Thursday, July 5, 2012

The keys to customer satisfaction

As much as I condsider this a lifestyle/DIY blog, I have also considered the fact that most of my readers have small business, whether online or in a brick and mortar facility. Customer satisfaction is by far one of the most crucial and intergral parts of a successful business.

Keys to customer satisfaction
I have worked in the small business arena for over 15 years. I have dealt with many other business owners as well; and the hardest thing for me to watch is the lack of attention to detail when it comes to customer satisfaction. I am not necessarily talking about online customer service, but these principals can certainly apply there as well. I am talking about the brick and mortar business we visit daily. There is nothing that bothers me more, as a small business owner, than lack of customer service.

Key 1 Help your customer feel important.

You may be thinking, "Why does that matter? Our customers are only here for a few minutes at a time and they already frequent our business, so why do we need to fall all over ourselves for them?"  Not necessarily. When a new or old customer approaches the business, always greet them with a smile and a few words to let them know that you are aware of them even if you are with another client/customer. This makes your customer feel important. Remember that your customers have the same desires and needs that you have. The same goes with your online client interaction or equally important, potential client interaction. Always make it a priority to return emails and phone calls immediately. This shows the customers that you are professional and serious about meeting their needs

key 2 When you are interacting with customers, let them feel as though they are the number one priority.

Too many businesses make customers feel as though they are intruding on their personal space and time. Have you ever walked into a place of business, had some questions about their services and the agent looked on edge and was making you feel rushed. That is so infuriating. There is plenty of competition out there. When you let people know you care about them, they do not have an overwhelming desire to flee your business at lightening speeds. It is ok to make suggestions to the customer but remember the customer needs to be comfortable with the final outcome of the service or goods. When a customer is dissatisfied with the service he or she received, make sure you always troubleshoot for ways to resolve their issue. Let them know how important their satisfaction is to you and you will do all you can to correct the situation. Once again, make your customer your number one priority

Key 3 Take your time with the customer.

There is nothing worse than losing a customer because they feel rushed, and their needs and concerns are being dismissed. Remember; whether you are the owner of a business or an employee, the customer/clients pay your wages. They may not remember what you said, they may not remember what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel. Rushing a customer is like placing them into the hands of your competition.

Key 4 If you want to be a success with your customers you need to have a servant attitude.
One key thing to remember is that your service is only worth what people will pay for. Make sure your service is valuable. Everyone loves to be served in a kind and thoughtful way. Smile, pull out chairs, open doors, serve something to drink. All these small, seemingly insignificant things, will produce a wonderful crop of customers that love coming back over and over. Maybe Jane leaves and goes to see her sister in law. "Mary, you wouldn't believe it. Today I went to my favorite salon and they were wonderful. They had me laughing. They served me tea while I waited and were just so kind to me." Can you imagine where Mary is headed when she needs her nails done?

Key 5 Lastly, you want to know your business. 

You never want to make the customer feel uncomfortable because you do not know what you are doing. You want to make their experience pleasant and timely. Make sure you are listening to the customer when you are jotting down information. When you are corresponding through email, make sure you respond according to their email. Stay on topic, and be sure to address their concerns. Always review names, addresses and phone number to make sure they are correct. When you respond to your customers, call them by name, or better yet ask them what they prefer to be called. Value your customer's time. Don't keep them waiting. Ask them what works for them. Always let your customer know they are in charge and you are there to serve them.

©2012 Kristin Castellano       


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