Don’t Let Acquisition Be Your Only Customer Growth Metric

In my Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.

Today’s video is an excerpt from a keynote speech, The 5 Leadership Competencies of Beloved Companies, which I recently presented at Cult the Gathering

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.

Beloved companies do a set of deliberate things to be the kind of company that customers want to be a part of, and employees can’t wait to be a part of. The thing about the beloved companies is that they think about the world differently. They start with the life of the customer and not with the silos.

Unfortunately, in many of our organizations, we walk through spreadsheets and we talk about sales or our corporate assets, but the conversation should really be a very simple metric that starts with, “As a result of the experience we delivered this past month or quarter or year did all of us, did we all earn the right to growth?”

Did You Honor Your Customer?

It’s really nothing more than doing simple customer math, but a lot of companies around the world aren’t doing this. We tend to simply ring the bell of the incoming sales without thinking about those who’ve left. So, for every key meeting we want to give leaders this fearless, simple metric of our ability to earn this and grow this asset.

But ask yourself, “did we bring in more customers than we lost?” What is your volume and value of incoming customers? I want you to use the whole number because the reason for the whole number and not the retention rate is because I want you to think of the life of the human. We brought in 35,000 people into our business. They cared to step through our doors, but in this same period we lost 25,000 and here is their value. If you don’t do the math, you’re looking at retention rates and you’re not thinking about the lives that left your company for a reason.

And the other thing that’s important about this is the why. We need to care about the why. This is about honoring the life. There are things that we’ve done inadvertently across the stages of the journey with the customer that caused them to leave because we didn’t honor who they were.

There are things that we've done inadvertently across the stages of the journey with the customer that caused them to leave because we didn't honor who they were. #CustomerExperience #LearningLessons Click To Tweet

Don’t Let Acquisition be Your Only Customer Growth Metric

In general, getting everybody in the organization to agree on what is new, is powerful. Then, to get everybody to agree with what is gone, or lost or lapsed, and why—is important as well. When you can sell every part of the organization fearlessly as a result of the experience we delivered, “Here’s how we did or did not earn the right to grow. We increased or we grew this customer base, which we all as a united organization must work together to earn,” and that, changes everything.

So, let’s start with what customers actually did; they voted with their feet and their money. Now, we introduced this concept to AAA many years ago, we did something like this because people are very visual learners. We introduced two huge bowls of marbles to them and the first bowl of marbles, we did a mathematical equation of the incoming customers’ volume and value. And then the second bowl of marbles was their lost customers volume and value. At that time, many years ago, their lost customer bowl of marbles was equal to the new customers bowl of marbles. What you now see as a marketer, as an organization is you are losing as many customers as you’re bringing in.

By doing this activity, you see that your growth rate is not what you think it is. If you’re only looking at acquisition as your success metric, you’re not connecting the dots to what you have to do as an organization to create that experience; the experience for customers to want to stay around.

If you're only looking at acquisition as your success metric, you're not connecting the dots to what you have to do as an organization to create that experience; the experience for customers to want to stay around. #CX Click To Tweet

Treat Your Customers As Assets

All of this brings me to my first competency, it’s an attitude shift; it’s not a dashboard. You have to treat your customers as your assets. This is about one or two or three behavioral things that you, as leaders, start the conversation of telling the tale of your customer’s life. In this past quarter, did we earn the right to grow? It drives and embeds caring about the why. Why did they leave? Why didn’t they stay? Why didn’t they buy more?

Everything that I teach in these competencies requires you to think about operational actions. You’ll see there’s data configuration. But it’s also about creating the cadence of how leaders communicate and how leaders communicate in a consistent way. And all of the beloved companies are talking about this and your role is to create that language, to unite the data to create the conversation so people care about the why.


How far are you in embedding the 5 competencies?

This audit walks your organization through the five competencies to build your customer-driven growth engine; highlighting key actions, tactics and behaviors that should be occurring when they are embedded and functional in driving business operations and customer-driven growth.

You can use this audit in the beginning of your role to engage leaders and your operational silos and to educate them on the five competencies. Using this audit in a workshop setting is very powerful, and something we often do at the beginning of coaching. As you know, what comprises a customer experience transformation needs to be clarified and agreed to, so you can use this as both an audit and communication tool.


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