A recent survey by YouGov says 58% of customers are willing to pay more to do business with companies they hold in high regard. And 48% of customers say excellent customer service is the best way to build a reputation that people respect and value.
Of course this makes sense. Intuitively we know most people prefer better service and therefore some (in this case, a majority) would be willing to pay more for it. And in a challenging economic climate, this is good news. It tells us we can increase revenue by doing something that shouldn’t cost much more.
Yet, many businesses (too many) seem to ignore this. They continue to provide less than stellar service to their customers.
Another recent survey (by my company, the Stirtz Group LLC) shows 86% of people feel customer service is no better now than it was 12 months ago. In fact, 40% feel it’s worse. Similarly, 87.5% rated customer service as average or worse.
When you put these two surveys together, they tell us a compelling story. They show us a big opportunity.
Talk to most business owners and managers about their service and many will tell you they do just fine. Some will say they need to improve but I believe a majority will tell you they deliver better than average service to their customers. But what they think does not matter. All that matters is what their customers feel. And, if the above survey is at all accurate, most business are not doing a better than average job for their customers.
There’s a disconnect. And this disconnect can be fatal to a business. Or it can be an opportunity to do better.
Surveys are only a slice of information. They’re not meant to be accurate for every person and every business every time. But they can be useful. They can help remind us to look beyond our own conclusions and biases. They remind us we need to constantly discover and rediscover how to best manage our businesses.
They can also remind us to do things differently. These two surveys suggest a big gap. They hint that many customers are not getting the love they want. Many of their needs are not being met. If true, this tells us what we can do to be more successful. In this case, it means get to know your customers better. Find out what they really want and make sure you’re giving it to them better than anyone else. Do that and you’ll attract more customers who are willing to pay extra for great service.