Mitch Reno from US financial services firm Rehmann, a member of Nexia International, discusses how listening to customers and giving them precisely what they want — time after time — is key to business success.

UK businesses lose an estimated £12bn annually due to poor customer service, while US businesses lose an estimated US$83bn. In today’s highly pressured and competitive business world, everyone knows that while positive first impressions are important, relying on them is not enough. Every impression that follows must be just as good… or even better.

Research says that for every bad experience, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for it.1 And almost all (95%) dissatisfied customers will tell others about their negative experiences.

Exceeding your customers’ expectations and making every impression a good one is the best way to build a loyal, long-term customer base. Here are some ideas on how to achieve this.

Do what it takes to keep your customers happy

Successful companies recognise that keeping their customers happy is integral to the future health and success of their business, with research showing that 86% of customers will pay more for better experiences. No matter your industry, it’s important to listen to your customers and meet or even exceed their expectations of a great experience.

Act on customer feedback

Surveys are an opportunity for customers to affect the quality and desirability of the products and services they buy. From the products that are developed to the way services are delivered, customers are now in the driver’s seat when it comes to creating the experience they want to have in the future. Research shows that 70% of the companies ranked as providing “best-in-class” customer experiences use their customer feedback and reviews to improve their service.

Focus on what customers want most

Every customer is unique and will have different expectations according to what’s most important to them. The priority of some will be quality deliverables — on time, every time, without hassle — while others may want innovative ideas and proactive outreach.

Research shows that it’s between six and seven times more expensive to attract new clients than it is to retain existing ones, so delivering exactly what your clients have ask for — and more — is extremely worthwhile.

Take action today

According to research, 89% of customers will switch brands due to negative customer experiences, so the time to raise the bar is now. Most companies really want to have special relationships with their customers. Opening up communication is the first step in making this happen.