My role as a business coach many times focuses on helping business owners understand the importance of mastering the basic expectations of their customers. And believe me, it is these basic practices, poorly managed, that create the perception of poor customer service at the COST of losing the customer.

The cost of losing a customer is rarely examined. But if you’re a business person/business owner today, you had better know what that is. The cost of losing any customer at any business can be devastating. But I want to focus on one in particular just to make a point. The issue was emphasized recently in the financial services world. This includes the business of professional financial planning and financial advisors and a follow-up to an in-depth study conducted on the volatility of high net worth individuals.

The Millionaire Investor 2010 Study focused on investors with a net worth of $1 million to $5 million dollars. The number one reason cited for millionaires leaving their financial advisor was the advisor not returning phone calls in a timely manner (73%) followed by slow e-mail response (56%); and after that an advisor that wasn’t proactive in contacting them (56%). Surprisingly these reasons were higher than frustrations about getting good financial advice.

The real truth here is that this is a huge issue no matter what business that you’re in today, there are just too many alternative and competitive options and no one, and I mean no one, has to do business with you. It’s fairly simple really; customers of all kinds simply want service! Plain and simple, they just want service.  It works this way…The customer calls you….you call them back as soon as you can and in a timely manner. And customer perception is everything!

Business guru, Harvey Mackay says, “I seldom do business with people that aren’t accessible.” He goes on to say, “If I can’t reach you immediately, I want to know that you will get back to me within minutes or hours, not days! If you’re slow to answer calls, your phone will STOP ringing!”

I recently had a client who painfully believed that all customers should and will adapt to his schedule. His voice mail message said, “Thank you for calling. I’m not available and your call is important. Please leave a message at the tone and I assure you that I’ll return your call within 48 hours.”

He’s now out of business.

Building the perception of accessibility is the key. This does not mean that you’re a slave to your customer and available at their beck and call. It does mean that they clearly understand that you are accessible. If they call you will call back. The bottom line is that if you depend on your customers business, they MUST be able to depend on you!

As always, BE GREAT

Coach Dan

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