The level of your customers’ satisfaction serves as a barometer, a high level indicator of how well your business is satisfying demand. It’s the human face on your business performance metrics. Here are some quick tips for enhancing your customers’ satisfaction and your business reputation.
Despite dazzling technological innovations, customer service excellence still comes through good old fashioned human skills such as listening, empathy, respectfulness, learning, anticipating needs and being responsive.Exceed your customers' expectations... they'll come back over and over. - Sam Walton Click To Tweet
Technology is a powerful tool that can augment these skills but it as yet, it can’t replace them. Artificial intelligence can help listen to chatter, it can monitor the customer’s progress along the buying journey and interactions at touch-points. It can help us learn what does and doesn’t work. But ultimately it is the human touch that makes people feel valued, appreciated and cared for.
Customer Satisfaction: Barometer of Business Performance
The level of customer satisfaction says a lot about how good your product is, how well it performs, how promptly it was delivered, how good your customer onboarding and support is… and a lot more.
By building a solid foundation of satisfied customers, you position yourself for long term success.
- Customers will buy repeatedly
- Customers will sing your praises
- Customers will be more forgiving when you do slip up
- Customers will refer others to you
Ultimately you’ll build a powerful brand that customers follow and trust. They will be eagerly anticipate your new products and services, and they’ll stick with you even when you do make a mistake.
15 Quick Tips to Boost Customer Satisfaction
1. Listen to What They Have to Say
Some will sing your praises, others might offer criticism. Hear them out, even if they are in the wrong. Don’t take it personally and always be sympathetic. Others may have a valid point and need to know someone is actually listening to them and more importantly… will take action to fix it.
2. Don’t Refer the Person to Someone Else
No one likes to get the run around and passed onto someone else. When this cannot be avoided, minimize the impact by not making the customer rehash the details of their problem to the new person. Brief the other person on the customer’s situation before handing over the issue. Then resolve the issues as quickly as possible.
3. Keep Your Promises…
Only agree to what you can actually deliver. Over-promising not only stresses you, but when you do fail, it erodes the customer’s trust.
4. …But Over-Deliver Whenever Possible
If it is possible to go the extra mile without too much effort, do it. I once ordered a product which arrived in less than perfect shape. The company corrected the problem and sent me a digital version of a related product they knew I’d be interested in. That completely erased my dissatisfaction, boosted my trust in the company, and helped lock in my future loyalty.
5. Be Courteous and Grateful
This goes without saying, but it’s incredible how often this simple and obvious point is ignored. Don’t be defensive, don’t interrupt, and always remember that your customers are the lifeblood of your business.
6. Develop Personal Relationships
Treat each customer as if he’s your most important client, you never know when they might refer a person who actually does become your most important client.
7. Anticipate Their Needs
Go the extra step and be ahead of them. For long term customers you can review their buying patterns and reach out in advance. You can boost customer satisfaction and profits by offering complementary products and services, and offering timely maintenance and upgrade reminders.
8. Apologize if you are wrong or make a mistake
Everyone makes them. Admit them and correct them as soon as possible.
9. Respond quickly to communications.
Depending on your business, a maximum of one day response time might be appropriate. For a lot of businesses that will too long. Strive to reduce the response time as much as possible. The sooner a customer knows you are handing their issue, the better. If it takes longer than anticipated, update the customer and explain why there’s a delay.
10. Be Realistic
If a requested deadline can’t be met let your client know before you take their order.
11. Keep in Touch with the Customer
Whether it’s a purchase, a service or a support issue, follow-up with the customer to ensure everything is okay. A simple “thank you” email, postcard or a phone call is sufficient. This is a good opportunity to offer a coupon or discount on additional products or services.
12. Ask for Feedback
They will give you invaluable information to help you improve your product or service, hone your customer service and protect and enhance your business reputation. Always thank them for their feedback (see #11), and if they’re satisfied, offer a reward for giving your referrals. SurveyGizmo and SurveyMonkey are free tools you can use to survey your customers.
13. Pay Special Attention to Dissatisfied Customers
For every vocal dissatisfied customer, there are likely 10 more with a similar complaint. Catch and correct these defects as soon as possible. If it makes sense, compensate customers for their trouble. An unhappy customer can do severe damage to your reputation and your business.
14. Be Friendly and Courteous
As obvious as this is, it’s frequently ignored. Never answer the phone, a text or email when you’re angry. Remind yourself that if it weren’t for the customer, you wouldn’t have a business.
15. Be Human
Throw away your scripts. People want to hear from real people who treat them like individuals not an account number. Personalize your communications to the individual customer wherever possible.
Highly scripted employees may be less imaginative about a customer’s true needs.
– Jochen Wirtz and Ron Kaufman, Harvard Business Review
As you can see, there are many ways to enhance your customers’ experience, it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Being sensitive to your customers’ needs and concerns, and responding promptly and appropriately, will increase your customers’ satisfaction, build a community that trusts you, and will help build your business long term. Isn’t it worth it?