Are you mining the gold from your customers?

Tips on creating customer loyalty

PHOENIX, Ariz., July 10, 2002 — If customers are truly the lifeblood of any business, why do utilities fail to promote customer loyalty in the face of deregulation and even as they attempt to broaden their revenue base with new wireless and Internet-related services?

“Most companies have a budget, marketing plan and goals for the year,” says David Saxby, president of Phoenix-based Measure-X, a company that specializes in helping utilities improve their customer service.

“But does your budget set aside money for customer retention and recognition of loyal customers? What strategies have you added to your marketing plan to strengthen the relationship you have with your customers? What goals do you have to improve the experience your loyal customers receive when they call you?”

Saxby offers the following tips on how utilities can let their customers know they care, that they do appreciate customers’ business and that they want customers’ feedback.

Reward Loyalty. Send an inexpensive promotional item to all your customers thanking them for their continued patronage. “Let them know how much you appreciate their business,” Saxby says. “A small investment in appreciation can have a big impact on customer retention. Remember, it costs six to eight times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.”

Welcome Customer Complaints. Customers will complain when they’re dissatisfied with some part of your service. Train your staff to welcome customer complaints. “Provide your staff with the tools and skills to resolve customer problems,” Saxby suggests. “Empower your employees to handle customer complaints on the spot. Poor customer service experiences travel quickly.”

Keep Your Name in Front of Your Customers. Can you remember the last time you received a phone call, note or follow-up concerning a product or service you bought? “Set up an e-mail, direct mail or newsletter campaign that keeps your name in front of your customers,” Saxby recommends. “Keep your customer base informed about sales, new product development or tips and ideas on how they can use your products and services.”

Involve Your Customers. Survey your customers frequently to ask them what they like or do not like about your products or services and what they like or do not like
about doing business with you. “Ask them what other products and services they need to see if you are possibly missing an opportunity,” Saxby says. “There are a variety of services on the Internet that can make this process easy for both you and your customers. One Web-based survey tool can be found at www.zoomerang.com.”

“Customers are human beings,” Saxby says. “They are no different than you or me. They want someone to listen to them, to treat them with respect and to show them some appreciation. Most times, it’s the little things a business does that tells the customer they are valued.”

Measure-X is a measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer service skills and employee retention. For more information on Measure-X, call 888-644-5499 or visit its Web site at www.measure-x.com.

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