We have all had experiences with companies whose customer service left a lot to be desired. I had one the other day that really amazed me. I was expecting a package to be delivered to my office, but instead of receiving it, I got a post card from the delivery company saying that they didn’t have enough information for the delivery, so I would have to come to one of their service centers to pick up my package or it would be returned to the sender.
Now, it is true that the sender neglected to put “company name” and “suite number” on the label, but the delivery company apparently had enough information to send me a post card. Why couldn’t they get me my package? To add insult to injury, I tried to call the delivery company to correct the problem, but I couldn’t get a “live” person on the phone to discuss the matter. The whole experience left me wondering how customer service affects the bottom line.
As it so happened, I was having breakfast the next day with a friend of mine, Rita Bargerhuff, who is an expert in retail customer strategies. Rita and I discussed business in general, and she began telling me about the Forrester Customer Experience Forum she attended in New York. The buzz at the forum was all about creating a great customer experience and how that ties to ROI. Rita was surprised by how many large, seemingly successful companies were just now determining that a sharper focus on the customer experience was needed.
Rita also shared the latest results of the Watermark Consulting Analysis central to the question “What does a company get by investing in a high-quality customer experience?” Watermark’s research details the cumulative stock returns for the companies Forrester Research’s 2007 Customer Experience Index study ranked as the Top 10 (“Leaders”) and Bottom 10 (“Laggards”) publicly traded companies in terms of customer service.
According to Watermark’s report, for a four-year-period from 2007-2011, the customer experience “Leader” portfolio outperformed the broader stock market, generating cumulative returns that were 27 percent better than the S&P 500 Index and 128 percent better than the customer experience “Laggard” portfolio.
Watermark’s analysis indicates that “companies that successfully bring great, end-to-end customer experiences to the marketplace are rewarded—by consumers and investors. Their operational excellence and attention to detail, their simple and straightforward communication, their well-equipped and genuinely helpful front-line staff—the sum of these parts pays off in the end.”
Sure makes sense to me.
Judy Pesek is managing director of the Dallas office of Gensler. Contact her at email@example.com.