I shared a bit of information with a clergy colleague yesterday who responded, 'I wish I'd known that before I started here.'
As I can't remember if I've ever blogged it, here goes, possibly again:
If you are in the business of retaining people's custom, support, visits or whatever you may think that the best thing to do is for them to find occasional outstanding service, content or offers. Whilst these things are not bad ideas they will not necessarily do the job. It is consistency that makes people return and keeps the footfall falling.
So the way to retain business is not to have one-off acts of genius but to eliminate the acts of folly.
1 in 100 of the people who have a good experience will tell a friend. 1 in 10 of the people who have a bad experience will tell a friend. So if you don't fix the leaks you will have to have 10 times more genius than error simply in order not to shrink.
Eliminate the bad experiences. Every welcomer needs to be on their game 100% all the time. Few people notice a clean church; loads notice a dirty one. Hardly anyone comments when the temperature is just right. Lots will tell you if it is too cold and some when it is too hot. Ever had, 'That service was exactly the right length vicar?' Not often I'll warrant. But the opposite. Oh yes.
It comes down to detail. 'Who sweeps a room as for thy laws makes that and the action fine.' Indeed. But only if you are consistently good at sweeping.
It follows that the boss/leader/chief/minister should handle all complaints personally, if possible one-on-one and take them seriously. That way reduces the damage.
2008 resolution. Eliminate errors before attempting greatness. This applies to West Brom's defence, shops' customer service, the beer standard in my local and my preaching. Equally. OK maybe not. West Brom's defence is a bit leaky.