A customer defection survey by CRMGuru.com now known as Customer Think reinforced what you probably already know. It is much easier to keep a customer happy than to repair bad customer service.
There were 286 members that took the survey indicating that they had chosen to stop doing business with a company.
- 83 percent of those who took the survey said there had been a triggering event.
- 4 percent cited Customer Service as the reason for leaving
- 32 percent pointed to Quality as the reason for defection
- 26 percent cited price as their reason for leaving
According to the survey, very few businesses were successful at winning back the customers.
- 2 % reported that the companies’ efforts at drawing them back were successful.
- 59% said they received no further personal contact from the companies after they ceased doing business with them.
- 24% were contacted by the company after the customer had ended the relationship
- 17% were contacted by the company before they ended the relationship
So how do you start providing better customer service? From the web site Directory Journal I gleaned a few points, but at this site and many more there is lots of sources for learning how to improve your customer service:
Improve Your Communication skills
How you communicate to your customers is just as important as what you communicate. Communicate to your customer that you are an organization that values their business.
Greet your customers
”Put them at ease and make them feel comfortable!” When your customer or prospective customer first walks in or telephones you with an inquiry or order, make him feel welcomed. This sets the tone for the rest of the transaction. If this is the first time with this customer, this is when first impressions can help or hurt, depending on how well you make your customer feel within those first critical moments. If favorable, he’ll continue talking, browsing, or ordering. If unfavorable, you may have lost a customer forever.
”Let me know that you think I’m important!” Customers want to feel special, and to make them feel special your attitude and behavior must say, “You’re the customer–you pay my salary. You make my job possible.” When you value customers, your sincerity makes them feel good about you and your organization. A customer-focused organization is not in business to deliver a product or service, but, instead, is there to enable people to enjoy the benefits of its product or service. The difference is demonstrated by the temporary employment agency that is in business not to fill in job vacancies with temporary personnel, but rather to help their customers enjoy the benefits that their service provides–immediate placement of highly skilled individuals. The difference is subtle, but the effect is not!
Are You Giving Mixed Signals?
Ask how to help your customers
“Find out what I want!” You’ve already gotten a “head start” on that by reviewing customer complaints and other feedback, but it is important to make each customer encounter one that makes them feel special. You do that by trying to understand their needs each time you deal with them, not just their overall needs, but their needs at that particular moment. A desire to genuinely understand your customers’ needs or wants will provide you with the edge you’re looking for. Now, how do you do that? Simply, find out why they came in or contacted you–”So what can I do for you today, Mr. Jones?” Then ask open-ended questions to further understand their needs–”Are you looking for any special features in a briefcase? How often will you be using it?”
Listen to customers
”Please listen to me and understand me!” Listen totally–to your customers words, their tone, their body language. According to a UCLA study on communication, 7% of our communication is verbal, 38% is tone of voice, and 55% is nonverbal. Listening totally will enhance your understanding of what your customer really needs as well as make them feel valued.
”Help me get what I want!” Customers don’t buy products and services for what they are, but, instead, they buy for the benefits that the products and services offer. That’s why you must be customer-focused rather than product- or service-focused. Don’t waste your time explaining your product or service features. Explain how your product or service benefits them–how it satisfies a need, solves their problems, or gives them extra value. Instead of “Super Duper Carpet Cleaner offers the latest in stain-resistant technology, “you should try “Super Duper’s newest technology continuously repels stains for up to 20 years so you’ll never have to clean your carpets!”
Invite customers back
”Let me know that I’m welcomed back anytime!” This is about last impressions. Thank them for coming in or contacting you. Tell them you’d like to see them (or hear from them) again. Then, try to do something that makes them want to come back (or refer you to a friend or colleague)–maybe a discount off of their next appointment for referring a friend. The interesting thing about last impressions is that’s how your customers will feel about you until you have a chance to interact with them again. If you do it right, your business will surely reap the benefits.