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  Companies Must Re-Think How
They Value Customers

Companies looking to cut back on training and investment in Customer Service Call Centers will face serious financial consequences. A groundbreaking research study, recently undertaken by Ernan Roman Direct Marketing, has uncovered startling new insights into the world of customer service.

The goal of the study is to understand how customers’ attitudes toward a company are influenced by their experience calling Customer Care Centers. The results could have a profound effect on the way American companies conduct business.

The majority of recent Customer Call Center experiences have not been positive. In fact, two thirds (66 percent) report negative or neutral experiences. If a customer has a negative experience calling a Customer Care Center, 95 percent perceive the company negatively. This perception can be extremely damaging to profits, as the likelihood for repeat purchasing declines by 86 percent. Additionally, 83 percent will be unlikely to recommend the company to others. These figures indicate that the business world needs to re-think how they value customer relationships.

“My passion is to change the way American companies treat their customers,” says Ernan Roman, president of Ernan Roman Direct Marketing and the co-author of Opt-In Marketing: Increasing Sales Exponentially with Consensual Marketing. “By fundamentally changing how they respect and value the relationship with customers, they will achieve a significant increase in customer loyalty and an exponential increase in revenue.”

Customers have forced a change in the way they wish to be treated and successful companies will have to adapt to meet their needs. “This puts the burden back on the marketer,” says Roman. “If marketers wish to attract and keep customers, they must learn their needs and deliver value per the requirements of those individuals! This applies not only to customer’s experiences with Customer Care Centers, this applies to all customer touch points.”

Innovators like IBM and Hewlett-Packard have seen significant increases in response and revenue after employing Roman’s Consensual Marketing Opt-In Process. IBM and Hewlett-Packard found success by engaging customers in consensual relationships where customers are engaged in highly personalized communications based on the person’s individual preferences and needs. “Truly understanding the needs of your customers is the key to this process,” says Roman. “Customers and prospects quickly see the difference when they are treated in this manner and the exponential increase in response and revenue prove it.”

It is clear that there needs to be a serious change. When given the opportunity, people “opt-out” of the marketing process in droves. As the overwhelming popularity of the Do Not Call Registry illustrated, people are sick and tired of being marketing to. “The chasm between marketers and customers has never been greater,” says Roman. “Marketers need to come up with new strategies to engage an overly cynical public. The days of spray and pray marketing are ending quickly.”

Developed by Roman, the Consensual Marketing Opt-In Process is designed to help companies build beneficial relationships between companies and their publics. “They tell us what they want, when they want it, and how they want to get it,” says Roman. “The customers allow themselves to be contacted with the expectation that the company will provide meaningful value in return.” The communication may come in the form of direct mail, a well-placed phone call or a highly-personalized e-newsletter.

“The Opt-In Marketing Process may change the very face of business,” says Roman. “It is vital for all organizations to be familiar with its principles.” Along with IBM and HP, Roman also counts the United States Postal Service, Microsoft and Golden Rule Insurance among his clients. These principles aren’t only for the big companies, though. These techniques can also be applied successfully to smaller mid-sized organizations.

By ignoring the wants and needs of their customers, American companies risk losing customer loyalty and repeat business. The burden has shifted to the marketers and the time for change is now. “Opt-in marketing simply puts the power back in the hands of the people,” says Roman. “It is time that we listened to them.”

© Contacto Magazine - September 28, 2006

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