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Managing image, perception and word of mouth

By Sam Elliott | Consultant

Image---articleThe age old saying the customer is always right tends to divide opinion among those who manage service businesses. But, does it really matter?

In our industry especially, the success of our business is factored by repeat visitation, which comes down to (among other things) the customer’s perception of your venue and the customer’s experience during their visit. Whether or not the customer is right is largely irrelevant. Word will spread and, typically, businesses only hear from 4% of dissatisfied customers.

We all know that news of a bad customer experience travels faster and reaches more ears than good customer experiences. To make matters more challenging for us, the statistics tell us that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

Consider the different customer experience; negative, neutral and and positive. The negative experiences are openly communicate across different platforms. The neutral experiences rarely comment, generally classed as passives. The positive experiences are less likely to openly share their positive experiences, preferring to reflect on their positive feelings and reward you with repeat visitation.

The statistics show us that news of negative customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. With the ease of sharing information today through the use of social media, blogs, messaging and the internet in general spreading news of poor experiences is simple and at our fingertips. Equally, good news can travel just as fast; however, much of these positive experiences are often not shared nearly as much as negative, even though we would hope it was the opposite.

Image, perception and word of mouth travels faster to our customers than we can often handle. But there are ways to combat the negative customer experiences and build on the positive experiences. We can achieve this by measuring our customers’ visits by surveys, focus groups or mystery shopping. The effectiveness of these projects stem in the quality and approach taken to the project. The best method for managing our customers’ experiences is to measure:

Emotions, effectiveness, cognitive attributes and behavioural aspects

Each of these measures can be implemented into various projects, each with their respective benefits. Conducting member surveys offer wider sample data and greater insights into the broader customer base, while focus groups often provide the nitty gritty of a small sample of members and mystery shopping offers a snapshot of the venue and staff service at a given point from industry experts.

Each offers their own respective benefits, but all aim to address the common theme of reducing or resolving negative experiences and boosting our customer’s positive experiences at our venues in the hope of repeat visitation.

If you would like to find out more about these methods and how they can benefit your venue, contact Sam today at sam@dws.net.au, or 0458 464 444.

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