Only 29% of Business To Business customers are fully ‘engaged’ with their suppliers — that is, they have ‘bought in’ and feel attached to the companies they do business with. The other 71% are ready and willing to take their business elsewhere!
That’s according to a new report by Gallup, who analysed responses from over 18 million B2B customers and it reinforces the fact that customers are becoming less loyal.
Although it’s clear that many businesses are not helping themselves! Gallup’s research reveals that 20% of customers have encountered problems with a company or product in the past year, but only 40% think the supplier actually resolved their problem, and only 5% of said they are “very satisfied” with the way the company handled it! We call them ‘Disappointed’ customers, and the way they are ‘engaged’ and dealt with can have a serious impact on the business. In fact, Gallup’s analysis found that those businesses that have high customer engagement scores outperform those with lower scores by at least 30% across outcomes such as profitability, sales and customer attrition – that’s important stuff!
The vast majority of customers accept that things go wrong. It’s the way it gets dealt with that counts! Our research shows that 3D Businesses spot and ‘Deal With Disappointment’ – they look for it and, crucially, do something about it!
In fact 3D Businesses encourage customers to complain so that they can sort things out! How do they do it?
Well, here are 5 steps to consider when ‘Dealing With Disappointment’:
1. Acknowledge It!
A business that acknowledges that it got things wrong, particularly if it is ’out of character’, and deals with it effectively, can often turn ‘Disappointment’ into ‘Delight’. In other words, just because things go wrong, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost that customer. Acknowledging the problem can demonstrate that you actually care, and many will respond positively. In fact a real measure of the strength of your customer relationships is the size of ‘cock up’ you can make and still keep the business. (By the way, please don’t take this as the key learning lesson from this blog and test it to its limits!).
2. Empower For It!
As a result, the best businesses ‘empower’ their people to ‘Deal with Disappointment. I’m often sceptical about the word ‘empowerment’ because it’s so over used, but in those businesses that do it properly, things get done when things go wrong.
A simple test to see how ‘empowered’ your people really are is ‘How much can our people spend or authorise to solve a customer’s problem without having to come to senior management for ‘permission’? For example, Timpson’s allow £500 and Ritz Carlton Hotels give everyone in their business authority to spend up to $2000 to resolve a customer’s problem or deal with a complaint on the spot without having to get permission from a manager. Now, THAT’s empowerment!
3. Prepare For It!
What are the things that typically create your Disappointed customers? Why not get your people together and identify typical or regular problems, and then develop ideas and solutions to sort it out. Train them, put processes and systems to deal with disappointment.
4. Look For It!
Instead of just ‘Dealing with Disappointment’, 3D Businesses look for it. They don’t wait for complaints, they go out and find them! In fact, they probably get more complaints than others because their people are actively asking for them!
It might seem weird, but the easier you are to complain to, the more customer focussed you’re likely to be!
5. Just Deal With It!
So go on, you know it makes sense. Disappointment? Learn to look for it and ‘Deal’ with it!
‘Disappointed’ Customers are just one of the 10 D‘s Of Different Customers – a Dramatically Different way of helping you focus and maximise your sales, marketing and customer relationship management efforts and resources. For a free 20 page e-book that outlines what it means for your business click below: