8 ways to shove your customers away

The biggest driver of customer loyalty is not after all the things you may think like ‘value for money’, ‘customer service’, ‘ range of choices’ and so on. No…in fact it is the speed, effort and willingness with which you handle customer complaints.

In fact it so important a factor that any customer who has had a problem with your business which you have fixed to their entire satisfaction is almost always more loyal than a customer who has never had a problem.

An academic study by the Customer Contact Council has found that customer loyalty isn’t created by delighting the customer with your general service levels. Your customer’s loyalty is based on how little effort they have to put in to getting their complaint or dissatisfaction dealt with satisfactorily.

The Council has devised something they call the Customer Effort Score which has a 1-5 scale when this question is asked of customers: “ How much personal effort did you have to put in to get your request satisfied?”

Even a small reduction in effort is translated into a much greater increase in loyalty and by default ‘revenue’. On the other side an increase in ‘effort required’ has a 4 times greater ‘negative’ effect. Customers who have to put in a high amount of effort are 61% less likely to purchase again compared with your ‘average’ customer.

Right now I am waiting for the gardening company, who keep my garden in check on a fortnightly basis, to resolve two simple queries. They are easy fixes on work carried out (or not) in this case. The owner of the company could say (after 10 years of a satisfactory –customer delight- relationship and lost of my money): ”Look I don’t know who’s right or wrong here but why don’t we just forget about the disputed charges and carry on as before?”

I would be perfectly happy with that. And would tell my next door neighbour how happy I was.

But In fact the issue has now been dragging on for three weeks while they ‘look into’ my complaints. I have made several ‘chasing’ phone calls to them. I am still expending a great deal of effort with no conclusion in sight. I am not happy. If it doesn’t get resolved I will cancel their contract and go with a competitor. They will lose a loyal 10 year customer and all that future revenue. I will get a new gardener.

So, do you run a business (gardening or otherwise)? Do you know your CES score?

8 ways to upset your customers,,,,,

  1. It takes too long to fix a problem
  2. Promises are broken
  3. Being treated in an offhand manner by someone who wants to prove they’re ‘right’
  4. Being transferred from department to department.
  5. Having to chase the company
  6. Being held in uninformed suspension for days
  7. Being asked for more business when this problem is still unresolved.
  8. Finding the ‘Support’ facility on or off the website completely inadequate


And the single easy way to make them come back for more:

Next time a customer raises a query or complaint, who ever’s ‘fault’ you think it is, try saying this:

“I’m so sorry to hear that Mr Customer. What can I do to put things right immediately?”

Then just do it. You’ll be amazed at the resulting hapiness and loyalty. Remember…you’re not there to prove you’re ‘right’…you’re there to do more business.

It is 80% easier and less expensive to get more business from an existing happy customer than to go out and find a single new one.

Bob Etherington

“Europe’s Best Sales Trainer” :  [Voted by ‘Sales Innovation Expo’ 2015 and 2016, Excel London.]



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