I’ve said in past blogs that I have always been fascinated that after nearly 5 years of running my first real company (a web development company I sold in 2001) the customers who had been most loyal were those we’d screwed up with at the beginning.
Why did they stay?
Well, in short for me there are two reasons:
1) GOOD customer service is SO rare that when you find it it’s like a life saving lagoon in a waterless desert
2) The differential between good service, and bad service followed by amazing service, is so great that one can’t help feel obliged to stay – for all the human reasons we know about
Robert B Caldini in his simply fantastic book Influence explains why in far greater depth that appropriate here, but in essence if you’ve just annoyed a customer, this is a once only opportunity to turn this customer into your most loyal customer EVER.
We all make mistakes, even systems make mistakes. Most humans realise this, as we’re all human and fallible. The difference is how you deal with the result.
“Over-deliver” after a customer has a problem and you have a customer for life.
There are lots of obvious ways to do this. First, fix whatever the problem was/is and get it right. Second,
- Give something for free
- Offer a full refund
- Offer a future discount
- A personal call to apologise
- A bottle of wine in the post
However, make sure it is:
a) personal and sincere
b) at least in proportion, but preferable out of proportion (in the customers favour!) to what went wrong.
If only more corporates followed this mantra to the heart of their operations, churn would fall and profits increase. Most don’t, but they should.
The boys at Get Satisfaction came out with a great info graphic demonstrating this: i.e. that 68% of customers leave not because there has been an error or problem but because of the treatment they subsequently receive.
I’ll explain next week why I believe corporates struggle and the simple steps than can action to avoid this epidemic of failure.
- Read more in an article I wrote for Techcrunch about customer service & Johan Nordstrom.