How Much is a Loyal, Satisfied Customer Worth?

Plenty, according to Ron Zemke and Thomas Connellan, authors of "Sustaining Knock your Socks off Service." For every percentage point that Marriott improves its customer satisfaction ratings, returning customers add $50 million to its revenues. A one percent increase in customer satisfaction at the IBM plant in Minnesota is worth $257 million in additional revenues over five years.

There's a simple formula for satisfying and retaining customers: Know who they are and know how they respond to interaction with your company. Be sure they look forward to calling or visiting and that they remember previous calls as pleasant and rewarding.

When your customers evaluate your product or service and the way it's delivered, they weigh these five quality factors:
1. Reliability: Provide what you promise. When Federal Express promises your package will arrive before 10:30 the next morning
    and it does; that's reliability.
2. Responsiveness: When customers ask for help or information, they want it delivered quickly and accurately.
3. Assurance: Your salespeople must be perceived as much more knowledgeable than those of the competition.
4. Empathy: Your customers should all agree that "my salesperson treats me as an individual."
5. Tangibles: Clean delivery trucks; well-designed product bulletins, catalogs and brochures; a neat, orderly workplace.

Practices of Assurance, Empathy and the development of Tangibles are all a part of the Kingdon-Nichols contribution to the success of its clients. But, remember, customer satisfaction is often a perceived quality. Your job is outstanding performance. Our job is to see that you get credit for it. RKB

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