I saw a statistic recently that made my jaw drop and hit the floor. Not so much out of surprise but more because of the opportunity it represents.
The statistic was that 68% of the customers who stop doing business with a company do so because of how they’re treated by the company. Things like employee apathy, rudeness, poor communications, mistakes, lack of follow-through and related problems are why 2 out of every 3 people take their business elsewhere.
So, the majority of the business we lose is because customers are unhappy with how they were treated when doing business with us.
I’d call this both bad news and great news.
It’s bad news because it shouldn’t be this way. This is an "elephant in the room."
I believe most business owners, execs and managers know this situation exists. But because people and relationships are harder to manage than numbers and products, we tend to ignore them. We busy ourselves with things that are objective and specific and we know we can manage.
Also, I think new customer acquisition is valued more highly because it’s more exciting. It presents a larger opportunity to grow our businesses. It’s sexy. So, it gets more of our time and attention.
On the other hand, this statistic is great news because it’s something we can deal with. This is a mountain that can be turned into a molehill. How we treat our customers is something we have complete control over (though we don’t always like to admit it).
The better we equip our employees to serve our customers, the better our customer service will be. If we do this well we can knock the 68% down substantially. That’s how we deal with this elephant!
Here’s an easy way to think about how to equip your employees for better customer service. Use the "ASK" system.
ASK stands for:
Attitude — Find ways to maintain a positive, friendly and helpful attitude.
Skills — Develop skills that enhance customer service abilities.
Knowledge — Increase knowledge of your company, products, services, policies and procedures.
(I’ll talk more about these in future posts.)
My article yesterday mentioned that the cost of attracting new customers is about 5 to 10 times more than getting existing customers to stay with us. Combine this with the 68% number cited above and we have a powerful reason to focus our resources on customer service as a marketing tool. We can see the potential upside available to us if we learn how to treat our customers better.
So, if you want to grow your business, make sure you focus on providing exceptional customer service.
Make sure your company is delivering more than your customers expect. Make sure your employees have the attitudes, skills and knowledge to take care of your customer in a first class way so your customers want to stay with you.
Do this well and your customers will stay with you, they’ll tell others to do business with you and your bottom line will look better and better.