Will This Be The Year of Customer?
Any time someone learns that my specialty is customer satisfaction and retention, they immediately rhyme off a list of companies that need my service, along with a litany of grievances about how those companies have treated them.
Despite the attention that customer service, satisfaction and retention has received over the past 25 plus years, it appears that customer care hasn’t really improved. As someone who has devoted her career to helping companies create strong bonds with their customers, I am discouraged by the fact that so many companies are failing to meet their customers’ expectations.
Companies recognize that positive customer experiences are of utmost importance. Customer feedback provides solid insight to what the customer is experiencing and how to make that experience positive. Virtually every company has some form of customer feedback system so, it cannot be that customers have no opportunities to be heard. And, with so many feedback systems in place, it cannot be that companies lack awareness of customer issues.
Why are we not making more progress in this area? Where is the point of failure?
I have observed that companies focusing on “scores” or “ratings” (e.g., NPS or CustomerSat), rather than on the insights customer feedback provides, are less successful at retaining their customers. Customers become cynical about spending time on customer satisfaction surveys when they see no improvement in the service they receive. This creates another issue as customers cease to provide feedback, and as the responding population shrinks, the measures become less and less representative of all customers.
I have observed that companies systematically measuring customer perceptions of service excellence, focusing on what the company is both willing and able to change, engaging their customers in identifying solutions and taking swift action to resolve customer issues, are better able to deliver positive customer experiences, meet customer expectations and create competitor-resistant relationships.
Where does your company focus its attention? Is this the year that you will decide to change your perspective on customer feedback? Will you listen to the customers who take time to provide feedback and focus on improving the customer experience rather than on “scores”? Will you implement processes to address customer concerns immediately and completely?
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The Dunvegan Group works with B2B companies to improve customer retention using The Platinum Rule®, “Treat other people the way they want to be treated.” Learn more about our solution.
Anne Miner founded The Dunvegan Group in 1987 as a full-service marketing research consulting firm. Under her leadership, the company has adapted to changes in the markets, advances in technology, and economic ups and downs. The firm developed its own processes, metrics, and software to support the services it delivers to Business-to-Business corporations, as well as smaller companies, including start-ups. The company serves clients across North America and around the world as they thrive and grow through serving their own customers according to the insights customers provide.