A customer may defect from a company because he moves away, is lured away by a competitor, or is unhappy with a product. But according to a recent study, 68% of customers defect because of poor service.
So the secret to business success is retaining customers by providing great customer service, according to Dennis Snow, president of Snow & Associates Inc and author of two bestselling books, Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life, and Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service.
Snow, a long-time Disney employee who managed various operating areas throughout Disney World and launched a division of the Disney Institute responsible for consulting with some of the world’s largest companies (including ExxonMobil, AT&T, and Coca Cola), gave some tips for building loyalty:
• Look at everything through the lens of the customer.
He said that customers have their choice of where to obtain goods or services, so the business has to convince the customer that it truly cares. A business has its jargon, but should be careful to speak in a language that customers understand. Successful businesses speak the language of the customer, not the language of their own industry. It’s not the customer’s job to see through the business’ lens; it’s the business’ job to see through the customer’s lens and show an understanding for the customer’s frustration.
• Pay attention to the details: everything speaks.
If a customer entering a place of business notices trash in the parking lot, then sees delivery boxes stacked by the receptionist’s desk and employees standing around eating and having personal conversations, that detracts from a business’ image. It either consciously or unconsciously raises the customer’s antenna and makes them question, “Do I really want to spend my money here?”
Employees can create wows by remembering a customer’s name, which creates a feeling of family. Other ways to create wows: letting a customer know that another product may better meet their needs or sending a goody basket with a handwritten note. Snow suggested holding a company meeting so employees can share things that they have done that dazzled customers. Just talking about these behaviors increases the likelihood that others will adopt some of the practices or create new ones of their own. He said some wows can become standard procedure, like a vendor buying lunch once a month for salespeople.
• Know what frustrates customers—and do something about it. Take steps to recognize the frustration-causing experiences and reduce or eliminate them. ♦