‘If you don’t appreciate your customers, someone else will.’ (Jason Langella)
The restaurant came highly recommended and, as it was a special treat to eat out on this occasion, we had high hopes and expectations. The food was reasonable but the drinks were flat. We paid the bill and left, determined not to go there again. And therein lies one of the challenges for retailers in the UK. Many people are too polite to complain but they simply don’t return. ‘Was everything OK with the meal?’ ‘Yes, thank you.’ Big mistake. How about, ‘We hope you enjoyed your meal. In fact, we’ll give you a £5 discount off off your bill if you could suggest just 1 improvement for next time?’
That’s the way to do it. Take seriously the customer experience, elicit useful suggestions and increase the likelihood of a return. This resonates with what I heard at a Balanced Scorecards and Strategy Maps workshop. We were told that the CEO of supermarket giant Tesco doesn’t ask for reports on how many customers visit the stores, but how many come back. Repeat business. That’s the idea and it’s one of the purposes of loyalty cards: to see who returns. Remember too that just 1 unhappy customer can spread the news of a bad experience to other potential customers like wildfire.
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