Hope is not a strategy

When I start work with a new client, invariably I spend the first couple of days looking and listening within their business, to the owners, the managers and to the people doing the work at the ‘front line’.

One of the first questions I ask the owners of businesses is:

‘What do your customers think of you … What’s your reputation?’

And I usually get one of two answers:

  • ‘I think we’re pretty good’ or
  • ‘I hope they like us’

Both of course meaning the same thing: they don’t really know!

Now, if it’s common sense to assume that improving customer experience in turn will improve repeat sales, cross sales, up sales and referrals – all of which have a massive impact on profits – then surely it should be common sense to measure and seek to continually improve it?

In fact, research shows that a 1% increase in customer experience can easily have as much as a 10% impact on bottom line profits!

So, why do almost all organisations say ‘I hope’ when asked about customer experience and reputation … rather than: ‘here are the figures’?

Well, research again: this time shows that:

  • Most business owners are too busy, so they focus on the basics: sales and numbers (not experiences) of customers
  • Most customer experience measures are lame at best (and dangerously inaccurate at worst), so people have little or no faith in them
  • Most businesses don’t empower their people to solve customer experience issues at source, so it’s easier to just focus on marketing and sales
  • Money’s always tight, so budgets get focused in finding new customers rather than making existing customers more loyal and building reputation (which is a massively expensive mistake, by the way)
  • Most business owners don’t know where to start with this, as there’s so many half-baked ideas out there

So, it’s very understandable why this is an area so often neglected and not measured.

You may say: ‘it’s easy for you to state this, but we don’t have the time / money / knowledge’ etc to start this right now.

And my response to this would be:

There’s never been a better time than now:

  • If your sales are down because of the pandemic, then you perhaps have a little bit of extra time to start doing it yourself.
  • If your sales are up because of the pandemic, then you perhaps have a little extra money to start paying someone else to set up and start it for you.

Either way, not only is it a great time, but it’s also a great opportunity: customer behaviours are changing rapidly, new opportunities are opening up all the time, and it’s a very powerful time to start listening more closely to your customers.

In our latest podcast, we examine some examples of businesses we’ve worked with that have escaped from this trap and are measuring customer experience effectively, and investing in their people to empower them to keep moving it forward … and the results they’ve had from this.

Just remember:

Hope is NOT a strategy that works.

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Slow Selling is a UK based not for profit organisation for leaders and managers in independent businesses.

Our systems deliver peace of mind and confidence to caring leaders and managers who have limited time and resources, and want to grow their business … all without sacrificing principles or profits.

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