Are Your Customer Useless To Your Business?
There is a difference between Prospects and Customers
When a potential prospect is converted to a customer they become useless. Useless because most small business owners have never gained the appreciation for the lifetime value of a new customer.
“Not me”, you say, “I know the value of a new customer, and I always treat them with respect and consideration”.
Is that you? Do you believe that your business provides the customer service your customers deserve?
Customer service is usually directly related to the price of the product or service sold. It should not be that way but that is the reality.
In my previous life as an automobile sales representative for brands like Honda, Toyota and Mazda I was exposed to customer service at the highest level. A lot of great minds developed a dealers’ program that was called the “Customer Satisfaction Index” or (CSI). It basically provided a questionnaire that each new customer had to fill out. The purpose; measure the customers’ satisfaction with the service.
The questions focused on the customer experience before, during and after the sale. I distinctly remembered one of the questions; “were you contacted after the sale?
The manufacturers used the results of the CSI to reward their dealers. A low Customer Service Index directly impacted the dealer’s eligibility for bonuses, discounts and other incentives. In this scenario, engineered customer service translated into real value for the dealer.
Most small businesses owners know that without customers they have no business. Most, however, are more adept at getting new customers than taking care of the customers they acquired. When a prospect is converted to a customer they are placed in the “sold file” and forgotten. Many keep no files.
Unfortunately, without manufacturers’ incentives there is no reason to follow up on a new customer.
That is; until the business owner understands the “lifetime value of a customer”. Many small business owners ever take the time to understand their customers. They keep no records, databases or a written profile of their typical customer. After all, they reason, business is about sales production, generating revenue, not wining and dining customers?
Your product or service may not be a high ticket item, like automobiles but even if you are selling two dollar widgets there is a need for good customer service. It should not be left to the luck or chance; it should be engineered.
Here’s how I realized that customer service is not a concern for small business owners.
I launched a free Resource Guide for small business owners. This particular Resource Guide shares 5 online tools business owners can use to improve their customer service. To promote this free guide, I created a banner ad and placed it on IBOToolBox.com. This site is an online resource focused primarily on small business owners, it provides tools to promote any small business.
The site has the ability to track each click. The results was six to eight percent of the business owners seeing the ad clicked on it. Of the ones who clicked on the banner, even less actually opted in for the Resource Guide. Those numbers are normally what you would see with ads where you are selling a product, not giving away tools to improve a business. What insight was gained from that test?
Out of every 100 small business owners who saw the ad only 6 to 8 business owners were interested enough to click on the banner. It means that 92 percent are committed to the hunt for more new customers.
And, by the way, that large percentage correlates with studies that place the failure rate of most startup businesses at 80 to 90 percent in the first five years of business.
The truth is that when a new customer is acquired, the immediate transaction is only a fraction of the value realized. When the lifetime value of a customer is known, the value of customer service is real and tangible. Could customer service be the missing link that you have been seeking?
It may not be but customer service has been proven to provide longevity to businesses maybe it can do the same for your business. Make use of the customers you have now, they are not useless.
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