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Monday, March 29, 2004

Nice or Nasty Anonymous Notes
Send Glowing Compliments or Cutting Criticisms
Although the Send A Tip website is meant for 'entertainment' purposes, I can't help thinking what a powerful tool this might be if used for good instead of evil.

In the article "Why Customers Leave, and What You Can Do About It" by Arthur Middleton Hughes, Mr. Hughes identifies the 5 reasons customers leave a source with whom they were doing business.
1. They die, or are no longer buying in your category
2. They are unhappy with the price
3. They are unhappy with the product
4. They are unhappy with the way that they are treated.

There's not a lot you can do about #1, businesses tend to focus too much on reason #2 (tip: there will ALWAYS be a lower price. Why chase customers that will toss you over for the next person who saves them a dime?) -- but to really focus on keeping customers and recapturing lost ones, you must concentrate on the last two reasons: improve your products and treat your customers like royalty.

For a lot of clients it's easier to simply leave or not call on you again if they feel they've purchased an inferior product or received bad service. They don't like to 'make a scene' or dislike confrontations. But as a business hoping to build relationships with long-term clients and increase business through word-of-mouth, YOU need to realize that this feedback from unhappy customers is more valuable than all the compliments from 'satisfied customers.'

A simple feedback tool on your website modeled after Send A Tip could allow compliments or criticisms to be emailed directly to someone in charge -- with the option of complete anonymity -- from unhappy customers. Better yet, a double-blind return feature or private posting area could allow the businesses to respond to the comments and let the interested initiators of the communication follow-up on your efforts.

Here are two books you must read if interested in keeping your customers loyal (not satisfied!) and recapturing customers who've slipped through your fumbling service fingers:
Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless by Jeffrey Gitomer
A Complaint Is A Gift by Janelle Barlow


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