Why is customer satisfaction important? In short, it leads to repeat business – customers enjoying good quality and service enough to return time and time again.
In today’s marketplace competition is fierce. Over the last decade, advances in technology and global travel have enabled the exchange of ideas and goods across cultures. Products that were made solely in the United States are now being imported from elsewhere for less money. The differentiation between competitors’ products is narrowing with satisfaction being the only distinguishing factor. In order to survive and prosper, companies have to provide the “value-added” customers have come to expect.
The customer determines whether a company will be profitable. Their loyalty will result in additional spending, increased market-share through word-of-mouth promotion, improved reputation, and increased profits. Since satisfied customers are more likely to pay their invoices on time, cash flow can be affected as well.
Statistics reveal that 80% of revenue should come from repeat business. An exemplary case is IBM in Rochester, New York, as cited by Jonathan D. Barsky, in World-Class Customer Satisfaction. IBM discovered that they realized a $257 million revenue gain over a five-year period for each additional percentage point in their customer satisfaction scores. Thus, companies should focus more on retaining existing customers than securing new ones.
When designing your own customer satisfaction program, here are some ideas you might want to consider:
Above all, let your customers help you help them. Listen to them; solicit their feedback and ideas through customer surveys and focus groups. Find out what their needs are, and work with them to enhance and expand on your products and services. Ultimately, their satisfaction will guarantee your success.
Ms. Debra S. Goldman, has 20 years experience providing marketing programs and educational services to both the public and private sector. Her expertise focuses on strategic market planning, marketing communications, customer quality and service process reengineering. Ms. Goldman has an extensive background in instructional design and group dynamics. She is proficient in developing market research studies to assess the needs and measure the effectiveness of marketing strategies, customer satisfaction and instructional training programs. As president of OpTEAM Consulting, Ms. Goldman is currently responsible for developing and project managing strategic communication programs and education forums relative to customer quality. She facilitates customer focus groups and other group dynamic teams to resolve issues, introduce new concepts, obtain feedback on future direction, and develop productivity enhancements. Customer focused and attuned to organizational dynamics, Ms. Goldman brings the energy and enthusiasm to change the direction of customer communications. She drives the reengineering of the process to a more sophisticated client responsive system. Contact OpTEAM Consulting by phone 703-471-MEET; fax 703-904-0959; and e-mail Opteam@cox.net .
Many more articles in Customer Service in The CEO Refresher Archives