The statistics and studies tell us that customers are becoming increasingly disloyal. The data tell us that their expectations, too, have been growing over time. Are we keeping up?
For example, when suppliers encourage their customers to complain about their problems with a product or service, they better get it right the first time: if it isn’t handled well, their loyalty will drop by 20% and they’ll tell up to 280 people about their dissatisfaction.
This 20-minute talk is geared for business owners, high level professionals and executives who are interested in learning about the new world of customer retention, loyalty and satisfaction.
We find ourselves in an age where customers have lots of information; plenty of choices and a number of ways for “talking back.” We are not geared for dealing with that reality and we must construct new methods and systems.
What we cover:
Three major questions that I’m concerned with for my clients and think they should be concerned with for their own business are:
Setting: most of the time, we’re too busy, or too scared to ask our customers “how are we doing.” So, we don’t ask because we’re afraid that it might “wake the sleeping giant” or they might be unkind to us. Without a clear goal, we try hitting a target that we don’t know and we spend a lot of resources in the process.
Among some of the changes: customers are completing 60% of the purchasing process before they arrive at the doorstep of their potential supplier.
From Dan Pink we learn that we have entered a market that has been transformed from “Buyer Beware” to “Seller Beware.” Buyers, now, are armed with lots of information, have many choices available to them and have multiple mechanisms for “talking back.” 64% of customers leave because they “don’t feel valued.” And, those who do stay are less loyal than they were ten years ago.
This new order calls, not only, for a new style of selling but a new way of taking care of customers and their problems: we need to better understand why they buy from us and why they leave.
The new, digital age is impacting customer expectations in a disruptive way: without the data, we are at a loss to perform in a way that’s cost effective to the company and still meets customers’ expectations.
Customer Satisfaction measurement devices that were, once, helpful — like the “Net Promoter Score” (at right) — are less relevant, if at all. We’re in a new land of measurement and assessment that is in flux so we need to innovate even when it comes to appraising the supplier / customer relationship.
Contrary to some thinking, the data show that going “over the top” has declining returns: exceeding customer expectations does not increase, measurably, their level of loyalty. (See chart above.) On the other side of the coin, we’re finding it’s in our best interest to encourage unhappy customers to complain but to do it with us!
Finally, we’ve learned that traditional organizational structures — hierarchies in particular — hamper companies from taking advantage of new opportunities that come from this shakeup. In an article titled “Limits of Hierarchy in a Faster Moving World,” John Kotter, noted expert on Change Management, shows data that supports this claim.
The landscape is shifting: customers, and their dollars, are moving quickly. They’re better prepared to purchase, have more options and have an ability to influence the market in ways that might be quite disruptive to you, their supplier.
Suppliers have to be more adept at both anticipating shifting customer expectations, and creating an open line of dialogue. The purpose of the communications channel is to not only provide relevant information to the customer but to seek feedback as well.
We provide three prescriptive tasks that can transform customer retention in any organization — from manufacturer to retail service company. These tasks are relatively simple but they do require a degree of courage to consider and implement.
One“take home” is not, repeat not, at all costs, to deliver a high degree of customer satisfaction but to address needs that are important to loyalty and continued repurchasing. A company can go out of business chasing higher customer sat ratings.
George Moskoff is a lively and skilled storyteller. With his feet planted in the world of science (his graduate work was in Biochemistry at the University of Michigan) and his mind in business, he offers a perspective that is unique among his peers because he uses facts and science to build his case.
Spanning more than three decades, Mr. Moskoff’s career has focused on business and management consulting with clients large and small. He has also had endeavors as a techpreneur, social activist, non-profit executive, sales manager and social entrepreneur.
George lives in Santa Rosa, California with his canine companion, Chloe: a good friend and trusted advisor who never says anything derogatory…about anyone.