Whether you manufacture products, sell merchandise, or offer services, customer satisfaction should stand at or near the top of your list of business concerns. The logic behind this is, of course, painfully simple: unsatisfied customers quickly become lost customers, and lost costumers mean lost revenue. And lost revenue… Well, you get the idea. Few businesses can afford it, and every business should do everything in their power to prevent it.
We’re here to help with that. We’ve been around the business block more times than we can count, and we’ve learned a few things about keeping customers satisfied without becoming a doormats in the process. If that sounds useful to you, read on for our simple tips to ensure customer satisfaction.
1. Start with quality all around.
If you do this across the board from day one, you’ll dramatically reduce the chances of having unsatisfied customers in the first place. This covers everything from manufacturing to sales to customer service and more. For instance, make sure your website is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. Check your website daily to ensure that it’s working smoothly. Make sure you know the basics of how to secure a website to prevent any malware attacks. Apply this same level of care to all areas of your business. The name of the game is to operate at such a high level that customer satisfaction is an almost inevitable outcome.
2. Communicate in a timely manner.
Of course, no matter how tight a ship you run, you’ll eventually have slip ups, and that will mean dealing with unhappy customers and findings ways to make then happy again. This is where timely communication comes in. If you are dealing with a customer in person, be sure to give them your business card with all of your contact details on it should they need to contact you for any reason.
Today, many if not most customer concerns or complaints will come via the web. When a product or service is not working out to customers’ satisfaction, they feel a sense of urgency about the matter. Be respectful of that, and respond as promptly as possible. Same-day responses, if possible, usually go a long way to making the customer feel like her concerns matter to you and the business. Take too long and you add salt to the real or imagined wound of poor products or services. That sets the stage for a disgruntled customer and a much trickier situation to rectify.
3. Learn from mistakes and customer feedback.
A no-brainer, right? You would think. But the sad truth is that many businesses operate with absolute faith in their own business models. It doesn’t matter how often they receive complaints or how friendly or hostile the suggestions they receive. Of course, this stubbornness won’t do. How many times can you really tell yourself that the customer was unreasonable, angry, delusional? Sure, some consumers will fit such descriptions, but even their complaints might contain truths that you need to take a hard look at. So, bring customer complaints into team meetings for the sake of open discussion. You might find your most vicious attacker has given you a valuable gift of insight into what’s not working with your business.
Alternatively, when you have satisfied customers, be sure to take good care of them. They are more likely to be a return customer and are also more likely to refer potential new customers to you. Give them little keepsakes with your business’s logo and information on it like stickers or koozies.
4. Don’t insult the customer’s intelligence.
Maybe you’ve got a certified loony in front of you, making outrageous accusations about your business. Stay calm, treat that person with the same respect as you would anyone else, and weather the storm with grace. Those loonies are the same people that will write scathing reviews of your business on every site they can find. And you know they’ll sound perfectly sane in written form. Don’t risk it by getting up on that high horse you keep in your back pocket.
Also, if you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, don’t give him the brush off and don’t make something up. Chances are the person will call back or come back and talk to another employee and get an entirely different answer, which only makes your place of business look poorly managed.
And do not ever hide behind this one: “There’s nothing I can do. It’s just our company policy.” If your company has a policy that makes sense to you, it should make sense to others as well. So explain it. If you can’t explain it rationally to a customer, there might be something wrong with the policy, which only makes you and your business look unreasonable or just plain stupid. Who wants that?
So, that’s our two cents. It’s not so hard when you get right down to it. Start with quality products, services, and a reputable overall business ethos, Respond to customers quickly. Take complaints seriously, learn from mistakes, and don’t treat your customers like idiots.
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