Today marks the end of the street vendor.
Okay, let’s look at the final gem from Mr. Wang.
… you need to respect your customers.
Obvious, right? No need to have written this.
But why then do so many individuals and businesses ignore this?
Customers may not always be right. They may be a pain and unrealistic in their expectations.
But they are also the raison d’etre for you being in business.
Always bear that in mind over all else in your business models.
In his article, Mr. Rein provides examples of good and bad service. All of us have similar tales.
Data is somewhat mixed, but the majority of studies indicate that customers relate bad experiences to others significantly more than good ones.
As well, a bad experience can definitely affect a customer’s future buying patterns.
One study found that, on average, customers related positive experiences to three people within one month of the event. However, customers related negative results to seven people within only a week’s time.
A Customer Experience Matters study of 4500 people found that customers may actually relate their positive experiences more than their bad ones depending on the industry involved. Banks, hotels, investment firms, computer manufacturers, and retailers had more consumers providing positive feedback. Whereas, credit card providers, health insurance plans, internet and television service providers elicited more negative responses.
Overall though, bad experiences were still shared with more people than good.
In 2008, RightNow Technologies and Harris Interactive issued their third annual Customer Experience Impact report. In an article discussing the report, they found that:
… following outcomes of BAD experiences:
87% have stopped doing business with a company that provided a bad experience. In fact, more of them are taking action in response to bad experiences—28% more since 2006.
84% will tell others about their bad experience—22% of them blog about it or post negative feedback online.
… the payoffs for serving up excellent experiences to your customers:
58% will pay more for excellence in service—even in a down economy.
57% will recommend your company to others when they receive outstanding experiences.
If you provide the best possible service it may be no guarantee of future success, although it helps. But if you provide an awful experience, even one time, you may lose that client forever. Plus, the story may spread like a wild fire.
And that negative story may influence the behaviour of others even if the poor experience was false, embellished, or not a common occurrence.
I suspect that hardly anyone reading this post has travelled with Hawaiian Airlines. After reading Mr. Rein’s story though, you likely have a picture of the company in your mind.
Not a particularly caring company is it?
Yet in the April 2009 Airline Quality Survey, Hawaiian is ranked as the top US domestic carrier for service quality and performance. Maybe things are not as bad as Mr. Rein suggests.
I suggest you never let one incident affect your view of a large operation. Especially when you were not personally involved in the situation.
One specific event may be an outlier and not representative of reality. In his article, Mr. Rein does Hawaiian a bit of a disservice by not doing his homework on overall customer satisfaction and only publishing his one personal experience.
I will address Mr. Rein’s writing later this week. You can learn a few lessons from him on how not to present information.
As for the St. Regis, I have stayed at a few. Always with excellent service. In fact, my last visit was in Rome and the hotel upgraded me to a full suite complete with butler. Poor butler had little to do – I like to draw my own bath thank you – but it was an extremely nice hotel stay.
Will I tell others of my positive experiences with St. Regis? Of course. But I have also spent enough in hotels to know that there may be a problem on my next visit.
Down the road I will discuss various strategies used to try and optimize a customer’s experience.
Regardless of the specific technique, focus on treating the customer with respect. You should reflect the way that you would wish to be treated in the same situation. Then implement processes that will, to the best of your ability, ensure that the customer is treated properly.
If you can do this on a consistent basis, you will be well on your way to success.
But we will save that discussion for another day.