How Easy is it to Do Business with Your Company?
The best customers are your current customers.
I was just chatting with a support person from a well-known security software company using a live chat tool. I had ordered extra online storage to back up files, paid, got my receipt, and still wasn’t able to access the extra storage. Frustrating, but their website is pretty clear about how to get support.
After 45 minutes of the person parroting back to me what my problem was and not responding to further queries from me, he asks for control of my PC. I agree. He did a few things I’d already tried, overwrote my already backed up files without asking, and then re-booted my PC, again, without asking. Of course, I have security software and he can’t get back in without my passwords. I wait to see if he’ll call and ask me to log back in — they had asked for my phone number when I initiated contact. After 15 minutes, I finally give in and log back in. The ‘service’ person reconnects and then leaves the chat room! My problem is unresolved and he hasn’t told me what to do next. To add insult to injury, at 2:30AM, I get a phone call from someone at the company acknowledging that we were ‘cut off’.
- Experts estimate that is costs between 5 and 10 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing customer.
- For every customer who complains, there are at least 9 others who do not (B2B); it is higher for consumer products
- With easy access to public forums such as blogs, unhappy customers command even more notice
Without getting into the differences between loyalty and retention, I think most of us would agree that we’d like customers to buy more and to tell their friends and colleagues about their positive experience. And yes, there are customers who companies should ‘fire’. Many companies today base their competitive differentiation on product features when, in fact, the dimensions from the customer’s perspective include reputation, reliability, and ease of doing business.
How easy is it to:
- Find out where to buy your product?
- Get pre-sales questions answered?
- Get to a support person?
- Straighten out a billing issue or even cancel an order?
When someone contacts your company:
- Is the operator or receptionist or support person or sales person friendly and gracious?
- If the person isn’t the best resource, do they try to find someone?
- Is the right level of resource made available to important customers?
- Does a caller go through IVR jungles? Is critical information, such as an account number, asked for repeatedly?
- Does your web site really make it easy to get self-service?
- Are you called back when promised? If cut off?
- How long is the hold time?
- How quickly is a contact assisted?
Any CEOs or Business Owners reading this are thinking that this doesn’t apply to them. My response is: can you afford to assume this is true?
Customer retention and loyalty are based on many dimensions of interaction. They are often driven by corporate culture and values – that is, from the C-suite. Companies of all sizes need to audit themselves. And in this new economy, customer retention is equal to success.
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