"Focusing on customer retention tactics, such as service recovery and reducing customer defections by just 5% through service, can boost profits by
25 to 125%."
This quote is from a 1990 Harvard Business Review article by Reichheld and Sasser. 16 years ago it was statistics like this that pushed
businesses to take a hard look at the quality of service they delivered. The realization that business needed to focus on service quality was made
Now, 16 years later, it is not enough to deliver just good service – your competitors have also been focusing on service. Today it takes
superior service delivery and recovery to reduce customer loss and thus increase profits. While truly becoming "customer driven" takes time and
serious commitment there are things you can do today to build customer retention – you can keep your service promises! How? By first
determining what promises you are making:
What are your employees promising your customers in the sales cycle, in delivery, in service recovery? Are your employees setting the right
expectations for your customers? Are your sales people so eager to close the sale that they tell customers that special order items will arrive in
two weeks even though they know it will take at least 3-4 weeks? Are your consultants guaranteeing an unrealistic revenue growth percentage to get
the sale? Does your delivery department give a realistic delivery date and time, or do they cave in and tell the customer what they want to hear?
Web Site Promises
What does your web site say to customers? Does your site mislead customers and, for example, promise overnight delivery but fail to explain
that overnight starts after the two days it takes to get it out of the warehouse? Has marketing jumped the gun and announced a new product or service
on the web site before your sales and service team has been trained on the new product?
Product development excitedly tells sales about the pipeline of new products almost ready, and sales immediately starts promoting the product. Your
return policy says: "Bring it Back, No Flack," but your return paperwork is onerous for customers and employees alike.