Coming on the heels of a shaky 2009, the DJIA performance in 2010 (YTD) is flat.  (Flat is the new up right?)  What could your company do to get >5% higher revenues this year?

If you answered “serve the customer” you’re right!  American Express completed Customer Service Barometer research recently and found that customers spend 9% more with companies that provide excellent customer service.

But do businesses value their customers?  Judging from the survey results, no way!  Here’s how consumers think companies treat them:

Consumer Perceptions

With the economy still reeling and +/-10% unemployment, consumers are spending their earnings (or savings) more intelligently than ever.  They can’t afford to do business with companies that do nothing or act as if they are a nuisance.  Nor should they.

  • Choices are Everywhere – How many Toyota owners (and now Lexus) are considering other manufacturers?  (Surprisingly, provided they are loyal owners of the brand, 86% will give companies like Toyota a second chance if they had excellent previous experiences.)
  • Information is Plentiful and Accessible – Today’s consumers have more data, first-person input, and insights into the pros and cons of purchasing almost anything than at any time in history.  48% of consumers check out a company’s reputation before making a purchase.

When the service is good consumers deliver repeat business.  But when service is bad, 81% of Americans have stopped doing business with a company (50% give the company two chances to earn their business).  Less forgiving, I suggest only one chance.

Any company still struggling to justify the added “expense” of delivering great service ought to invest a few minutes to read the entire article.  The pivot point is that even though delivering service is NOT free, it does pay quantifiable dividends.

Which business would suffer from delivering better customer service?  Or better question, which companies would benefit the most from making immediate improvements?

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