CEOs say quality customer service yields highest ROI

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 3, 2001

A new survey reveals that CEOs of leading companies place customer service top of the list for both business growth and ROI.

The CEOs of some 87% of companies surveyed by professional services organisation, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, put quality of service at the top of their lists of what will be very important to their company's business growth over the next twelve months. Next came product improvements and extensions (62%), information technology (59%), advertising and sales promotion (58%) and development of entirely new product lines (49%).  E-business trailed in tenth place with 26% and new business acquisitions followed with 25%. Strangely, neither staff retention nor training appeared at all in the list of 13 sources.

Return on investment
When asked what the sources of the most profitable return for each dollar invested were expected to be, 31% chose quality of service to customers, 16% chose the development of entirely new product lines and 11% chose product improvements or extensions. E-business tied with franchising for last place, with only 1% choosing it.

According to G. Steve Hamm, managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers' middle market advisory services, "These fast growth businesses owe much of their success to being market driven. They understand the rewards and benefits of serving their customers well."

Non-tech vs Tech
The survey, the PriceWaterhouseCooper Trendsetter Barometer, also revealed that more non-tech (91%) than high tech (83%) businesses cited quality of service as top of the list. Hamm suggests that non-tech businesses must often struggle for competitive differentiation, and consequently may have a somewhat greater focus on the service aspects of their operations.

"It has long been said that quality customer service is the seed of a repeat purchase, and now here's proof that it is also the most cost-effective growth source," said Hamm. "For cost-effectiveness, nothing else comes close."

The Trendsetter Barometer is developed and compiled with assistance from the opinion and economic research firm BSI Global Research, Inc. The CEOs of 410 product and service companies identified in the media as the fastest growing U.S. businesses over the last five years were surveyed. The surveyed companies range in size from approximately US$1 million to US$50 million in revenue/sales.

For more information about Barometer surveys, including recent economic trend data and topical issues, visit

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