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PMay 8, 2012

John Patterson at the EDiS Institute: Your Customers are Smarter Than Ever

Something peculiar happened to your customers during the great recession, they became Wired and Dangerous.  That’s what John Patterson, customer loyalty expert, told us at the 2012 EDiS institute on April 19th.

CUniatowski041912-080Customers now-a-days are not only online, but they are connecting with one another, forming opinions of your company based on the experiences of others, and they’re spreading the word…at lightning speed.  They are turning to their social networks for suggestions, or searching Yelp or Angie’s List for personal recommendations. These recommendations, which may share tales of bad customer service, have staying power on the web.  Consider this statistic that John shared, 79% of gripes that are shared online are ignored.  The voices of people that are angry and then ignored are magnified on the Internet.  Their voices on blogs and tweets can be shared around the world in the blink of an eye.  There are likely customers of yours out on blogs and social media sites sharing tales of their experiences with your firm.  Those stories are never more than a Google search away from future customers.  Are you prepared to leverage positive experiences as an advantage to your business? Or ignore irate customers at your own peril while you lose future business you never even knew existed?    John told the story of Dave Carroll, a musician who had his expensive Taylor guitar broken by United Airlines while traveling.  After the traditional routes of resolution didn’t work, Dave wrote a song and made a video for YouTube.  That video now has over 11 million views, and is believed to have cost United 180 million dollars.

wired-and-dangerous-3dJohn shared with the audience of over 400 that the most important reason for loyalty to a product or service is customer “experience” over quality and even over price!   When there is a product or service breakdown, the opportunity for the company to “make it right” can increase loyalty dramatically.  Customers want to be listened to, and all too often companies resort to, as John says, “High Tech without High Touch.”  This means that companies look to technology to interact with customers, but forget that a human touch can resolve many issues when there is a breakdown.

Your customers don’t want to leave you, they want to be loyal to your company. It’s up to you to hear their concerns, address their problems, and deliver a remarkable customer experience.  Invest in this methodology and you’ll generate an “advocate” for your business that even the best marketing campaigns can’t replicate, and it’s far cheaper.

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