Friday, May 11, 2007

The Key to Keeping Customers

This article was recently featured in the Financial Post.

'Show me the service,' Canadian consumers say

OTTAWA - "Show me the service," could be the mantra of Canadian consumers, according to survey results that suggest most feel the best way a company can show its appreciation to its customers is by providing good service.

And consumers in this country are more likely to feel they have received good, even great service, from Canadian companies than they have from companies in other countries, according to the TD poll results released Wednesday.

Three out of four said "just show me good service" was the best way for companies to express appreciation for their business, far outranking any other forms of thanks, including a gift, cited by just 13 per cent, or a donation to charity, picked by only seven per cent.

However, what Canadians mean by good service varies from region to region, with Quebecers most likely to choose "respect" as the most important aspect of service to them, Atlantic Canadians "friendliness, and other Canadians "knowledgeable" service.

The findings confirm some well-established tenets of customer service, the analysis of the survey results said, noting, for example, that more than 80 per cent agreed that one experience can make or break their relationship with a particular brand or company, and that 94 per cent say they have shared both their good and bad customer experiences with friends and family.
Eight in 10 Canadians also claim that those shared experiences have influenced the purchasing habits of others.

The results also suggest that the word-of-mouth method of expressing discontent is used more than formal complaint channels, with just six in 10 saying they have complained in writing to at least one company about bad service.

"Canadians' passion for the topic of customer service is astonishing," said Tim Hockey, TD Canada Trust's group head of personal banking.

Overall, Canadian companies get high marks for providing service.

Just over three-quarters say Canada is the best place for service from any type of company, well ahead of the U.S., which was selected by just eight per cent, and everywhere else with scores of four per cent or less.

However, only 62 per cent said they have received "great service" in the past month, ranging from about 70 per cent in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia to a low of just over 50 per cent in Quebec and Alberta. And 14 per cent of Albertans said it's been more than a year since they experienced great service while 10 per cent of Quebecers said they "never" have.
While Canadian companies may be doing a better job servicing customers than other countries, the results suggest they have to keep trying to do better, Hockey said.

The online "loyalty" poll of 1,000 adult Canadians, conducted last month by Ipsos Reid, is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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