“A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.” – Henry Ford
ARE YOU CERTAIN THAT ALL YOUR customers are completely happy? If you are not, why not? The most important responsibility you have as a retail owner is to make certain that every single person who comes into contact with your business isn’t merely satisfied; they have to be delighted. In the majority of cases, the sad reality is that customers are left with either a feeling of apathy or disappointment. Here are some personal examples.
While giving me a haircut last Wednesday, my hairdresser told me that she had been invited to a wedding and needed to buy a gift. “Why don’t to you try to find something from Myer” I suggested. “You can never find anyone to serve you”, she replied. I have heard this same complaint before. I have heard it too many times… and this situation frustrates me because I care about Myer and I expect it to be better. What is the point of spending even one dollar to attract customers only to disappoint them when they try to buy from you?
Last week I applied to have my home phone number entered into the Do Not Call Register. Many of the nuisance calls I received were from phone companies trying to offer me a better deal. The key point here is that at no time did I receive a call from my existing phone company! Optus CEO Kevin Russell was refreshingly frank when interviewed on the ABC’s Inside Business this weekend.
Mr. Russell described how the commonly used customer metric, the net promoter score, showed support for Australian telcos had continued to plummet. He said five years ago the average for the Australian telcos was minus 31, and now it is minus 41. In the UK the score has risen from minus 18 to plus 20, and in the US from minus 19 to plus 24. Optus’s score was slightly better than the Australian average at minus 24.
”It’s better than the industry … we’re arguably the best of a bad bunch,” he said. “It’s not good enough. “Three things we got wrong. I think the whole market has chased customers, we’ve chased sales ahead of looking after existing customers and at times that has meant that new customers frankly get better deals than loyal existing customers. “Sales… have not been controlled as tightly as they should have been, and I think too much investment has gone into buying customers and not enough investment into improving service.” I can only wonder how Kevin Russell’s predecessor, Paul O’Sullivan and the rest of the Optus management hierarchy, – and for that matter the management hierarchy of every other Australian telco – can justify their extremely inflated salaries.
Finally, let me leave you with this thought.
According to the ABS, cat. no. 4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, March Quarter 2012, in 2010, the median length of marriage before separation was 8.8 years. IF A COUPLE, presumably deeply in love, stands in front of their nearest and dearest family and friends, and swears that they will remain joined together in marriage ”until death do us part” yet on average in a mere handful of years separates, how tenuous is the relationship you have with your customers?