject and start talking about how well your business is doing and the things you are doing different. Talk about today.

Be obsessed with your success making reference to your vision and dreams during your conversations with co-workers, family and friends, allowing them to be aligned with your positive thoughts.

3. Change your perspective. Don’t stare at the picture from the same spot. You have to come out to where you are and watch your life and organization from a different perspective. Stop your day-to-day activities and take some time to look at the obstacles and impediments from a different point of view. Invite your team members to do the same thing. If you change your perspective from time to time, the questions you ask will be different and so will the answers you get.

4. Create power around you. Abraham Lincoln said “You see what power is - holding someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them!” You create power through your actions and your reactions. Every interaction in your life should be a deposit to your power account. Create empathy with your people and put yourself in other person’s shoes, caring about their personal and professional growth.

5. Speak possibilities. Do you have a roadmap to your success? Do you have variable solutions to your obstacles? If not, act now! Explore your possibilities. When you speak possibilities you are sending a positive message to the world around you, asking for success instead of failure. You are creating your own future today by opening your mind to new things.

List your dreams for this year, and draw the roadmap to get there, and you will see how many new possibilities appear in front of you.

Make 2008 the best year of your life..until 2009 which will be even better!

As an Executive and Corporate Team Coach, I help people use their resources and skills to do a better job, watching the picture from a different perspective. For more information, please review our website at, call Pablo J. Perez at (305) 722-7215, or send an e-mail to

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is Training Only For Pets?

By Pablo J. Perez, Executive and Corporate Team Coach

Is your company expending money on training without expecting a ROI? Is the budget expended on training strengthening the employees’ skills allowing them to grow personally and professionally?

There is a difference between training and development. In many circumstances, due to the misinterpretation of these terms, companies expend tons of money providing training to executives and managers who already have the skills and the knowledge, when what they really need is to develop those skills to their maximum potential

Most organizations, when seeking new employees, invest money in newspaper ads, headhunters, job fairs, internet posting to attract and hire those candidates who already have the knowledge and the skills to do the job.

However, does that knowledge or those skills make them successful? How many times have you met individuals with degrees from top schools who can not reach professional success?

Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching; on the other hand, development teaches you how to become more productive and effective at work and how to maintain focus on what really counts in all aspects of your life. In other words, training provides the skill, development maximizes it.

When you invest money in developing your employees, you are helping them use the resources that they have to do a better job. While you have them together in the team arena, you have the opportunity to get them to discover things that they would have never discovered in their day-to-day work.

As you strengthen the individual members of the team, the team gets strengthened. As the team gets strengthened, you will see that the organization gets strengthened.
When we develop people through coaching, the tools we use are different from those we apply when we provide training. Those tools are centered on:

  • Attitudes and habits
  • Skills, not technical skills, but the soft skills, the personal skills: things like communication, time management, decision-making, problem-solving, etc.
  • Goal-setting and goal achievement
  • Purpose

Once those tools are applied in the proper way, attitudes and habits turn positive, time strategies are put in place, productivity increases, goal-setting turns into goal achievement, and the feeling of success brings the team members a balance in their personal life and professional careers.

Going back to the article’s title: Is training only for pets? In my opinion no, it is not. Training and education are the main structure of the temple of knowledge, and when we decide to invest in professional and personal development, we are fortifying the temple.

If the most important asset in your organization is your people, and they were hired because of the quality of the skills and knowledge they brought to the company, it is time to think about developing their skills to their maximum potential to propel your organization’s organic growth.

As an Executive and Corporate Team Coach, I provide the tools and methodologies to accelerate team performance. For more information, please review our website at, call Pablo J. Perez at (305) 722-7215, or send an e-mail to

Some Reference and excerpts were taken from Coaching Corporate Teams by David Herdlinger.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Customer Loyalty: Priceless

By Pablo J Perez, Executive and Corporate Team Coach

Last summer, during a deserved break from my coaching activities, I decided to spend four days with my family at a beautiful resort on the west coast of Florida. The experience was “ok”, except for the speed of the checking-in and out processes, pool services and other services. In a nutshell, overall service was satisfactory but not memorable. If asked, I would relate to the resort that “I was a satisfied customer”.

However, would I stay at this resort in the future? Would I recommend the resort to my family and friends? The answers to both these questions are a resounding “no.” In conclusion, I was a “satisfied” customer but not a “loyal” customer.

According to Jeffrey Gitomer of Customer Satisfation is Worthless: Customer Loyalty is Priceless, “Satisfaction is not longer the acceptable measurement of Customer service success”. The Gallup Organization’s research also concludes that no matter how an organization thinks its customers are satisfied, if it hasn’t made an emotional connection with its customers to develop a long-term relationship, satisfaction will ultimately be worthless.

During my summer experience, there lacked an emotional connection with the resort, resulting in a loss of desire to return to the resort.
Great customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers.
Customers will come back and will bring family and friends to do business with you, if:
1. The “emotion” experienced at every “point of connection” during the buying process is so strong that it leaves a mark on their memories.
2. The relationship is based on “trust”. Customer will seek your personal assistance, and they are willing to pay for it.
3. They feel you really care about their needs. Always put your Customer’s interests and needs ahead of yours.
Here are some statistics
• A typical dissatisfied customer will tell 6-10 people about the problem. A typical satisfied customer will tell 1-2 people.
It costs 6 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one.
• Of those customers who quit, 68% do so because of an attitude of indifference by the company or a specific individual.
• About 7 of 10 complaining customers will do business with you again if you resolve the complaint in their favor.
• If you resolve a complaint on the spot, 95% of customers will do business with you again.

What happens to angry customers?

• 91% of any business's angry customers will never come back.
• 96% will never tell you the reason that they left.
• 80% will do business with you again if their problem was handled quickly and to their satisfaction.

If the problem was quite bad, they will tell stories about it for years and years to come.

"Who is typically to blame when you lose a customer?" Most customer service providers will answer that it is the customer's fault! (and here is the scariest percentage) .. 99% of the time that customer service provider only needs to look in the mirror to see who is truly at fault!”

From a scale of 1-10, how likely are your Customers to recommend your organization to someone else? If your answer is below 7 or you don’t know the answer, it is time to think about developing a Customer Loyalty Strategy to start creating the “emotion” not only on your External Customer but also on the Internal ones (employees).

If you want to learn more details about our Customer Loyalty Development Program and how valuable for your organization it might be, please review our website at, call Pablo J. Perez at (305)722-7215 or send an e-mail to

Reference and excerpts taken with permission from Customer Loyalty by Resource Associates Corporation.