Open Your Ears

First things first: I swear this post isn’t about golf.ClickZ

I recently joined a new golf club. What has impressed me so far has been the proactive customer service.  After almost every round I receive a quick (5 questions) survey about my experience at the club that day. Was the course in good shape? The food ok? Any staff issues? I also received a survey last week since it was the end of a half-year. That was a more in-depth questionnaire (but not burdensome). I know, by the way, that these are being read because I made a comment on one of them and the club GM sought me out to answer it in person after my next round. I’ll admit that this is an extreme and I can see where it might be annoying for many consumers to have a follow-up post-mortem after each interaction.

I’ll also admit that I’m baffled by the companies that ignore the basic customer feedback mechanisms they already have in place. Name a business without a Twitter account or a Facebook page or at least a website with a “contact us” button. Pretty hard to do. Yet studies show that 45% of consumers will abandon a purchase if they can’t get answers to their questions. They use social channels to get them and yet businesses keep ignoring them. At least a third of these interactions go unanswered.

So in the words of the Jerky Boys, open your ears, jackass. As you can see in the graphic from ClickZ, the differences in long-term results for a business are very tied to how that business services its customers. Negative experiences have ripples as dissatisfied folks tell their friends, post reviews, and go elsewhere. If they’re doing so via social channels, and most are, then isn’t it incumbent upon every business to listen and react? Especially to the customers who come to you for a response first?

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