Corpcentre's Blog

November 6, 2009

Happiness is the Key to a Successful Business

More than 40 years ago, a classic episode of The Flintstones featured a segment that was ahead of its time. Fred’s wife, Wilma, stars on a television program and sings the Rockenspiel jingle. Those who remember this episode will recall that the song instructs wives to make their hubby happy.
 
     Even the creators of those stone-age characters realized that happiness is crucial to business growth. Entrepreneurs across the business spectrum share common goals in their desire to secure their profitable share of the market. That which divides business leaders in their quest is the method of how to constantly reach those goals. Believe it or not, some of the greatest business success stories have discovered that happiness is the key factor to continued growth.
 
     Of course, one might argue that happiness is an intangible factor that cannot be measured.  The truth, though, is that happiness can be measured. More than 30 years ago, a consultant named Fred Reichheld created a measuring system called the Net Promoter Score (NPS). The method is quite simple. After completing a sale or service, the customer is asked to rate the likelihood of their recommending the company to a friend or colleague. Low scores (detractors) are subtracted from the high scores (promoters) and passives (mid-range scores) are left out of the equation. The result is the Net Promoter Score.
 
     According to Mr. Reichheld’s studies, world class companies scored an NPS of 20 – 50. Some score much higher. The more aggressive companies measure their NPS daily and analyze results to look for patterns of what makes their customers happy. By repeating those patterns, they can keep customer happiness high and continue their success. Conversely, they can also track the issues that bother customers and try to eliminate those unhappiness factors.
 
     Remember, a happy customer is a loyal customer, and a loyal customer is repeat business and recommendations.
 
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August 27, 2009

Negative Reviews about your Business are Positive

Filed under: customer service,entrepreneurs,recession,small busines — corpcentre @ 11:22 pm

It may sound illogical and absurd but analysts and businesses alike have found that inviting negative criticism can be used to your advantage.

While negative criticism of a service or product is hardly a novel concept, providing a forum for, and encouraging, this type of feedback has only recently come into vogue. Online businesses, which have highly accessible conduits of information, have learned that negative reviews by customers need not be damaging. In most instances, the customer has a legitimate concern. Listening and responding to the customer may be in the best interest of the business. For example, a customer who has used a product may be able to suggest a subtle improvement that will seriously enhance the product. If several customers make the same or similar suggestion, the prudent business owner may be wise to employ this suggestion. Similarly, the average consumer is aware that opinions are as different as people. However, being able to express that opinion, and knowing that it is being listened to, is extremely important.

While many websites print customer reviews, the savvy buyer knows that only glowing reviews of a product or service are hardly unlikely. Studies have shown that less than 25 per cent of only shoppers will not consider shopping on a site that contains some negative reviews. On the other hand, similar studies have shown that customers are most likely to shift their loyalty to sites that have responded to complaints or criticism, offering either compensation or replacement. The finest product has no value without purchasing customers. Listening and responding to customers is an ideal way to secure their loyalty. Another study recently concluded that customers want to know if a product has any weaknesses. It helps set realistic expectations of a product. In an imperfect world, we all learn to cope with reality. Online shopping is a major part of our world and business owners should not forget that real people are shopping in their virtual stores.

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August 17, 2009

The Value of Customer Service

Filed under: canadian business,customer service,small busines — corpcentre @ 10:12 pm

At the end of the day, your product may be outstanding and you may provide terrific value, but, let’s face it, times are tough for small businesses. People are spending less today. Many businesses have limited funds available to maintain or increase sales. What, then, is a business to do? The answer lies with your most important resource: your customers.

It all boils down to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Maintaining your customer base is vital. Therefore, it’s important to know what the customer is thinking. Businesses have to establish methods to listen to their customers and, no less important, to respond. Customer feedback should be viewed as a gift to your business.

Far too many businesses have become unreachable, preferring to communicate with their customers via text messages or e-mails. They have forgotten the importance of the personal touch. When was the last time you initiated telephone contact with a long standing customer to see why they have reduced their orders? One telephone call may be a terrific investment. You may discover that the customer has new needs or has been upset by a small matter that you were unaware of. Informal surveys can provide a wealth of information to help strengthen your business.

Business owners should not fear confrontation with the “disgruntled customer” as opening a Pandora’s Box. Studies have shown that most disgruntled customers will not voice their opinion but will simply take their business elsewhere. Only 4% of disgruntled customers have mere complaints. Most have legitimate issues. The same studies have concluded that a 5% increase in customer loyalty can have a direct positive long term increase on a company’s bottom line by anywhere from 25% – 125%.

The business owner who invests time in customer service is making a wise investment in these difficult financial times.

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