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Many marketers spend a considerable amount of time calculating the ROI of campaigns by looking at cost per lead (CPL) or Web conversion numbers. You are probably quite smart yourself to the ways of lead nurturing and its importance in branding and customer acquisition. Those are known costs of doing business these days.

Yet many companies fall apart when it comes to opportunity costs.

Not paying enough attention to customer issues can be more costly in the long run - and by a wide margin. It’s not only the opportunity cost of not selling more to the same customers, which should be one of the results of good service and product stewardship. It’s also the out of pocket cost of trying to manage negative word of mouth.

Those opportunity costs never show up on your balance sheet, because they’re lost when:

  • people stopped calling because they stopped buying
  • you saved a couple of hundred dollars on the spreadsheet, but the new vendors are just not bringing in results
  • you have a steady stream of new customers replace existing ones at cheaper rates
  • you manage to get one of the most interesting pages on Consumerist and quite the discussion on Get Satisfaction when you could instead work for your customers delight
  • people stopped talking with you, but they’re talking with your competitors

Do you track your lost opportunity costs with the same fervor you reserve to expenses?


Read more of Valeria Maltoni’s Customer Conversation

Valeria Maltoni helps businesses understand how customers and communities have changed marketing, public relations, and communications - and how to build value in this new environment. As a communicator with 20 years of experience, 10 of which online, she specializes in marketing communications, customer dialogue, and brand management. Valeria has come to define modern business as a long and open conversation. Conversation Agent is recognized among the world's top online marketing blogs.