Every organisation thinks they give great service. If they’re small, because they’re, well, small – and personal, I suppose. Not for profits because their hearts are in the right place. Large companies because they pay consultants for that.
The reality is that most Australian organisations give poor service. Slow to respond, lacking in knowledge and not always especially interested.
This is an acid truth of business. Organisations avoid knowing it by not having their service independently tested, so they can continue to feel warm and fuzzy and run their operations on false premises.
Other commonly painful truths include what people really know and think about you and your company (how many even know you exist), what your opposition’s customers think about you, how your product or service compares with the competition, how loyal your customers are, how your staff really feel about your big, happy family and what kind of product or service people would really like to have.
Finding out all this is a consulting package I’ve planned but never sold.
So, I don’t expect you’ll be calling me on this one, but for the record I’m Michael Woodhouse from Glide. My number is 0417 928 904 and my email is Michael@glide.co, that’s dot co for company.
Check out the video (1:37)
Several studies over the last decade have reported businesses failing to respond to 30% to 40% of internet/email inquiries. Higher for small businesses of course, but many big companies are not that much better.
If you put on your consumer hat, you'll remember more than once recently when your determined attempts to spend money with some retailer were thwarted. Sometimes it's a fairly solid reason like no stock, but often enough it's more like "no interest".
Are you sure these things don't happen to people who approach your organisation? Sure because you've tested, or sure because you just think/wish it so?
Most organisations avoid actually testing, measuring and documenting their customer performance. Ignorance is certainly more comfortable, but also less profitable.
Failure to transact with a willing customer who has approached you is a spectacularly expensive and damaging business failure. Expensive not just for the loss of revenue, but for the cost of getting that customer to you.
Consider what you do to get a customer. You set up a business. Employ people. You make or buy things, services. You advertise. Get a website. Brochures. You network.
To determine the cost of getting a customer to your door or your inbox, find out or estimate how many customer transactions you get each year. Now find out your total annual cost of operating. Divide. The answer may be pretty shocking.
You spend all that money to get someone to your door or inbox, shouldn't you do everything possible to achieve the final step – a sale? If the email is ignored or the interaction blown, that's how much you have to spend to get another customer.
(Perhaps you think I'm overstating this, dividing your total cost of operating by your customer numbers, rather than, say, just your marketing costs? Unless your organisation exists for a purpose other than clients, everything you spend is in pursuit of sales. If an action doesn't facilitate or support sales, you shouldn't be doing it. So your entire organisation exists to achieve customer transactions.)
My bet is that sales lost after customer contact would exceed net profit for most companies. Maybe that's where your profits went, not to an overseas online shop or a cheap import – but out your door.
Similarly, effort spend improving conversion of customer inquiries usually yields a far better return than the same effort spent trying to attract new sales. For a salesperson, it almost always beats cold calling for return on effort.
If you'd like to look honestly at the facts of how your business is performing, talk with us.