A pre-requisite to getting more customers is keeping the old one happy

Most people do not understand that getting more customers is dependent on how many customers you have lost or how happy or unhappy your existing customers are. Most people who want to buy a big ticket item like real estate will try to get the opinion of a friend, relative or colleague who has bought and used the product before. If the experience has been a negative one, the dissatisfied customer with dissuade the new prospective customer from buying the product and you will lose the sale. On the other hand, if the existing customer is happy, he will speak positively about your product and the sale is certain.

Now I had purchased a flat in Gurgaon from Bestech Builders based on the recommendation of my uncle who had a positive experience with them. We are paying installments which are based on certain actions being completed. Since we are all aware that these days the financial condition of real estate developers is tight, I actually visit the site to see if the action is completed before making the payment. My experience in trying to do so recently is clear from the email that I wrote to Bestech customer service which is given below:

Ankita hi!

Vide my email dated 16/2/2009 I had requested an appointment to inspect “Completion of Plaster Work” action on Sunday 22/2/2009 at 12 Noon but I had not received any response.

On 20/2/2009, I had written a letter regarding the above subject and the person who recieved the letter wrote that I can visit the site on Saturday 21/2/2009 at 12 noon and meet Mr. Shashi. However, my messenger gave me the note of Saturday morning and it was not convenient for me to meet at 12 noon. So I called Mr. Shashi at 10AM today and told him that I cannot meet at 12 noon but that I can come at 3:30pm if the time was convenient to him. He said that this time was OK and he also promised to call me in between.

So before starting towards Gurgaon for the 3:30 pm appointment I called Mr. Shashi to confirm if he would be there. What he said was very surprising. He said that he is expected to be there but that if some work comes along then he will leave. I explained to him that I cannot come all the way unless he gives me a confirmed appointment. I had also told Shashi that if the time is inconvenient for him then we can fix another time but the same was not acceptable to him. He said that he is in marketing and not in customer service and that he cannot give me a firm time and that he is busy and talking to a client and that he will call me back.

Anyway, since I did not receive a call back, I had no choice but to cancel my visit to Gurgaon today. I called up your office to talk to you but you were not there. As such, I left a message for you with Jyotsna regarding what had happened. The same thing had happened to me the last time I wanted to visit your site. That gentlemen also said that he was from marketing etc. and that it was not his responsibility but ultimately he understood that coming to Gurgaon from Delhi without a firm appointment was not reasonable.

I hope you can understand my position that I cannot come all the way to Gurgaon from Delhi without a firm appointment. I would appreciate if you can provide me a firm appointment at a mutually convenient time and date to inspect “Completion of Plaster Work” action. You can call me at XXXXXXXX or we can fix the same over the email. Also, I would appreciate that you do not fix my appointment with somebody from your marketing department. Please note that without a firm appointment, it will be very difficult for me to visit your site for inspection.

In case you cannot give me a firm appointment, I would still appreciate if you could let me know.

Thanks

Avinash Narula

Of course, Ankita called me back and apologized. She fixed an appointment for me for next saturday.

The reason that I am writing this post is because of the action of Mr. Shashi. Obviously, he was thinking why should I waste my time with an old customer. He wanted to spend time trying to find new customers without realizing that getting new customers without keeping the old one happy is a contradiction in terms.

I think it was Sam Walton who had told his friend that when in doubt go to the customer as not only has the money but also ideas to improve your business. I think Sam Walton missed out a very important resource that a customer has, that is, referrals for new hot prospective customers which he develops through his word-of-mouth.

So I hope Mr. Shashi and all you guys out there wanting to increase your business, make sure you are taking care of your existing customers.

Avinash Narula

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