Exceeding Customer Expectations for Long Term Gain
Author: Jim Delande
In these days of an unpredictable economy and seemingly endless experiences with poor customer service and fees (the airlines, for example), superior customer experience can truly make your organization stand out, retain valuable customers and contribute top line revenue to your shareholders. Yet even companies with the best intentions often find that the demands of their business take precedence, and fighting fires can easily take their eye off of the vaunted goal of improving customer satisfaction, retention and up or cross selling.
In fact, a new study points out the economic impact of poor service on both service organizations and consumers. 35% of consumers have cancelled services or stopped using a brand due to a frustrating experience
How can businesses stop the losses, and even turn front line service employees into profit generators? A little technology can go a long way. Much like the technology that has become commonplace in our lives, from digital calendar reminders to automated bill payments, putting a small amount of effort into planning and deploying a technology-driven solution can provide a significant return on investment in a very short amount of time.
We all understand the power of suggestion. “Would you like fries with that?” goes a long way to driving incremental revenue. But you wouldn’t be very receptive to that suggestion if you just experienced a long wait while the staff sits idle, sending personal texts or engaging in side conversations. Opportunity lost.
But flip this equation 180 degrees and the power of suggestion gets turbocharged. Take for example a typical consumer problem – your cable service is out. The emotional cycle of this experience starts out quite negative: the cable company is terrible, their service stinks and you have to take time away from personal commitments to be there for a service call. In a nutshell, you enter the service process with a great deal of frustration and negativity.
Yet, a positive experience can go a long way towards gaining loyalty, retaining customers and driving incremental revenue. Let’s play this out.
You call your provider and tell them of your problem. Surprisingly, they say they can have a technician out the next day, and then ask which 2 (two!) hour service window you’d prefer. Immediately you’re pleased that the old 4 (or even 8) hour window has shrunk to something more manageable. When the service rep asks how you’d like your notifications and updates (email, text, call) you’re further impressed that you have a choice.
On the day of service, you expect your tech between 10 -12, but become somewhat concerned when you receive a text from the tech at 10:15 – it must be bad news. But no, the tech has just sent you a status update that he is en route and will be there in 15 minutes.
And indeed the tech arrives as stated, is courteous and repairs the problem in short order. Your emotional outlook continues to improve. At this point the tech is wrapping up his work order when he mentions, “You know Ms. Customer, I see that you have one of our older DVR boxes. We have a new service that doubles your capacity for only $5 more a month, would you like me to install one while I’m here?”
While there is no guarantee that a customer will upgrade, their positive experience puts them in a much better mindset to do so. And even if they decide not to upgrade, their perception of their provider and their service commitment is greatly improved. At an average of $80 per month, retaining an ambivalent or previously dissatisfied cable customer will pay significant dividends, and driving incremental revenue is icing on the cake.