B2B: 40% of happy clients now making referrals
Superior customer service is essential for businesses that serve other businesses, especially during a down economy, because over 40% of businesses will refer other business contacts by word-of-mouth if they're happy with the service they receive, according to a study by The Daniel Group.
The research involved more than 75,000 customer interviews, and found that more than 40% of highly satisfied business customers said they had referred another business to their suppliers during the past six months.
Among the study's other key findings:
- Service consistency is critical for good performance. Dealerships that customers ranked highest in satisfaction and willingness to refer were the most profitable dealerships.
- Pay attention to your corporate culture. Dealerships making the most progress in improving service created an environment more focused on delivering high quality service and less focused on discussing service delivery shortcomings.
- A customer's willingness to refer a company is strongly related to the customer's satisfaction with communication. Communication - whether in conversation, by letter, or through another channel - needs to be clear and complete.
For example, if a company's field service technicians do not feel comfortable talking to customers, or they are worried that they will be punished for saying the wrong thing to a customer, they will tend to say nothing at all - which gives an overall impression of poor and unfriendly service. According to Lynn Daniel, president for The Daniel Group, "When companies focus on what their technicians are doing well and how to fix the occasional mistake, better service is the result."
The study also found that clients using the company's own ServicePerformance programme, which provides real-time, transaction-focused feedback, reported that the rate of customer disputes were reduced by at least 50% over a 19-month period. This kind of programme involves trained interviewers contacting randomly selected customers for short interviews about recent service experiences or the products most recently purchased.