Perception and reality

Most businesses think they provide good service to their customers and they are probably right, if they are still customers.

Some time ago, I was managing a large distribution business. Every year we commissioned a “Customer Satisfaction Survey” from a third party. It was a report that we debated at some length, to see if there were opportunities to improve our services.

The problem with that report (and I am sure many similar exercises) was that the answers didn’t change very much from year to year. We were asking the people who were using our services, and the very fact that they kept coming back to buy again told us we were providing adequate service – and the report reinforced that view.

What we really needed to do was to ask the people who didn’t buy from us, or even better the customers who no longer bought from us but instead had found an alternative supplier. What made them change?

You and your customers may think you provide good services. What do the people who tried you and went elsewhere think?

Marketing & Sales people will tell you that you can much more easily reactivate a past customer than find a new one; you can do much more to improve your services by asking a dissatisfied customer what you did wrong – and in the process perhaps that dissatisfied customer will give you another chance.

What have you got to lose by asking?

 

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