Customer Satisfaction: Your Most Cost-Effective Marketing Tool

When many firms do marketing, they spend thousands, if not millions, of dollars on advertising: newspaper, radio, television, billboards; anything that builds awareness of their product or service and gets the customer to buy it.  Then, in bad economic times such as these, advertising and marketing are the first things they cut.

One would think that when customers aren’t buying, marketing spending should be stepped up to keep the company’s products and services front-and-center in the customer’s mind.  Yet, the companies all say that the results of their marketing were too costly to justify the costs.

Whether or not that’s true – some don’t get the full potential of their marketing because they do it wrong – most companies overlook what may be the most cost-effective marketing medium available to them: a satisfied customer!

Acquiring a new customer is, on average, six times as costly as retaining an existing customer.  That alone makes customer satisfaction an essential marketing tool.  Another reason – a dissatisfied customer will not only stop doing business with you, but will also complain to about 9 other people.  (When I’m dissatisfied I reach 9 easily: I have 8 older siblings!)

When a customer is dissatisfied – and his or her friends and family have heard the rants against your company – no amount of good marketing will help.  The deck is already stacked against you in their minds.

So how do you find out whether your customers are satisfied?  Simple.  YOU ASK THEM!  Call them up after a sale.  Encourage them to be straightforward with any criticisms they have – you cannot fix a problem you’re not aware of!  Send out a survey.  Invite your customers for a discussion group.  Talk to them any way and any time you can.

Just the fact that you show interest in your customers’ experience with your product will set you apart from your competition.  While a satisfied customer may not tell 9 people how satisfied he/she is with you, that customer does tell people.  That’s why C-Sat as part of an integrated marketing strategy is useful.  Give your customer a satisfying experience, keep him informed of your company, and then when one of his/her friends asks “Do you know of a good…,” the customer instinctively thinks about and tells the friend about your company! 

Over the next few blog posts, I will discuss designing an effective C-Sat survey, identifying the key areas you need to act on, and building an effective customer feedback system.

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2 Responses to “Customer Satisfaction: Your Most Cost-Effective Marketing Tool”

  1. Brianna Sylver Says:

    Another thing to mention with regard to soliciting customer satisfaction feedback…make sure you’re gathering that info from a representative set of your end customers, not just the decision-makers that bought your product. It’s common for B2B companies to focus all their attention on ensuring that the decision-maker is happy, ignoring the population of people who actually use their product or service on a daily basis. An effective survey of customer satisfaction will solicit the viewpoint of both groups.

  2. analysights Says:

    Brianna,

    A very good point. There can be many variables in the customer relationship, the wholesaler or distributor (if you’re a manufacturer), the retailer, the purchase decisionmaker, and the actual end user. Satisfaction can go awry in any one of these interactions with your product. Not only does a bad product upset the end user, but their dissatisfaction will influence the decisionmaker’s next purchase decision for such a product. Similarly, a bad experience by any of the resellers may induce them not to distribute or stock your product, shutting you out from the ultimate consumer.

    Indeed, before you solicit feedback, you need to know and fully understand all the different customer relationships your company has.

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