The Customer Experience:
Not What It Used to Be

Leaders seem to forget that their human assets make or break a customer’s experience.

“Interpersonal interaction, though sometimes not the top reason for making a purchase, is almost always the reason for not repurchasing.” ~ Marshall Goldsmith, Don Brown and Bill Hawkins, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There in Sales!: How Successful Salespeople Take It to the Next Level, (McGraw-Hill, 2011).

Creating a positive experience for customers is every employee’s job, including those who work outside the sales department. Even if you have limited customer contact, your ability to influence and persuade others builds a foundation for effective interpersonal communications that lead to business success.

Unfortunately, training often overlooks key interpersonal skills for influencing others. There’s not enough attention to the way the customer experience has changed in the last decade. I see this in the people I coach and work with. In conversations, I’ve found that many leaders fail to understand that:

  • Customer expectations for the sales experience have increased.
  • Customers enjoy a broader, more competitive selection of products and services.
  • Companies are falling short on customer-relationship communications by over-relying on technology and outsourcing.
  • There is often misalignment between sales and service.
  • The pace of customer response is accelerating, yet salesperson ramp-up is longer, more costly and more difficult.
  • Workers are stressed by rising targets and quotas, but have access to fewer resources.
  • Customers define value both rationally and emotionally, yet less than 25 percent of salespeople are deemed proficient in core selling competencies.

We can’t assume that what has worked before for customer communications will continue to be successful. And if your company outsources for customer services, there needs to be recognition of the changing nature of the customer experience. Communications need to reflect the changing nature of customer experiences.

Sending the wrong message to customers can cost dearly. Just ask Netflix. How can your conversations with customers be improved? Are you getting the training you need? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment.

(Image by Stuart Miles,

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