Do you like me? The Importance of Goodwill in Business

It is often quoted that if a customer is satisfied with a service they tell far fewer people than when they have received a poor service.  This stimulates businesses and organisations to improve service and training to avoid this pitfall and retain customers.


At the blue skies thinking day this week, we were considering getting closer to customers and what this means for businesses.  It was suggested that the goodwill of customers keeps the number of calls and length of those calls down and thus generates a cheaper and more costs effective service.  A friendly service can be a very efficient one.   It goes further it can also reduce complaints as if a customer has a good relationship with a company, or perceive that they do, they are less likely to complain and escalate that complaint.  We will give our preferred suppliers or favoured companies the “benefit of the doubt”, at least for a while.  This too makes the business more cost effective.

Many small businesses are driven by goodwill and relationships.  It is often more important than simple costs.  Local people may choose a local business supplier as they know and trust the service, and indeed, are friends with the proprietors and staff.  Customers feel that they get a more bespoke service and a small local supplier is likely to be less standardised and more accommodating than a big national player.  All of these issues contribute to goodwill, are relevant to Inspiring Partnerships, as a small business, and are key to the relationships and partnerships, which we work with and build.  We are trying to find the synergies where businesses and other partners can work together for mutual advantage but also build goodwill to smooth the good times and allow tolerance when something inevitably goes wrong.  For us, much of our business is through personal relationships and repeat clients;  goodwill is the lifeblood of our business and success.

With so much business now online, how can goodwill fit into the picture?  If online systems are to function properly they need to reflect the needs of customers, so goodwill and engagement is central to their design.  Once up and running, frustration and complaints will build, and efficiencies will reduce, if customers are not able to get things resolved and look to get around online systems.  The customer service that backs up online systems is critical; it needs to be empowered and enabled as much of the time, it will be accessed after an online process has failed.  Secondly, the personal behaviour and approach of those individuals and how it fits with the business brand will be critical.  Think about the messaging that sits inside your company.  What is your story?  What does it say about your accessibility and approachability?  A successful, short, positive resolution is always likely to cheaper to administer than a protracted, challenged dispute which has to go up the line.  Goodwill to your business should ease this cost.

We think goodwill is important in business in 2014 and up there with confidence – the issue for last week’s blog – but let us know what you think.


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