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Customers expect trust and value in 2010

Has your customer base decreased during the decline of our nation’s economy? Probably so. Personal consumption, which drives economic activity, continues to fluctuate, which makes it even more imperative for businesses to earn customer trust and keep it.

Consumers are not parting with their money as easily as pre-recession days. They are looking for discounts, bundles, special savings packages, and rebates, in products and services – and also searching out better business relationships with those they feel will best put their hard-earned money to work. Customers are expecting competing companies to offer phenomenal value while earning and keeping their trust.

From a business perspective, we understand that the ROI of keeping current customers is far more desirable than acquiring new. On average, it costs a company at least five times as much to win a new customer versus keeping an existing one.

In fact, highly effective organizations reportedly spend an average of 10 percent of their operating budgets on resolving customer problems caused by poor service while ineffective organizations spend as much as 40 percent. Unhappy consumers don’t typically keep it to themselves either: dissatisfied customers generally tell twice as many people about a bad experience as they do a good experience.

With numbers like these as incentive, why don’t more businesses achieve their loyalty goals? Does your company even have clearly defined loyalty goals? Perhaps one reason for falling short on the success meter is due to the lack of control in delivering consistent behaviors that regularly please customers.To deliver that type of service companies must first understand what their perceived customers truly value and then plan for consistent implementation.

Consumers have lived through an onslaught of negative events over the past several years and continue to live in an unpredictable economy at best. The Commerce Department said The United States plunged into recession in December 2007 amid financial turmoil following a home mortgage meltdown. The economy shrank at a 5.7 percent pace in the first quarter of 2009, the government said last week in a revised estimate that showed slower consumer spending. The initial estimate was a decline of 6.1 percent.

As one of the scrambling businesses vying for the loyalty of “the cautious consumer”, trust must be created and maintained. It’s no secret that companies are collapsing around us daily. Making loyal customers happy has always been important, but more so now than ever, customers share their reviews of your service and/or product at the speed of the internet, making the art of relationship building of paramount importance.

The obvious conclusion? Give your customers what they want. At each interaction the customer is shaping an opinion of you and your business.

Be more than an email message that gets trapped in the junk folder.

Send a hand written thank you note, ensure quality products, choose vendors that meet your same customer service standards, reward employees who walk-the-walk and…

Track the good, the bad and the ugly…

Your customer service reputation is at stake and there are no second chances in this unpredictable economy of 2010.

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BY PRISMAApril 16, 2010

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