A radio discussion about British customer service made dismal listening revealing, as it did, the failure of companies to see their front-line staff as their true ambassadors and to train and pay them accordingly. The experts re-iterated the well-known facts that a satisfied customer may tell five friends, whereas a dissatisfied will spread that bad word to far many more.
Forget about your promotion, this is where real loyalty is generated and since the average supermarket customer is worth $100,000 in lifetime sales it's where your real marketing return is earned. It made the litany of call-in complaints all the more depressing, but then one listener lifted the gloom.
He described himself as a good customer of a local Indian restaurant and was delighted to note that with his take-out order, he received an ice-cold bottle of Cobra beer gratis. Then, one day his order arrived and there was no beer. He described himself as only mildly disappointed since after all, he hadn't paid for it. Ten minutes later, there's a knock at the door and there was the waiter with, you've guessed it, the cold bottle of beer.
Cost of a free beer per order - $2
Value of a truly loyal customer - let's say $1000
Value of a customer willing to praise you on national radio – priceless.