Two Rules for Customer Retention

February 7th, 2012
Steven Howard

In his blog earlier this week, Seth Godin asked "who is your customer?" He then proffered two rules that clearly summarize our philosophy that customer retention is the art of keeping good customers™: Rule one: You can build a business on the foundation of great customer service. Rule two: The only way to do great customer service is to treat different customers differently.   There is a great deal of truth in the …

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What Customers Say About Corporate Branding

January 23rd, 2012
Steven Howard

The recently released The Company Behind the Brand: In Reputation We Trust study from Weber Shandwick makes an interesting read. Not only does this research study confirm the basic tenets of my book Corporate Image Management: A Marketing Discipline, but it also provides a handy way of look at what the PR firms calls the 6 New Realities of Corporate Reputation. However, the part of the research report I liked best were the …

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Consumers Ready to Boycott Irresponsible Companies

November 6th, 2011
Steven Howard

A whopping 93% of global consumers are willing to boycott a company for irresponsibility or deceptive business practices, and more than half (56%) say they already have. These are some of the most revealing findings in the 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study, which was conducted earlier this year with 10,000 consumers in 10 major countries accounting for approximately half of the world's population. Consumers across the world are highly engaged and, while …

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Is Customer Loyalty Dead?

September 14th, 2011
Steven Howard

A better question: do brands deserve customer loyalty? Is customer loyalty dead? In a word, no — although it certainly seems to be comatose most of the time. Perhaps a more accurate answer would be: for the most part, yes. Customer loyalty, of course, differs for brand to brand and organization to organization. As we noted in this Steven Howard Marketing Blog post, a read of the latest Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders list shows …

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Consumers Want Customer Service Over Lowest Prices

September 12th, 2011
Steven Howard

Consumers have little to no desire to trade customer service for lower prices. One of the most interesting findings in the latest Accenture Global Consumer Survey study of 5,800 consumers in 17 countries was this: More than half of global consumers (54%) are not willing to compromise on levels of customer service,  produce options or product quality in exchange for lower prices. Even more phenomenal, as we pointed out in this week's Monday …

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Customer Service Satisfaction Drops and Consumers Leave

September 8th, 2011
Steven Howard

Customer retention affected by poor customer service. Consumers are not getting what they want in terms of customer service. Those are the clear findings of the latest Accenture Global Consumer Survey, which has been conducted annually for the past six years. The study researched over 5,800 people in 17 countries and asked about their attitudes and behaviors in purchasing from 10 major industries. Satisfaction with customer service declined in all 11 characteristics measured …

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Customers Continue to Change Service Providers

September 6th, 2011
Steven Howard

Almost two-thirds switch due to poor service. The annual Accenture Global Consumer Survey always makes for fascinating reading. In the latest results, the sixth in this yearly series, trends seen in recent years continue: 64% of consumers have switched companies in the past year due to poor customer service. Consumers in emerging markets are now more likely to change service providers than those in mature markets. This is seen across all industries, but …

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Developing Loyal Customers

September 5th, 2011
Steven Howard

7 Steps for Keeping Good Customers. As marketers, we all know the importance of loyal customers. The general rule of thumb is that it costs 5 to 10 times more (in actual marketing dollars) to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a good customer. So why isn't more attention given to customer retention programs? Especially when competition continues to become keener and the options available to customers become more numerous …

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Don’t Ask and They Won’t Tell

September 1st, 2011
Steven Howard

Understanding Why Customers Leave Very few organizations ever call former customers to ask why they have taken their business elsewhere. And that is a mistake. I coach my clients to conduct on-going research with lost customers, with a focus on asking three pertinent questions: have they experienced any problems or disappointments with the quality of the product delivered? Have they experienced any problems or disappointments with the service delivery? What would it take …

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Your Service Problems Are 20 Times Greater Than Your CEO Thinks

August 30th, 2011
Steven Howard

Senior Management Do Not Hear of 95% of Service Problems. Customer research surveys show that only 50 percent of all customers complain about service problems. Ninety percent of these complaints are made only to the frontline person serving them, or perhaps to their immediate supervisor. Only 10% of customer complaints are given directly (or indirectly) to senior management. As a result, top management typically hears only about 5% of all customer service issues! …

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