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Listening to your Clients

It's the First Step to Success

Most business managers are so busy working in their business,that they get little time to review articles, books, or other material about improving business.

So for all of you who are that busy, here is a summary of some staggering research about customer service:

  • On average the unhappy customer tells 11 other people about the experience. Each of these people on average tells another 5 people. This means a total 66 people hear about one person’s problem!
  • On average only one in 20 unhappy customers actually complains. Consequently, complaining customers may only be the tip of the iceberg!
  • 65% to 90% of non-complaining customers with a problem will not buy from the organisation again
  • It costs five times as much to get a new customer as it does to keep an existing one
  • According to American research, the average firm loses 10 to 30 per cent of its customers each year - and isn’t even aware of it!

So what does this research mean for your business?

I would suggest to you that these few research findings raise the most significant questions that you could possibly consider for the success of your business.

I believe they are that important. For example, consider the following questions:

  • Do you know why customers choose to do business with you?
  • Do you know why prospective customer choose not to do business with you?
  • Do you know how happy your current customers are with the service/product they receive?
  • Do you know what is important to your customers when they do business with you?
  • Do you know what percentage of customers you lose, and why you lose them?

Most business think they know the answers to most, if not all these questions.

The fundamental trap however, is to presume you know the answers to these questions, without actually going to you customers and asking them. As Winston Marsh has said, this is the ‘obscenity of assumption’! More often than not your assumptions will be wrong.

You see, it doesn’t matter what you think about the quality of your services/products. Unless your customers think you provide good services or products, your business is in trouble.

If your business is not already doing it, get active on feedback. Employ as many strategies as you can to find out what your customers think - use surveys, mystery shopping, telephone interviews, face to face interviews ...whatever! Just ask them, and be prepared to learn.

Every business must actively seek feedback from it customers - it’s the key ingredient to improvement and greater profit. 

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