Malone’s firm, Fidelum Partners, helped a Canadian office supply company called Grand & Toy, which was losing business to competitors, survey customers about their perception of the company. They asked tens of thousands of customers for overall feedback on service levels including on 15 different dimensions of warmth and competence, such as asking them about whether the company “genuinely acts with your best interests in mind” and “has a warm and friendly staff.”
At first, it found that customers felt the company didn’t have their best interests at heart and wasn’t being fair and respectful. In response to the survey results, the company invited customers to air their unresolved problems and promised a personal reply within 72 hours. As a result, their customer satisfaction scores shot up.
That warm and fuzzy feeling shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to bettering a business. From 2014 to 2016, Fidelum surveyed 27,000 Grand & Toy customers and found that customer perceptions of warmth accounted for 41% of their willingness to recommend them over others, notes Malone.
Fidelum also surveyed nearly 1,000 Pink Jeep customers in July 2016, and there too found that perceptions of warmth accounted for 42% of their willingness to recommend the company.
After figuring out that the personality and warmth of their guides, and their rapport with customers, is what makes the company successful regionally, Pink Jeep is now upgrading its hiring and training programs. It wants to make sure that customers continue to feel the passion of their guides as they expand to more locations.
“As soon as you treat customers like buses and expect them to come every hour, you will be in trouble,” Miller says.
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