Being able to measure the satisfaction level of your customers can be pretty difficult at times. Not only do you rely on customers for their feedback, but you’ve also got to trust that they are being completely honest when providing you with feedback. People don’t generally contact companies to tell them they’re satisfied. And even the dissatisfied customers won’t always contact the company to express their dissatisfaction. Instead, they quietly (or not so quietly) boycott the company – swearing to never do business with them again.
Setting very high standards for any employees who deal with customers in any way is a must. You’ve got to enforce strict guidelines and procedures to ensure that your customers are being treated in a consistently professional and friendly way. Make sure to continually measure the success of your employees’ customer service habits. You can do this in several different ways:
Go To the Source
How can you expect to get proper customer feedback if the only time you hear from your customers is when they are contacting you with a complaint or concern? As previously stated, most people won’t contact a company to tell them that they’re doing a terrific job. They wait until something goes wrong to reach out to the company. A good way to get your customers to talk with you and be honest about their experiences is to provide them with customer surveys. Whether they are done through snail mail, email, or by telephone; having the input of your customers is a very valuable asset.
When conducting a customer survey, the best method is the 1 – 5 scale with 1 indicating complete satisfaction and 5 indicating complete dissatisfaction. Surveying regular customers is also a good way to find out how well your company is doing. Being able to see how the customer’s experiences have changed over time will be a helpful tool.
Know what Your Customers Expect of You
Common sense tells us that we will be able to offer our customers a better experience when we truly understand what it is that they expect from us. Finding out what the expectations of your customers are when it comes to both products and services will assist you in being able to meet their needs to the very best of your ability.
Examine the Areas Where You are Falling Short
Find out where your business is falling short, resulting in less-than-satisfied customers. Ask yourself some very important questions such as: Are my products or services being advertised to seem better than they really are? Are my employees over-stepping their bounds by promising things that cannot be delivered to customers? Are Customer Service Reps handling customer dissatisfaction and complaints properly? No matter where the weak link happens to be, discovering it and repairing it quickly will not only show that you care, but will also give you a better opportunity to heal any customer relationships which may have been damaged.
Get Down to the Nitty-Gritty
Any information that you collect has to be accurate and provide you with a realistic, specific picture of what you’re doing that’s working, and what you’re doing that isn’t working quite as well. Surveys are a great idea, if implemented properly. When providing your customers with surveys, make sure that the survey isn’t too general. Ask for specific information such as the services or products they purchased, if their experience lived up to their expectations, what they liked and what they didn’t care for as far as the entire transaction went, etc. Make sure to also ask your customers for any comments or suggestions that they might have that would help to improve their experience.
Know Your Competition
Let’s say that a customer prefers a competitor’s brand over your brand. Wouldn’t you like to know why? One way to find this information out is to ask customers to compare similar products to find out exactly what it is that attracts more customers your competitor’s way. They may be offering something that you’re not, and you aren’t even aware of it. Knowing exactly what is going on with your competition will benefit your own business more than you might even realize.
By examining the opinions and experiences of your customers, you will be better equipped to provide them with a product or service that exceeds their expectations. Do that, and you’ll begin to create relationships that will propel your business well into the future!
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.