The world feels like an increasingly unstable and dangerous place. Ever since the GFC knocked the wind out of the global economy in 2008, it’s been one thing after another.
It’s hard to believe it was only a year earlier that Apple had released its first iPhone. Back then, there was a real feeling of optimism around online technology. Aside from being a great way to keep in touch, we thought social media was a force for good. That’s hardly the case now. Instead of the enlightened era we anticipated, we ended up with online echo chambers, rigged elections and a cult of narcissism.
Adding to the feeling that things are getting progressively weirder is the rise of populism. Who would have thought a clown who once entertained us on reality tv would become leader of the free world?
To top it all off, we’re now on the brink of a global pandemic and associated economic collapse. What on earth will be next?
Here in South Africa we’re already in recession. Times are tough. Shopping malls are empty and retail is suffering.
So it came as a surprise when I stepped out to do some shopping last Sunday, only to to be confronted by appalling customer service.
It was 9:30 am. I was after a new pair of shoes. I was the only customer in the first store I entered. Despite this, the sales assistant barely acknowledged me, seemingly more interested in her phone. When I finally asked for help, all I got was a dirty look and a bad attitude. Naturally, I left.
I tried two more shops, but my experiences were much the same. Arriving home shoeless and irritated, I worried for the future of my local businesses.
According to SuperOffice, the number one reason customers leave a brand is poor service. A whopping 68% of people report this as their main reason for switching brands. This compares with 14% who leave due to dissatisfaction with a product.
Think about it and it makes perfect sense. When you feel like a brand doesn’t care about you, chances are you’ll leave, just like I did on Sunday.
The ramifications for businesses are serious. According to KPMG, the biggest predictor of a company’s future revenue is its ability to retain customers. In part, this is explained by the fact that companies are on average 4 to 5 times more successful selling to existing customers than new customers.
As economic conditions deteriorate, it’s worth considering the implications of losing customers through poor service.
For all the pain, one of the benefits of recession is to sort the wheat from the chaff. It’s like natural selection for businesses. Only the most competitive survive, leading to improved productivity when good times return.
In a modern economy, customer experience is everything. To remain competitive requires that you give great customer service at every interaction. If you’re not doing this, you should question not only your prospects for future growth, but whether you’ll even be around in a few years time.
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View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: Articulating your value proposition
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