Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Signs of a Turnaround?

IPOs, venture capital and philanthropy up. Why smart companies respond ASAP to online customer complaints

IPO Market

Just when you thought a double dip recession was on the horizon, signs of optimism are emerging. I noticed a significant drop in gas prices on a weekend trip through the Northeast Corridor. The Dow seems to have found a support level at 12,000 (up over 100 points again today), despite ongoing agita over the debt crisis in Greece. Technology IPOs have generated nearly $330 million in fees for major banks and brokerages houses according to a New York Times report yesterday. That’s the most since 2000 and nearly 10 times what they generated for a comparable period last year. According to the National Venture Capital Association, investors have poured nearly $6 billion into early stage startups the first three months of this year, that’s up 14 percent from the first three months of 2010.

Charitable giving on the rise

Another study that caught our eye was from the philanthropic front. Charitable giving recovered somewhat last year, according to new estimates by the Giving USA Foundation, but experts are predicting that this year will present more challenges to nonprofit fund-raisers. Individuals, companies and philanthropic institutions made gifts and pledges totaling an estimated $290.89 billion in 2010, an increase of 2.1 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis over a revised estimate of $285 billion the year before. The increase was the first since 2007, when the recession started and led to the biggest decline in giving in more than 40 years.

The power of responding to your online complaints

A new Harris Interactive study confirmed what we’ve been preaching for years—you’ve got to deal with angry customers/members/subscribers ASAP now matter how steamed they are. Here’s why. Researchers found that among customers who got a response from a company after complaining about them online (or on social media):

* 34 percent deleted their negative review
* 33 percent turned around and posted a positive review
* 18 percent turned into loyal customers

As the old saying goes. It’s 10 times easier to keep an existing customer happy than to find a new customer. Thanks to social media and the web, your customers are better armed today than ever before. The Harris findings should be posted over every call center from Nebraska to Mumbai. Smart organizations who heed them will be rewarded handsomely down the road.


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