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Do You Really Know What Your Customers Think of You?

How is your company’s customer service? Pretty Good? Sure about that? According to statistics provided by Bain & Co., 80% of companies surveyed said that they offer a superior customer service experience, but only 8% of their customers agreed with them. Ouch.

Okay, so you’re not sure about your customer service. But you think it’s pretty good because your online reputation is good and you have five thousand followers on Facebook. Well, think again. In another customer relationship study conducted by IBM in 2011, companies were surveyed as to the reasons why their customers followed them on social media sites. The companies listed discounts among the least important reasons, but when the customers themselves were surveyed, they listed discounts as a major reason for following a company on a social site.

For a majority of businesses, there is clearly a disconnect as to how they believe they are viewed by their customers and how their customers actually view them. One reason for this is because so many dealerships are focused on pushing out marketing messages—whether it’s via e-mails, snail mail or other advertising channels. Even with social media, which offers an opportunity to engage with customers, many businesses fall short because they are focused more on responding to criticisms or coming up with witty or engaging content—than what the customers are saying. In short, most businesses aren’t really listening to their customers.

In today’s competitive environment, simply having a great product or service and providing a good customer experience isn’t enough. Customers now want a fantastic experience—they want to feel appreciated for their business. You may roll your eyes at that, but if you do, you will be overlooking profits. In return for a fantastic experience, customers reward you with their loyalty. We’ve all heard the statistics:

- A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75% (Bain & Co.)
- 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers (Gartner Group)
- Attracting new customers costs your company five times more than keeping an existing customer (Lee Resource International, Inc.)

A CRM may give you a response rate and ROI on dollars spent on this month’s campaign, but it gives you no indicator of what tomorrow’s campaign may do, or how customer perception will affect your revenue next year. A loyalty program, on the other hand, gives you the ability to answer the questions, ‘what do your best customers care about most?’ and ‘why are they doing business with me?’ With a loyalty program, you can easily identify, track and promote to individuals who are most likely to become loyal, long-term sources of revenue.

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