Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gaining Loyalty Through Customer Service in an Uncertain Economy

Even through troubling times and economies, the strength of the customer relationship that a company builds should endure. Researching the net, I came across this great list of 10 customer service tips posted by Joe Brown, general manager of EMEA at RightNow Technologies, on

  1. Don’t discontinue an existing customer initiative in an uncertain economy — if necessary, reduce the scope of (or postpone pending improvements to) the initiative until the economy improves.
  2. Don’t wait for customer relationships to weaken or break — you can’t afford the loss of revenue or of goodwill in an uncertain economy, so proactively take steps to manage those relationships well.
  3. Customers make purchase decisions more deliberately in an uncertain economy, so give them the service and the information they need to choose your company over the competition.
  4. Customers take longer to make purchase decisions when times are tough, so bridge the gap with a sequence of individually customised communications that provide concrete information on the specific product features and benefits that fulfil their needs.
  5. Spend your budget wisely, by shifting dollars to individualised service initiatives and communications targeted to those customers who are most valuable or who are most likely to grow in value.
  6. Clearly communicate value in each customer message— empathetically explaining how and why your product is aligned with the customer’s concerns in a trying economic environment.
  7. Don’t overwhelm customers with surveys, and when a customer does respond, let them know that their feedback has been received—and, most importantly, that it is sincerely appreciated.
  8. Invest in innovation—fuelled in part by customer listening—during challenging economic times, because it can pay handsome dividends.
  9. The memories of customers will extend well beyond the end of an uncertain economy — they won’t forget (or forgive) opportunistic actions or other violations of trust, but they will remember excellent customer service.
  10. Focus upon cost savings rather than revenue generation when implementing a customer initiative — and then use those savings to fund future enhancements.

Retaining customer loyalty through turbulent times really shows the worth of your company. Follow these steps listed by Joe Brown to ensure that loyalty is not lost no matter how tough times might get.

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