A surprisingly high statistic from the Research Institute of America (RIA) states an average business will never hear a word from 96 percent of their unhappy customers whose complaints range from poor service, rudeness, to discourteous treatment. These are the customers that silently move away from you and are welcomed with open-arms by the competition. These are the customers who tell their friends, co-workers, and family members about their bad experiences. Multiply the unhappy customers who these people have told about their unsatisfactory experiences, and soon we realize that it's not just one customer leaving us - it's an army of lost consumers and a pocketful of lost revenue.
Statistics are not just for textbooks and graphs. For instance, in the animal rescue world for the control of the cat population, studies now confirm that 87 percent of cat owners have their pets spayed or neutered. It's just staggering how one unspayed female cat and all of her offspring (assuming she has two litters per year and three kittens survive each litter) can produce 450,000 cats by the end of the seventh year.
Now let's just imagine one customer being extremely unhappy and telling the average of ten other people. Most of us listen more to our friends' recommendations and experiences than we do from television or print advertisements, and much like the game of "telephone" we played in third grade, by the time the story of an unpleasant experience gets to many of us, the story has escalated to be the worst experience to have ever hit the playground or of course, the business. And the tragedy of it all - lots of lost customers, clients, and business.
So what do we need to do as business owners to keep our customers? After all it's much more expensive to find new customers, therefore doesn't it seem logical that we step out of the box for everyone who graces the doors or who clicks on a shopping cart for our organizations? Shouldn't we deliver the best customer service by providing the best training we can find? Shouldn't we make our customers feel appreciated and special?
When something goes wrong, customers want an immediate response. They want the people in the company to fix the problem now - and want to be thought of as a person and an important one too, and it doesn't matter if the customer spent $20 or $2000. That positive customer service experience can differentiate a company's brand; the way a problem is resolved can make a huge impact on the customer and all of the people he tells about his experience. The customer service representatives, sales personnel, front desk receptionist and up to the CEO, who have developed and practiced their skills repeatedly are the reasons companies like the Ritz Carlton, American Express, and Zappos continue to grow and demonstrate outstanding customer relationships.
What has your business done recently to engage your personnel to help them deliver the best customer service ever?