With the competitive nature of our economy today and the ever increasing challenge of getting customers to part with their money, providing excellent customer service is much more important than ever before. Gone are the days of being able to get by with lackadaisical customer service. Consumers want to be treated with respect and gratitude if they are going to hand over their hard earned money to you and they are far less tolerant of bad attitudes and indifferent behavior.
Your business needs to keep the pulse on your customer service and implement ways to measure it. Measuring customer service on a regular basis will give you the competitive advantage to make those changes in your business that are not only not working for your customers but also give you the insight into new products and services your customers want now.
Being able to keep on top of and adapt to the changing needs of your customer will help you to retain business and attract new customers.
The best way to know how you are doing in your customer’s eyes is to ask your customer! This sounds simple but many businesses have no formal way of doing this. Customers can be a wealth of information for you. Through a formalized communication process with your customer, you will strengthen your relationship with them in addition to getting valuable information. They will know you care about them and their opinions. They will be apt to buy more from you and refer others to you.
One of the most common methods to get customer response is through a survey. Surveys can be done online electronically, by phone verbally or through the mail in written form. You can develop and implement the surveys yourself or you can hire an outside third party who specializes in customer satisfaction surveys. Either way can work. Some companies incorporate both methods as a means of checks and balances.
In most cases, the survey is be about a recent purchase or interaction with your company representative. What is important customer service-wise in one business may be altogether different for another business so you will want to determine what customer service means to your particular industry before developing your survey.
The survey should have both easy to answer ratings-type questions and also open-ended questions allowing customers to answer in their own words in order to gather more specific information. Some things you may want to consider including on your survey might be:
Ratings Questions (rate from 1-5, with 5 being BEST and 1 being POOR)
- Attitude of staff
- Speed in answering initial inquiry
- Competence of Staff
- Delivery Time
- Product/Service Quality
- Likelihood of Return
- Likelihood of Referring
Open-Ended Questions (make sure there are only a few of these)
- What could we have done better?
- What other products or services would enhance our offerings?
- Who do you know who might benefit from our products or services?
Now comes the most important part.
What you do with the information you gather is crucial. You probably won’t be able to react to everything your customers say but it is important to evaluate their responses and consider the validity of them.
Be sure to especially follow up with the unsatisfied customer regardless of the situation. An unhappy client can be deadly to your business. Businesses lose customers all the time simply because no one ever followed up on their complaint. Remember not only will they never return to you, they will be all too happy to spread the “bad news” about you to everyone they know. We have all done this. Your business is not immune. Get to these complaints quickly and go above and beyond to make it right. Let them spread the word instead about how awesome you are rather than warning everyone they know about their horrible experience with you.