They can make you or they can break you. Your customers are your livelihood; are you unknowingly driving them and your profits away?
More than ever, you need to focus on providing superior customer satisfaction to your customers. Why? Because when it comes to your customers, perception is reality so ultimately your company is nothing more than what your customers say it is. And in a time when your customers can easily spread the word (good or bad) about your different and have it spread faster than a wildfire during a drought, can you really afford for them to post negative reviews?
So let's discuss the 3 types of customers: advocates, apathetics and assassins. Here's how they each affect your business.
ADVOCATES: are customers whose belief in your company and services has transformed into an almost religious zeal.
- priceless because they become your best salespeople by promoting your services within their spheres of influence
- willing to go out of their way to use your product or service
- oblivious to your competitor's attempts to steal them away with discounts and incentives
- fiercely loyal to your brand
- a fantastic way to increase your bottom-line while decreasing your advertising budget
- created with above-and-beyond service, courteous and personable employees, and great products or services
APATHETICS: customers to who are indifferent to your services and are most likely the majority of your customer base right now. For them, it doesn't matter where they get a product or service, just that they get it.
- use your product/service because it meets their basic expectation and is within their desired price range but your product/service does not surpass their expectations in any way
- tend to remain loyal to you as long as it is convenient and you meet their basic expectations
- switch to your competitors if they offered a better price tag or quality of service
- not speak out for or against you
- only do business with you on their terms, not yours
ASSASSINS: are your worst nightmare - they will kill your business without you even being aware of it.
- openly and actively speak out against you - thereby poisoning your reputation
- are created when you fail to meet their basic expectations such as failing to rectify a problem that results in a "win" for them
- are 50% more likely to speak out than an advocate
- will, at a minimum, poison your company within their circle of influence (most will now broaden that by posting negative reviews online that can reach millions)
- have the capability, with an Internet connection and savvy, ruin your company's reputation on a global scale
- are typically scorned for life (meaning the long-term effects can be devastating)
- may not even voice their concerns or complaints to an employee or manager but will proceed to publicly soil your reputation
When it comes to your customers, it’s not about what you have the right to do but doing what is right. While it can be easy to create an assassin with poor customer service, it can also be easy to create an advocate by implementing a company philosophy founded on customer satisfaction. The key is to deter the creation of additional assassins while converting current apathetics to advocates.
“It will not suffice to have customers merely satisfied…Profit and growth come from customers that can boast about your product or service – the loyal customer. He requires no advertising or other persuasion and he brings friends along with him,” states the late leading guru of quality, Edwards Deming.
Remember that perception is reality so make sure your perceived reputation is one that will generate more business for you, not cripple you. If you garner a reputation for providing great customer satisfaction, you increase brand loyalty and you can charge a price premium that goes straight to your bottom-line.
What do you do to create advocates for your business?