The economic meltdown is hurting lots of companies and their people. For many, this is the first taste of a severe economic downturn. The lessons being learned by everyone going through this phase are often lessons that need not have been learned for the first time.
Probably the first lesson that should already be ingrained is the paramount importance of taking care of customers. Keeping an existing customer is much more profitable than acquiring a new one; consequently protecting an intact customer base is critical. A Google search
shows 42 million links pointing to various sites offering information on customer satisfaction. Yet any consumer can tell you of a wide range of negative customer experiences in the market.
Customer satisfaction is hard to define and yet easy to understand. Only the customer's perception matters. Even if that expectation is unreasonable.
Whereas one customer will tell three people about satisfaction, the same customer will tell multiples of that number about dissatisfaction. Think about the last time you sat around chatting with friends - at least one person spoke about a poor consumer experience.
It is important to use an independent third party for customer satisfaction monitoring because when employees intercept negative feedback they often hide it from decision makers. That does not protect the business.
A customer satisfaction application can be implemented quite easily. For example, once a feedback form has been set up, you can drive customers to provide feedback through hyperlinks on your website and invoices. Phone calls to a customer could also ask for feedback. Indeed, every touch point for a customer should offer an opportunity to provide feedback. Your customers will realize that they matter. You can even ensure that the feedback is directed to the appropriate decision maker, using an online solution. The person can then respond in minutes. The customer providing the feedback will likely be astounded at the prompt follow up and resolution. Your company will be suitably discussed among friends as customer centric and forward thinking.
Increasing competition is forcing businesses to pay much more attention to satisfying customers. Customer satisfaction is a key differentiator and increasingly has become a key element of business strategy. There is a substantial body of empirical literature that establishes the benefits of customer satisfaction for firms.
The old adage is true - Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.
If you are interested in learning more about this subject, or discussing its applicability to your company, please contact David Levy
, or Addison directly via e-mail
or phone him at 858-536-9900.