In the past, I have written about the importance of consistency in delivering a great service experience. In my opinion, you will likely win at the service game if you deliver good, no great, customer service consistently (rather than having it great one time, average the next, and not-so-good the next time). I want to highlight a critical component of delivering consistently great customer service which is not taking loyal customers for granted.
Almost every day we read about another merger or acquisition. For example, Bunzl, a London-based logistics and distribution company, made 22 acquisitions just last year, and AB InBev is moving closer to joining with SAB Miller. Yet, a recent Gallup organization study caused me to consider the limits of a growth strategy designed by acquisitions versus one based on organic expansion.
I recently had the opportunity to visit one of our client’s service and sales location. I particularly wanted to meet the team at this agricultural equipment dealer because of their sound performance on our survey program. After spending several hours there, I came away with several observations.
First, they have designed their processes to actually serve customers. Second, employees appeared quite engaged in what they were doing. Lastly, there was a palpable sense of pride in what they were doing. The visit provided many insights into how to deliver excellent customer service.
In many business-to-business markets, value-added distributors are used to get products to the end-user. Well-known companies such as Grainger, Fastenal, and Ferguson Supply are examples of distributors that offer a broad range of products to a wide variety of industries. Such companies are typically non- or low-valued added distributors. They stock inventory from a variety of suppliers, market it to the end customer and typically provide product delivery.
When a customer gives you the highest possible scores on satisfaction and loyalty, it’s understandable that you may feel compelled to declare victory and shift your attention to the next relationship. Time to break out the champagne! Unfortunately, you may want to wait before popping the cork. We find that in a surprising number of the surveys we perform, highest-score customers also offer negative feedback in their open-ended comments. So, while you may have scored a 10-out-of-10, your work is not yet done.