If You Don't Take Care of The Customer Someone Else Will!
By John Baca
In the last ten years, companies have made it more difficult, more confusing, and more frustrating to deal with them than ever before. They give all the 'special offers' to the new customers; they've removed human beings from answering phones and answering questions. They make us pump our own gas, check on our packages, book our own airline tickets and figure out when they've made mistakes on our accounts. They've cut their training budgets and have trimmed their service staffs to the bone. They moved their customer service departments off shore, where people don't understand how we think. Then, they charge us fees for the privilege of using their 'customer' services!
Is it no wonder we've become rather selective to whom we pledge our loyalty? No, customer loyalty is not dead, but it is hurting bad. It is given only to those companies that earn it and keep earning it by delivering value and positive experiences on a consistent basis.
'If You Don't Take Care of The Customer Someone Else Will', Simply means that there are a whole lot of other companies that will gladly give customers what they are looking for. When they walk away they walk away quietly. Problem is you have to find them.
LOYAL customers give you referrals and sing your praises in your advertising and testimonials. Referral business is like 'free' new customers. So the money you would have paid to GET the new customer reflects back down to your bottom line.
When we FEEL good about doing business with a company we form emotional ties, not just financial ties with them. Let's face it, customers are emotionally attached to their money - if we want them to give some of it to us - we need to get them emotionally attached to US.
Employees and Customers are people. As people we are perceptive, conscious, sensitive, alive and feeling beings! It's an essential part of our nature. When we finally recognize that in business, we'll work harder at building the emotional equity with a customer that determines whether or not they become a loyal customer or a lost customer. We come back to companies that have what we want and create a positive experience for us. We leave companies that don't have what we want or create a negative experience for us. Experience is emotional.
I want to give my money to companies that want to help me be the best ME I can be - whether I'm buying cosmetics or computers or telephone service or food. I want to do business with someone who has my best interests in mind.
'If You Don't Take Care of The Customer Someone else Will' This means a whole lot more than we ever thought. Let's start doing a better job of creating experiences that the customer perceives as positive, caring, and yes, maybe even loving.
I find it is sadly true that most companies don't have a strategic plan for keeping customers, keeping them happy OR keeping them coming back time and time again with their money and their friends. Even though Customer Loyalty was determined to be a #1 concern of major corporations, how many companies do more than pay lip service to the importance of customer service and loyalty in their organization? Your guess is as good as mine. Based on the service I receive as a customer, well, I can understand why more customers aren't loyal, can't you?
Recently, I wanted to do some spring cleaning and I wanted to rent a trash bin. I proceeded to call 10 disposal companies in my city. Only one answered the phone within 3-5 minutes, sad but true. Do they really want our business, the message while on hold says, 'your call is important to us' but I wonder just how important and how they stay in business. This is a small sample of the kind of services one can expect, not only from a disposal companies, but other service companies thought out the USA. In this case, guess who got the business? Yes! the one that actually answered the phone.
What can YOU do to change that? What can you do to turn the tide on this disturbing trend and develop long lasting, loyal customer relationships?
I'll do my own research, haul my own lumber and pump my own gas - but if I'm doing the service work - then I want the lowest price possible! I'm not loyal to companies that don't care enough about me to make my experience with them easy, stress and hassle free, and pleasant.
How about you?