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Businesses without a customer focus will struggle

7 February 2008
 

 
Businesses without a customer focus will struggle 2008

Businesses who think that slashing prices will ensure they survive the likely economic rigours of 2008 should think again.
 
That’s according to Chris Bell, head of a Customer Experiences, a company that specialises in helping businesses improve the way in which they interact with customers and clients.
 
His comments follow ANZ Bank’s predictions today of falling house prices and a softening in private spending.
 
“Organisations who concentrate on making sure their customers consistently receive a great experience will do much better than those that are focused only on price as their competitive advantage.”
 
In a recent global survey carried out by U.S. management consultancy Accenture, 47% of respondents said their service expectations were met only sometimes, rarely or never.
 
“We’re already seeing signs of a softer economy – some businesses have already come unstuck while others are certainly showing signs of strain.  That picture is likely to worsen as interest rates are set to remain at current high levels along with rising food and transport costs,” Bell says.
 
“Businesses need to develop a sustainable competitive advantage, one that will ensure greater customer loyalty, lower marketing costs and lower staff turnover.”
 
Bell says that while chief executives understand the need for a cohesive customer service package, many do not know how to go about making changes.
 
“ In my work with businesses, I’ve found that they do not lack intention or initiative but they sometimes expect a quick fix. Throughout the business world customer related activities have been undertaken as initiative programmes. They run for a short period but are never embraced as a full operational strategy.
 
“Organisations readily tout ‘going the extra mile’ to ‘total customer commitment’. They detail their intentions in brochures and advertising but it’s not working. Intentions and initiatives are many, but sustainable success is rare.
 
“For a customer centric strategy to be successful, it must have total commitment from every level of an organisation. Customers are not listening to what you say - they are watching what you do.
 
“The most powerful influence on a customer’s experience is your people. Their ability to wow your clients will have a major financial impact on both referrals and additional business. Bad experiences will lead to a negative financial impact, both in terms of lost business and damaged reputation.
 
“Business has an important choice to make in 2008; continue to pay lip service to the importance of your people and customers and suffer the consequences or adopt a total customer centric approach based on the quality of the experience you consistently deliver.” - chris@customerexperiences.co.nz
 
ends


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