Up until three or four years ago, an individual consumer did not have a lot of power when it comes to affecting a business and their bottom line. That is not in any way true today. The internet has given the individual incredible power when it comes to how a business does, and that is only going to become more and more true.
We are just now beginning to see the regular use of ratings sites. Websites such as Yelp.com, Google Places or Glassdoor.com are only going to grow in use and popularity. This means that your customers are going to become more savvy and every problem that your people create for your customers is going to have a megaphone that is just as big if not bigger than your what marketing and PR budget can buy. This does not even include that fact that Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms allow for instant reviews spread to a small group of people who will listen and follow the reviewer emphatically.
What does this mean for business? It means that the poor customer service transaction that just happened matters, a lot. Five years ago, that customer might have gone off and complained to ten of their friends. Now, with one sentence they can tell millions of people in a few seconds. It means that your employees who are complaining about and criticizing you and your company can tell everyone every single problem that is occurring. If you thought privacy was a concern for the individual, what about that high level employee who knows company secrets and feels like the company does not care about them or the problems they are having. You might be able to pursue legal action after they have done something, but at that point it is already done.
It is not just the individual you need to worry about at this point either. Many industries are starting to base funding, compensation and bonuses off of what their customers are telling them. Many health care organizations are moving to reimbursements being given only if you are at a certain level of customer satisfaction. Looking at it from the customer’s perspective, what if I am having elective surgery and I see that another hospital has a 2% higher customer satisfaction rating than your hospital. Which hospital do you think I am going to choose?
Another industry that will see huge changes because of this will be financial advisers. If I am working with someone on how much money I will have later in life and on into retirement, you had better believe that I am going to research who is getting the best reviews and who is recommended by my friends and family.
So what does this mean for the state of business? It means that organizations, companies, not-for-profits and everyone else is going to have to focus on more than just the systems. They are going to have to focus on their people. More and more, customer service and employee satisfaction are going to matter. Because if you have 10,000 customers who are happy and only one customer who feels slighted, who do you think is more likely to go out and talk about you? If you have one department in your organization where people are infighting and angry, you had better bet that they are going to tell people.
To prove my point, answer these two thoughts for yourself: 1. Name the last time that you received terrible customer service. 2. Name the last time that you received above and beyond customer service. For most people I run across, they could come up with story after story for number one, and would be hard pressed to come up with anything recent for number two.
The great part is that this works both ways. If you are constantly blowing your customers away, they will talk. Now they can tell everyone, everywhere. You can get a real, international reputation for your local business, or a local feel for your international business.
M.A. wrote this in response to this article: Your article does resonate with me. We do our best to manage social media sites and privacy but it is like trying to stop a tidal wave at times. 🙂 It is true, people will post whenever they are unhappy and that goes for the families we work with and the employees that work for us. Quality service and good customer service have a far reaching impact that employees do not realize.
I am excited. Everyday I get to help businesses make life better and easier for their people and their customers. I see a chance to make dealing with businesses be a good thing. I see the opportunity to make going to work an exciting endeavor. If you would like your customers or employees to feel that way, get in contact with me. You can call me at 515.724.3163 or email me at Ryan dot Lynch at Dale Carnegie dot com. I am here to help.