What is the real cost of lousy service?
By Ron Kaufman
Last week, we spoke of the VALUE of an Uplifting Service Culture.
It has been well documented that providing excellent service to your customers will reap both personal and financial rewards. We have all experienced this uplifting feeling, either as the service provider, or the grateful recipient. Surprising levels of service are heart-warming, illuminating, and sound business, too!
But what happens when service falls short? What happens when your staff members, your procedures, or your operations fails to fulfill the corporate goal of quality? Worse yet, what happens when even the desire to provide great service fades away, and the best you or your team can do is push the product out the door and hope the customer will forget, or not notice.
Think this never happens where you work? Give pause to consider if any of your employees feels unappreciated, over-worked, undervalued, or ill-equipped to handle difficult customer situations. Do you really believe they care about your customers as much as you do?
The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer tells us that a lack of quality service is far more costly than most people realize. 81% polled said that a bad service experience was enough to keep them from returning to a business. Eighty-one percent!? That can only happen in a world where customers have plenty of choice, and it’s easy to switch. And that is our world today.
Can you imagine losing 81% of your paying customers next month, or this year? Where you would be next year? That’s easy to answer: out of business.
The good news is most people won’t leave after one bad experience if they have developed a strong relationship with you based on good service in the past. American Express survey respondents say it takes two times, two bad experiences, and then they are gone.
But these bad service experiences don’t have to be blatantly egregious acts. Absolutely not. Even small inconveniences and disappointments can result in your customers walking out the door, hanging up the phone or clicking to the competition.
When was the last time that you went to a restaurant and were treated poorly by the waiter or waitress? When was the last time you were left waiting far past the time of your reservation? When was the last time that you went to the dry-cleaner and your suits were returned poorly done, or with a double crease in the pant leg (that one is my personal pet-peeve!)
Could these service lapses be attributed to just one employee having one bad day? Or could it be more chronic? The handiwork of an employee who feels unappreciated, undervalued, uninspired?
So great service gains you 9% additional revenue, and poor service could lose you 81% of your business. This picture is crystal clear; building a culture in your organization to educate and inspire everyone to deliver uplifting service (for customers and for colleagues) is not a luxury, not just a “good idea”, and no longer even an option.
Good service, no, GREAT service will establish the best companies as leaders. And poor service will put the rest out of business.
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