Customer Service is More Important Than Ever

According to Forbes.com, The Best and Worst Companies for Customer Service,  the University of Michigan is out with their 2007 customer satisfaction survey, known as the American Consumers’ Satisfaction Index (ACSI).  The survey found that, overall, American consumers were just as satisfied in 2007 as they were in 2006–no more/no less.

Online retail scored well, led by Amazon.  Automobiles also scored high.  Interestingly, but not surprisingly, Wal-Mart dropped 5.6% to its lowest rating since the ACSI began in 1994.  Home Depot, which recently replaced many of its salespeople with lower-paid clerks, suffered a 4.3% drop to their lowest level since 2001.  The article also points out that Wal-Mart’s fourth quarter performance was less than spectacular, with just a 0.5% increase in same-store sales.

Tom Gruca, a marketing professor at the University of Iowa believes there is a correlation between customer satisfaction and cash flow and says he can prove it.  He is putting together a follow-up report that measures a company’s willingness to invest in service.  He says that preliminary results show a strong link.  "People aren’t stupid."

When sales are slow, the logical reaction is to try to cut expenses and that’s fine.  But cutting in areas that are going to hurt your ability to give your customers first-class service is very short-sighted.  Now is the time to show customers and potential customers what you can really do for them.  The Marts and Depots of the world are leaving the door wide open for the independent retailer to step in and grab more business.

Even if the customer isn’t quite ready to make that big-ticket purchase, when they are ready (for example, in May when they get that tax rebate check) they’re going to remember who took the best care of them back in February and March, when they were "just looking", and that’s where they’re going to spend their money.

2 Responses

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  2. Customer Service Carnivale: Another Great Tips Edition

    This edition contains some very good advice and tips – as always! Sit back, relax, and soak up some knowledge and goodness… Rich Vosler offers us some lessons in overcoming obstacles for network marketing. These lessons apply to anyone…

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