The 7 Deadly Sins Of Customer Engagement - Proteus Leadership
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The 7 Deadly Sins Of Customer Engagement

Despite the innovation and resourcefulness of entrepreneurial organisations, they can also fall victim to the 7 deadly sins of customer engagement.

1. Not defining the customer experience, vision, and strategy

Often caused by a lack of executive commitment to the customer, many organisations fall victim to the sin of not having a clearly defined customer experience, vision, and strategy. How can any organisation hope to be the best in their industry on customer engagement without knowing and detailing exactly what they want their customers to experience? Best-in-class organisations not only define their desired customer experience, they actually test it through ‘undercover customers’ such as mystery shoppers.

2. Not apologising when something goes wrong

It is reasonable to say that even the best organisations make mistakes. The best way to retain customers when something goes wrong is to take accountability and apologise; this is the first of a proven three-step process to follow when something goes wrong with a customer.

3. Not reassuring the customer that the mistake won’t happen again

Related to step one above, the second step of client retention when something goes wrong is to reassure the customer that the error won’t happen again, clearly explaining exactly what measures were put in place to avoid a similar reoccurrence.

4. Not giving any restitution after making a mistake

The last of the three aforementioned steps of customer retention is the most critical; it is simply giving something back to accommodate for the inconvenience the mistake has caused the customer. The sin of not giving restitution is unfortunately quite common because it requires the company to dig into its pocketbook.

Tearing up a large customer invoice is not an easy thing to do, but it is the right thing to do. The result will be retaining that customer’s business for years to come.

Follow this three step process when mistakes happen with customers and you will retain the majority of your customers and the related revenue they generate for your organisation. These customers will also become the best promoters of your brand, resulting in new referral revenue.

5. Not asking for customer feedback

Shockingly, only 20% of organisations have an ongoing system for getting feedback from customers, such as customer surveys. Consequently, many businesses do not get any validation of what they are doing well or potential areas for improvement. There is no doubt that these organisations are missing out on product innovations, as some of the best innovations are thought of by users or customers.

6. Not listening to customer feedback

Drop the ‘me-thinking‘.

It is not about you, it is about your customer. Try and adopt ‘outside-in thinking’; that is, viewing your business and decisions through your customer’s eyes.

Do you really know who your customers are? Do you fully understand their needs and pain points? What challenges are they trying to solve? How are they attempting to solve these challenges? How do they feel about you and your approach to helping them? All of these questions are imperative to answer and you will only find the answers if you are truly listening.

Does your company have a culture that encourages listening to customers or a culture of discounting customer feedback as ‘complaints’? The truth is that some of the most valuable feedback will come in the form of a polite ‘complaint’. Never forget, it is the sand in the oyster that creates the pearl.

7. Not acting on customer feedback

Needless to say, just listening to your customers won’t help you to deliver ‘best-in-class’ customer experiences.

You must act on their feedback in order to make tangible progress with customer experience and business outcomes. It is also very important to bring it full circle by communicating to your customers what changes you have made as a direct result of their feedback. If you don’t, your customer will never get the full sense of feeling valued.

Keep in mind that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than retain an existing one; this fact underscores the need to cherish and nurture existing customer relationships and experiences. You cannot afford to lose them.

By Kevin Sheridan
Published with permission from the International Institute of Directors and Managers (IIDM) –


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

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