Books and Workshops to build and sustain customer focus and service excellence throughout your entire organization.

Why Customer Focus Training is a Strategic Investment and NOT an Expense?

By Ray Miller

“Let me prove to you that using training to create a customer-focused organization is one of the best strategic investments you will ever make!”

Ray Miller is Managing Director of The Training Bank and author of That’s Customer Focus! and The Customer Focus Companion.

The Training Bank is a full service training and development firm which specializes in fully customizable Leadership, Customer Focus, Service Excellence, Management and Supervisory Development training.

Enhance your Customers’ Experience and sharpen your Customer Focus to differentiate your organization and build long-term loyalty and profitability.

If you need help, check out our book, That’s Customer Focus!: The Overworked and Under-appreciated Managers Guide to Creating a Customer-Focused Organization.

Everything you need know and do to create and implement your strategy is covered in this great book. 

If you would like a PDF version of this article, please click here and we will send you one.

Free Customer Focus and Customer Service Article

As an expert in this subject matter I spend a lot of time looking at research studies, customer feedback, customer commentary about various companies they deal with and customer trends. From all of these data I have compiled a list of ten compelling reasons why customer focus training should be viewed as a strategic investment.

10. 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior Customer Experience; however, only 8% of their customers agree.

This represents a significant difference in perception and since it is the customers’ perception that drives their buying behavior, this is pretty scary.

9.   Beyond price and product quality, your customers value how they are treated.

Only 12 -14% of customers leave for product reasons while 68% leave because of poor treatment by employees.

To make matters worse, believe it or not, most of your customers do not complain about poor service because they don't think it will do any good.

8.   Only about 4% of unhappy customers ever complain when it comes to how they were served; 90% do not bother to complain and simply go elsewhere.

Your customers are looking for maximum value when spending their hard-earned cash, particularly in this economy. While they will likely complain about the product or price if it is not delivered as expected, when it comes to their service experience or lack thereof, they won’t bother complaining.

7.   Depending on the report you look at, from 85% to 95% of senior business leaders believe that the next competitive differentiator is Customer Experience.

The customer experience requires the active participation of everyone in your organization. Creating and implementing a comprehensive Customer Focus strategy will differentiate your business.

6.   In this market, companies are losing at least half of their “satisfied” customers.

“Satisfy” means to provide nothing more or less than the customer expects. Customers want to deal with those who demonstrate that their business is valued. Creating a Customer-Focused Culture is a proven strategy for both short-term success and long-term growth.

5.   The average value of customers is 8 to 10 times their initial purchase depending on the research we have reviewed.

The cost to attract a new customer is 5 to 6 times more than your cost to save an existing customer.

Keeping your existing customers is cheaper and more profitable than getting new ones. Too many companies are continuing to focus their marketing efforts on obtaining new business, sometimes at the expense of their existing customers. Others are attempting to create loyalty but not providing their employees with the knowledge and tools they need to function in a way which actually creates customer loyalty.

4.   The cost of poor service ranges between 25% to 35% of your operating expenses.

Aligning internal processes and ensuring every employee understands how he or she contributes to the customer experience will reduce the cost of poor service. Why not move the total of these expenses from your expense journal to your operating profit.

3.   Low customer focus companies average a 1% Return on Sales and lose 2% market share a year. High customer focus companies historically average a 10 -12% Return on Sales and grow, on average, 5 - 6% a year.

Customer Focus is a profit strategy.

2.   A 5% increase in customer loyalty will contribute between  25% and 125% directly to your bottom line.

The potential sources of revenue are substantially greater than what it would actually cost to ensure your Organization is truly customer-focused.

1.   If you wait, it will be too late!

The time to act is now. Even your best customers are looking for the greatest value for their hard earned cash. The current economic situation has resulted in even higher expectations of service and unless your employees do everything they can to exceed these expectations now, these customers will be gone by the time the economy has turned around.

Okay, so forget about the fact that:

  1. most top business leaders believe Customer Focus is the single greatest differentiator,
  2. most of the best performing companies right now rate extremely high in customer focus,
  3.  the main reason why these company perform well is because the owners/managers/senior executive are passionate about customer focus and have enable all their employees to deliver extraordinary service from the inside out, and that
  4. most of your customers are demanding better service and they are willing to pay for it.

Just look at the numbers. You do the math! Do a couple of simple calculations based on the research findings above to determine what your return on investment could be if you got passionate about becoming truly customer-focused.

If you want to justify the investment associated with training your staff, try completing the following:

A.  What are your customers worth?

Enter the average annual amount a customer spends for your products and services:                         

B.   What is your customer attrition rate?

Enter the number of customers you lose annually:                             

(if you don’t know how to calculate this, give us a call)

C.  Multiply A X B =                            

D.  What is your net margin as a percentage of Gross income?             

E.   Multiply C X D =                             

F.   What is your current cost of poor service?

Enter your total operating expenses:                           

G.   Multiply X 5% (although research suggests 20 to 30%)                                  

H.  Add E + G =                                   

I.    What would it cost to train your employees?                           

(For third party training services this can typically range from $200 to $300 per person depending on the provider. If you don’t know, contact us and we will tell you.)

J.    Subtract I from H =                                     

K.  How much will now be added to your bottom line? (insert result from J)                                 

Most people who complete this calculation end up with a surplus. In your first year if you simply break even you are still ahead of the game. The bonus is you will stem the flow of customers leaving your company instead of replacing them with new customers who cost at least 5 times more to acquire.

While training is not a panacea and it is certainly not the only thing that needs to be done to build a customer centric culture, for many it seems to be one of the biggest obstacles, in part because it is viewed as an expense.

There is an expression, “You have to speculate to accumulate”. Proven customer focus training which is customized to reflect your strategic service goals and objectives is not speculative. It is a sound investment which can yield an exceptional return.