When my kids were very young, we played a little game while on long car rides. ‘Let’s make different animal sounds ‘ We would joke with them that if the back seat were very quiet, that “there must be a giraffe in the car” as the misconception goes (more on that near the end), a giraffe does not make any notable sounds. It was also a bit of trick to quiet the car, as silence during a long trips is sacrosanct.
For modern businesses, customer silence is not a good sign. As the data points below suggest interaction and conversation are extremely important. My question to group is, how can/should SocialCRM facilitate a change? A study by the Strategic Planning Institute (I do not have access to the original work) suggests the following:
- The average business does not receive complaints from 96% of its unhappy customers;
- At least 9 out of 10 non-complainers will not do business with the company again – they are gone forever;
- Of the 4% of unhappy customers that do complain, 7 out of 10 will do business again with the company so long as their concern in handled properly, and 19 out of 20 if the grievance is dealt with swiftly.
Without the original study, I may need to take a couple ‘leaps of faith’ or rely upon others who have read the original study in order to push the conversation. We can therefore consider this more a of qualitative discussion, versus pure quantitative.
Kevin Lawrence (2000) author, speaker, and business building coach suggests “Businesses encounter real problems far more often because customers don’t complain, and the absence of customer complaints is usually a bad sign” as they don’t feel comfortable voicing their concerns or not enough is being done to obtain their feedback. He believes that “If people feel that they are being listened to, understood and valued, they will usually give you a second chance”. (reference)
The real question now is how can Social Media, or more importantly, the combination of Social Media and CRM – aka SocialCRM alter the basic behavior? I believe that it can, but the path the customer takes may not always be the path we would like. We used to have a saying at work, called “Brave behind email” This is a person, you know the type, often sending damning emails, full of finger pointing, emotion and a couple of loosely tied facts – oh, their boss was either copied, or worse BCC. But meet them face-to-face and they are as nice as can be, all smiles.
In the current world, the new (or alternative to) ‘brave behind email’ is Facebook, Twitter, Blogs or YouTube. In the social realm people are more empowered (they feel it, they act it). Does this empowerment remove the barrier to confrontation? My take is that while it does not remove the barrier, it does allow people to make their opinion known by a very vocal, but more indirect means – Social Media.
There is no doubt that for the 4%, good CRM practices, listening, acting quickly showing empathy will indeed help companies to continue to work with that 4%, but that is a small number. The real benefit is to get to the 96% and alter their thinking, how can SocialCRM help there? Do you think that within the 96% some subset are actually now going to be more vocal through indirect means? Giraffes do make noise, just not that many, and not that often.
I also owe a bit of thanks to John Moore for a ReTweet that got me thinking, thanks John.