When is 95% less than 20%? When the 95% is wrong!

In my day to day activities I meet with 250 – 350 small business owners a year who are considering selling a business for one reason or another. In discussing their business the topic of customer service is brought up by me. The reason it is discussed is because significant value is added to a business with a loyal and happy customer base.

It is extremely rare (I can only remember 1 instance is last 5 years) when the business owner actually has any real data to determine their performance. In most cases the owner doesn’t even track the number of complaints the business receives each year. Nor do they track repeat customers.

So therefore, in my discussions with the business owner what I am told about customer service is what the business owner thinks is true as opposed to any evidence it is true.

When I ask the question “How is your customer service?” about 95% of the time the answer is “good” or “great”!!

In thousands of discussions with business owners over the years I have never had a business owner answer, “Our service is really lousy but we’re the cheapest in town so some customers put up with it.” I may not have gotten that answer from business owners but it has been true for many, many businesses.

So….. 95% of the business owners think their service is good or great. Hmmmm, I consistently see customer surveys whose results state that customers get good or great service less than 20% of the time. I wonder which is closer to true?

Why don’t most business owners track their customer service results? My guess is they really don’t want to know the answer. If they knew the answer they would be faced with the choice of ignoring the issue or doing the hard work of fixing their customer service problems.

If you are a small business owner which category do you fit into:

  1. You know (through reliable data and survey results) what your customers think and you manage your business to improve your customer service?
  2. You don’t really know what your customers think about your service and you really don’t want to find out.

 If you are serious about increasing the value of your business and your profits it’s time to take customer service issues seriously.