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Accelerent Breakfast Featured Dr. Chip Bell on Being Truly Customer Focused

Today’s customers have redefined “value.” They now assume they will get a quality product at a reasonable price. The experience is the most important thing. It’s the experience that is the differentiator that will cause them to tell a story about you to others.

Over 250 area business leaders gathered this morning at Chateau Luxe to connect on a business level and to learn about “Leading a Customer-Centric Operation” from Dr. Chip Bell, a customer-focused strategy expert and best-selling author.

Accelerent is the area’s leading business development organization. Benefit Commerce Group is the Title Sponsor of this organization.

Dr. Bell stated that 75% of people will say they are “satisfied” with the product or service. But satisfaction isn’t enough to make them loyal. You need to give them an experience that is worthy of story-telling.

EEEEE! ‘Oh, the stories they will tell….”

How do you make your customers your advocates, your story-tellers?  Dr. Bell outlined 5 Es:

Enchant – Create a unique experience.

  • Many hotels leave a mint on the pillow. Kimpton changes what they leave on the pillow: flower, yo-yo, etc.

Enlist – Make your customers feel a sense of inclusion.

  • Starbucks: customers came up with pumpkin spice latte and the idea of WiFi in all stores.
  • The question you should ask all customers and employees is: “What do you think?”

Enlighten – Help your customers learn and grow. Provided them new and helpful information.

  • Embed learning in your services.

Ease — Make it physically and emotionally easy for the customer; unburden the customer.

  • Disney reminds people what lot they’re in 3 times when they leave the parking lot: the parking lot attendant, signage, the tram driver.  They don’t want the last memory to be looking for your car.
  • Look for ways to see through your customers’ eyes and manage that experience.

Engrave (Inspire) – Be sure that who you are is reflected in every detail.

  • Disney World built the castle first because it creates the magic. They don’t change the rides very often, but they make sure who they are and what they do matches.
  • Southwest: We’re not in the airline business; we’re in the customer service business.  We just happen to be an airline.

Dr. Bell related one story that has doubtless been told and retold many times over. It illustrates many of these principles:

A man arrived at a hotel, and the bellman met him at the car, introduced himself, and said he’d escort him to his room.  The bellman asked questions, informed the guest about things that have changed, identified buildings and landmarks. As he left, the bellman gave the customer a business card with his cell number.  The customer gave the bellman a big tip and later talked to the manager to tell him how impressed he was.  The manager said, “Our bellmen don’t have business cards.”  A week later, that bellman was now in charge of the bell stand and every bellman had business cards.

Dr. Chip Bell has helped many Fortune 100 companies dramatically enhance their bottom lines and marketplace reputations through innovative customer-centric strategies that address the needs of today’s picky, fickle, vocal customers.

As he pointed out, it starts with having leaders who trust. If you want people to do unique enchanting things, you need to trust your employees.

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Scott Wood: On attracting & retaining employees      

In introductory remarks at the event, Scott Wood, Managing Partner and Principal of Benefit Commerce Group (BCG), talked about BCG’s mission to help employers find solutions to rising costs and increased competition for employees.

“The elephant in the room for many employers right now is how to attract and retain a strong workforce with the headwind of rising costs for employee benefits,” Scott said.

In the last 5 years, there has been an average 22% increase in premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance.

“Employers have absorbed some of that cost, but worker contributions on average increased 13% from 2016 to 2021,” Scott pointed out. “The only way to successfully deal with this headwind is to have a strategy: a short-term strategy for the coming year and a long-term strategy to provide sustainability.

“At BCG, we are constantly monitoring the marketplace, reviewing options and developing new solutions,” he said. “It’s not always the ‘new shiny objects’ that are the best solutions. That’s why we conduct actuarial and financial analyses to gauge the real impact of changes, both for the employer and the employees. And that is why we succeed in saving money while enhancing benefits and engagement for our clients.”