I recently read an interesting article entitled, “Service Speaks: Canadians Willing to Pay 7% more for Premium Treatment” (http://bit.ly/cYTLwl). The report was part of the American Express Global Services Survey. It would be interesting to know what the numbers were for Americans but I cannot imagine it would be significantly different.
Customers are willing to pay for better service; however, it’s getting harder to find better service. More than one-third of the Canadians felt that companies had done nothing to improve service during the economic downturn and more than one-quarter felt that service had gone down. This may be perception or a function of companies reducing overhead.
Unfortunately, just as companies tend to reduce marketing during times of economic distress, it appears they may also be reducing customer service. This is a deadly combination.
Customers always want good value for their money but more so when they have less disposable and discretionary income. As a business owner or product or service provider now is the time to cement relationships with customers converting them from satisfied to loyal by providing superior service. Likewise, it’s also a time to convince customers with less customer-focused providers to switch — not for a lower price but for a superior experience. The aforementioned study shows that people are willing to pay for a superior experience and many are not getting that level of service or that superior experience.
The study goes on to show that 38% of respondents post opinions about their experiences online and that nearly 50% go online to read other people’s opinions of service and product providers. Once again, here’s a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors during a period of economic distress. Let your happy customers do your marketing for you and ensure you don’t have any unhappy customers since they can be the death of you.
Are your customers more or less satisfied with the level of service you’ve been providing over the last couple of years?
If you don’t know, I suggest you ask.