What are your thoughts? Is he right?
What are your thoughts? Is he right?
Growing up I often heard my father speak highly of my grandfather’s seafood production company. Although the seafood products were great, those conversations were never about quality; they almost always centered on the importance of customer service to the growth of his business. The key driver behind my grandfather’s year over year growth was his genuine care for serving people. His dedication and sincerity encouraged people to spread the word about his great service far and wide. A phenomenal word-of-mouth success was born.
Keep in mind this was back in the 1940’s. There was no computer to reach a large audience, no social media to expose the brand, no pay per click program to bring in leads. The business grew because my grandfather knew that he wanted referrals and that his customers were going to be the only way to get them. By interacting with his customers in an honest manner, all the while exceeding their expectations, he created “service memories” and consistently, organically grew his customer base.
Fast-forward a few decades to the early 90’s. There is a new phenomenon, the internet. The idea that the world-wide-web could reach large audiences around the world was becoming popular in the boardroom. Many companies saw the immediate opportunity to gain more customers through this channel. And good old fashioned customer service was left behind. Customers were coming in at such a pace that all the wheels were spinning and organizations were finding it difficult to keep up with the important aspects of the business, such as strong customer service systems.
Can those organizations be blamed for ignoring customer service?
The benefits of Customer Experience Management hadn’t been studied like they have been today and the internet continued to offer up an opportunity to increase revenue almost instantly. The more companies grew the less attention was paid to the satisfaction of the customer. The demands of the customer remained the same, as did their ability to tell of their experience (positive or negative) to friends, unfortunately companies no longer had the bandwidth to keep up with the feedback and customer satisfaction began to plummet.
Gone are the early days of the 90’s where the first businesses to launch reaped the most customers and grew the most revenue. Today more than 90% of organizations are online, and again, to differentiate from the competition, what must they do? Be the best with the customer experience. Organizations worldwide want to be admired for their customer service. The benefits of Customer Experience Management have now been studied and the results are promising. Boardrooms are pressuring companies to focus on customer experience to the point that a new executive has emerged – the Chief Customer Officer (CCO).
Today’s social media also offers us a way to efficiently communicate our experiences and spread those messages exponentially. The media continues to highlight the customer loyalty success stories of companies who’ve done it right, including Zappos, WestJet and Southwest Airlines. We now understand the potential of a loyal, happy customer base to sing your praises – recruiting friends and family, and organically growing your business while costing you little.
The beauty of word of mouth? It costs you nothing!
I have always been a big fan/advocate of Gary Vaynerchuk. He has been a distant teacher that reminded me of the value in “the hustle” and working toward my passion when others are sleeping. The Grandparent Theory came to me on a flight from Vancouver to Chicago about a year ago, shortly after I had put my thoughts down, I came across this video of Gary speaking on the same belief. Thanks, Gary.