The Customer Corridor

Recently, I came across something called the Edelman Trust Barometer, published by the public relations firm of the same name. I wasn’t surprised to learn that across the globe, most people trust companies less this year than they did the year before. Imagine that! Leading companies from every sector of the economy have recklessly squandered their most precious asset, the trust of their customers. Customers know that actions speak louder than words, and the actions of many companies have been profoundly lacking.

We are now in a new world where there is an abundance of low hanging fruit for retailers who are willing to differentiate themselves on customer experience. Providing your customers with exceptional experiences is the hardest thing for competitors to imitate. This month, we continue our discussion of becoming truly customer focused by measuring their experiences, and then retuning your service delivery to more effectively meet expectations.

Last month, we discussed two types of customer experience measurement. Relationship measurements look at the whole relationship you have with customers. Transactional measurements are more narrow in scope, and as the name suggests they look at day-to-day encounters with customers. Both types of measurement will help you quantify how your customers perceive you relative to your competitors.

I had an interesting meeting with a very large retailer this month that highlighted the difference between a transactional and relationship issue. Like many retailers, the company purchased a significant amount of fertilizer for last fall and this spring prior to the collapse of prices. Unfortunately, the retailer now has a lot of high-value inventory in a lower-priced market. Our discussions, naturally, turned to the reaction of its customers as the company attempts to capture at least some of the value of its fertilizer product. The fear was that customers are angry and may potentially defect in large numbers.

“Why measure customer experience?” a company representative asked. “We know our customers are upset with us.” It is a good example of the difference between a transactional evaluation of your customer experience and a relational measurement of their experience that spans several years.

Strategically, many retailers are worried in this climate. I suggest that those that who have built deep customer equity based on providing a superior experience will continue to do well, and will likely grow market share at the expense of competitors who have not built customer equity.

Corridor Thinking

Now back to this month’s topic, which is mapping your Customer Corridor. Identifying your customer corridor is a way to see your company from your customer’s perspective. It helps you see what is important to customers and what is not. Properly done, you will identify areas where changes in your service delivery can be made at both the transactional and strategic, i.e., relationship levels. Your customer corridor represents your customer’s end-to-end experience with you during the crop year. Ag retailing is a perfect model for the customer corridor because the cycle repeats itself each year, so once improvement areas are identified they can be implemented for the following season, or perhaps sooner.

AgKnowlogy‘s Plan and Connect workshop helps retailers identify their customer corridor. We believe it is important to involve everyone in the company that touches a customer during the crop year. Getting everybody involved increases the creativity level, and ensures the customer experience is seen from a wide perspective. As you get into the exercise, you will want to be very specific on how you interact with customers. At first, the more detail, the better. You can eliminate and narrow down the corridor as you work on it. In our Customer Experience Monitor, AgKnowlogy works with clients to define the customer corridor that is appropriate for their business. As a suggestion, you might want to look at your service delivery under the headings shown in the diagram. I have included a few customer experiences as examples.

The Net Promoter concept we have been discussing fits seamlessly with the customer corridor. Properly set up, you can start to identify reasons why customers are Promoters, Passives, or Detractors. Remember — the percentage of Promoters within your business is important for several reasons. Most importantly, Promoters are an ongoing source of referrals that will grow your business more reliably than any sales or marketing program. Detractors, on the other hand, are a drain on your income. Measuring customer experience along your customer corridor will identify what experiences create Promoters and which experiences create Detractors.

I promise you this is one of the best things you can do in these uncertain times to differentiate your business, and gain market share from competitors. I wish you the best for the busy spring season.

Leave a Reply

Management Stories

ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Corp. CEO interview
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future Of Agriculture
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Trending Articles
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Wilco
CropLife 100Valley Agronomics, Wilco-Winfield To Form New Agronomy Joint Venture
November 11, 2016
Valley Agronomics LLC, headquartered in Rupert, ID, is a joint venture between Valley Wide Cooperative and Winfield Solutions, LLC. Wilco-Winfield, Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute Issues Statement On The U.S. Elections
November 10, 2016
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn has issued the following statement on the results of the 2016 elections: “TFI Read More
Latest News
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research has announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
ManagementThe Value Of Cooperatives In Modern Agriculture
December 1, 2016
Editor’s Note: Jaxon Mullinnix of  Lone Tree, IA, was recently named the Iowa state winner of the 2017 GROWMARK essay Read More
AGCO Operator of the Year Tony Kornder
SprayersAGCO Names Tony Kornder Operator Of The Year
December 1, 2016
AGCO Corp. names Tony Kornder with Genesis Growing Solutions in Le Sueur, MN, the 11th annual Operator of the Year. Read More
Chris Henney OABA
ManagementOABA Industry Conference To Provide Outlook For Future …
November 29, 2016
The upcoming Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is packed with widely-respected speakers and industry professionals, sharing their expertise on a Read More
Corn
InsecticidesMajor Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk To Aquatic Inv…
November 28, 2016
A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop Read More
EquipmentGSI Details New Grain Drying Efficiency System for Coop…
November 28, 2016
Grain elevators and ag co-ops are always looking for ways to increase their energy efficiency to help improve profitability. For Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
ARA
Eric SfiligojTaking The Industry’s Pulse At ARA
November 28, 2016
When most of you read this particular column, many of the industry’s key folks will probably be spending at least Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls …
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
FertilizerNutrient Management, Conservation Among Topics Covered …
November 23, 2016
Certified crop advisers, consultants, farmers, agribusiness professionals and students will learn more about nutrient management, soil and water conservation, pest Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsa…
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Arysta LifeScience
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Forms Alliance With Beem Biologics
November 21, 2016
As part of its recently announced strategy to become a leader in high-value, high-growth specialty market segments in the crop Read More
DuPont sign
Crop InputsDuPont To End Pension Contribution For Active Employees
November 18, 2016
DuPont will no longer contribute to active employees’ pension plans, a move that will affect the retirement of 13,000 workers, Read More