By: Brooke Reid
When it comes to sales, industry experts hold that it’s easier to retain an existing customer, than to attract new ones. Since there is such fierce competition between businesses over customers lately, this theory is especially important.
But what’s the best way to make sure a customer remains loyal to your business?
A very wise and successful businessman once said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Who was this brilliant entrepreneur? He was a man who was clearly a poster child of maintaining a successful business throughout the highs and lows of the economy – Walt Disney.
Customer service is the name of the game. Research shows that businesses will be in a better position when the economy brightens up, if they focus on high customer service standards during a touch economy.
“Being a leader in customer service is an integral component of business strategy,” says Joel Reid, a Business Specialist in the investment and financial services industry. “By strengthening relationships with existing clients, businesses in any industry can endeavor to be a customer’s primary choice to ensure customer loyalty.”
In fact, Acumen Research Group conducted a survey of more than 1,000 Canadian retail, banking and telecommunications company customers to determine what made them stay loyal to a company and what made them find products and services elsewhere.
The results spoke for themselves with 43 per cent of respondents claiming that they had abandoned a provider to which they declared themselves loyal because of a negative experience with a staff person.
Further, 30 per cent of respondents in the same study reported that having the feeling they were not treated as a value customer by the staff was their main reason for taking their business somewhere else.
“When you’re talking about customer service, one of the most important things a business can do is to maintain a good relationship with your clients,” said Duncan MacFadyen, Senior Partner with Market Financial Services consulting firm. “When you’re talking to them in a meaningful way and asking their opinion, then you’re keeping them happy.”
Ultimately, in order for a business to survive during a recession, they must focus on maintaining or elevating their bottom line. Sales are dependent upon the amount of customers a business can bring in. In fact, a significant amount of new customers are gained – or lost – through referrals.
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs in Washington, DC, a dissatisfied customer will tell nine to15 people about their negative experience. Further, approximately 13 per cent of dissatisfied customers will tell more than 20 people about their dissatisfaction.
On the other hand, happy customers – or customers who have had their problems resolved in their favour – will tell four to six people, on average, about their positive experience.
There are several ways a business can improve customer service.
“Some aspects to keep in mind when it comes to customer service are keeping contact with loyal customers, stocking and updating products that meet your clients needs and keeping products priced appropriately, especially in challenging economic times.”
However, it’s important to ensure that the customer service guarantees a business sets out are attainable.
For instance, Sleep Country Canada consistently guarantees that their delivery personnel will wear disposable “booties” when entering a customer’s home so that they wont traipse any dirt in. This example is definitely attainable and shows the customer that the company cares at the same time.
“In difficult economic times, clients are looking for an awe-factor or a competitive edge, a consistent client service experience and a competitive product offering,” said Reid.
Not only will high customer service standards boost customer loyalty, but according to a study done by the University of Michigan, it can also boost a retailer’s stock price.
Businesses wont make any profits if they don’t have customers. A smart business owner knows this and does everything in their power to make sure that customers have the best possible experience to ensure that they remain loyal customers, which is especially important throughout a challenging economy
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