How To Keep Customers Happy

Adré Schreuder, CEO of the business group Consulta and extraordinary professor in marketing research at the University of Pretoria co-wrote this article "How to keep customers happy" with Helena Wasserman for Finweek.

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Customer satisfaction

Think about the following concept for a while; we are living in an age where even some of our grandmothers are on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There is a constant flow of information in this digital age, but it was not always like this. Many years ago, people bought services and products on open markets and only later moved to shops and shopping malls. In those earlier days, when a person was unhappy with what a company offered, he/she would simply stand in the middle of the open market, yelling out bad propaganda about that particular company. This yielded a situation where customers would just not buy from that company anymore, because of suspicious bad service/products.

This is exactly what companies are facing in this digital age. “Word of mouth” has evolved from shouting in the middle of the street market, to simply posting a status post on Facebook. Some businesses do not realise the damage that can be done by a simple 140-character Twitter post for example. Keeping customers happy, especially in this digital era is extremely important. It is thus vital that businesses take Customer Satisfaction and Customer Experience more seriously than they currently are.

Adré Schreuder, explains that Customer Satisfaction and Customer Service refers to the difference between what consumers expect from product or service, compared to what they think they actually received. Adré is also an extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria as well as the founder and chairman of the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (http://www.sacsi.co.za) Adré emphasises that Customer Satisfaction has a scientifically proven impact on the future growth of businesses.

Customer Experience, being a more recent development, focuses on how customers enjoy every moment of interacting with a company (or not) says Adré and Helena. Companies that realise the importance of Customer Satisfaction, Service and Experience nowadays appoint Chief Customer Experience Officers, whose sole purpose is to ensure that everything a company does is done with the customer in mind. This includes every aspect of the company, from the business strategy, to the way complaints are handled by the front desk personnel. Adré and Helena say, “Successful businesses have a clear Customer Experience strategy, while companies who do not, struggle. There is a very clear disconnection between those companies and their clients.”

Let’s take two companies as examples. Capitec and Investec. Two of the highest Customer Satisfaction scores in SA, according to SAcsi. Adré and Helena explain that this is because these companies align their entire existence with their customers in mind. They will go out of their way to deliver on customer expectations. Every single component, from company processes, to company culture, must be fully aligned with their customers.

This leads to a simple conclusion. If your customers are happy, your company will prosper and form a cyclic, snowball effect. If you want to know more about what companies can do to deliver and improve consumer satisfaction, see the full article by Helena Wasserman and Adré Schreuder in Finweek.

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