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Smileys They Could Be

According to a study conducted by two professors from Vanderbilt University, up to 40% of satisfied customers do not return to those businesses who gave them the satisfactory service.

This means that almost half their customers wind up missing in action.

How would they know if they’re missing?

They probably wouldn’t, because most businesses don’t track lost customers or try to find out where these customers went.

If this is true, most businesses don’t even know if their customers are satisfied or not. In fact, a non-complaining customer may be interpreted as a satisfied customer. This may simply not be the case.

Check out these statistics.

  • The average “wronged customer” will tell 8-l6 people about it. Over 20% will tell more than 20. Source: Lee Resource Inc
  • It takes 12 positive service incidents to make up for one negative incident. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
  • For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. Source: Lee Resource Inc.

Customer service used to mean following through on your commitments to your customer and doing what you said you would do.  In other words: delivering on the promise. Here’s my new definition on what customer service means to me:

I believe that delivering the promise is no longer customer service. Delivering the promise is the price of admission a company pays to be in business. The new customer service is what you deliver beyond the promise. It’s what you do to delight, excite and build relationships with your customers that make their experience memorable.

If you accept this definition it means expanding your thinking about customer service. This means knowing that every aspect of your business has an impact on customer service, not just face-to-face encounters but everything that happens in your business. To make it work, every employee needs to be committed to learning what your customers want and then developing action plans to make it happen.

How will this happen? By determining what will astound your customers and then exceeding their expectation.

The bottom line? Satisfied isn’t good enough.

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