The “buzz” in customer management arenas continues to be “Customer Expectation Management”. Customer Expectation Management or CEM is a way of doing business that focuses heavily on delivering not only a quality product, but delivering that product with service that exceeds the expectations of the customer. Studies have shown, many companies and individuals will pay a higher price for a product, if they can do business with organizations that put quality customer service at the top of their priority lists. Retaining customers and creating repeat business is more profitable than hunting down new customers. On average it costs 5-25% more to bring in a new customer as to retain a current one.
Studies have also shown that roughly 70% of dissatisfied customers leave, not because of a poor product or high prices, but rather they leave because they feel they've been poorly treated.
CEM implements several tracking systems to first identify what your customers expect of you, then what additional services could be inexpensively added to delight your customers. If customers are delighted with your service, as well as liking your product (which they expect as a given), your ability to retain that customer for at least three years increases to 85%. However, if you simply provide a good product, at a fair price, with adequate customer service, your ability to retain that customer drops to 50%. The customer feels no sense of loyalty or connection to your organization. But, if they've been treated well, and feel personally valued, their sense of commitment to you increases – and so do retention rates.
Now, what are ways you can exceed your customers’ expectations? Normally, it’s the little things:
- Learn the names of customers and have all of your staff greet them by name when they’re in your facility
- Forward copies of blogs, tweets, Facebook postings, articles or other information to customers that are relevant to them and not just a part of a regular mass mailing.
- Identify and perform an additional service the customer will appreciate. Several clients immediately bring me a bottle of water whenever I arrive for a meeting, work session, or training session. It's a little thing, but I appreciate it and notice it.
To get a sense of what Customer Expectation Management can do for you, think of the little things others have done for you that surprised you and made you happy you did business with them. Then, take a look around your organization and identify ways you can exceed the expectations of good service your customers have. You’ll be surprised at how inexpensive they are, but how valuable they can be to your business’ long-term success.
Copyright MMI Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.