“Get closer to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
Why is Customer Satisfaction Important ?
Happy customers are essential to every business that wishes to grow and prosper. It is essential to get to know your customers, because, only then, you are able to add value.
In a competitive market it depends on how well you look after the customer which makes the difference bewtween success and failure. Creating amazing customer satisfaction will see customers returning, moreover, they will act as your sales people.
The expense of finding a new customer is often one of the largest costs to a small business, added to the fact that a dissatisfied has the ability to share that dissatisfaction. Quickly you may find your hard earned reputation demolished due to a single disgruntled customers.
Over 90% Of Unhappy Customers Won’t Return
In almost 90% of cases an unhappy customer will not return to you. Additionally, an unhappy customer will share their story with friends and family, which in itself can be harmful to your business. They may also share the experience on review pages, such as Google which will then pop up alongside your contact details when your potential customers search for your business.
Social Media can also play a vital part in enhancing your brand reputation. Additionally, it is essential that you are aware of what is being said.
Stay close to your customers, so that if a customer is experiencing a problem they can share it with you first.
Knowledge of the issue giving you the perfect opportunity to resolve the problem and turn the customer to an advocate for your business.
Steps to Improve Your Customer Satisfaction
1. Find out the Current Position
It is essential that you have a consistent and robust system for measuring the current position, you can do this in many ways depending on your businesses style of trading.
For a small business, a good place to start is to survey at least 20 customers ( if you are transacting high volumes monthly it is best to look at a higher number ).
Start by using an email link to a survey, with no more than four or five questions. The key question may look something like :
• Did we meet your expectations 1-5
• Did we process your order efficiently 1-5
• Did you find the people you spoke with to helpful 1-5
• Would you Use us Again ? Yes / No
• Would you recommend to a Friend or Family Member ? Yes/No
Any additional comments you would like to add on how we could improve our service / product ?
The most import of the questions above are the last two, this is what you will be measuring, the first three will give you an indication of what the concern areas are and where to concentrate your efforts for improvement.
Any score at less than 4 requires a follow up to understand the issue, and a “No” in question 3 or 4 would need to be addressed directly with the customer. There is nothing more annoying for a customer than being asked about the service and nothing being done about it. A customers perception is the customers reality, you need to make it your reality too.
Identify the areas on which you are going to focus from the feedback questions 1,2 &3 and the comments received.
Incentivise the Feedback –
Many people will only complete a survey if they are especially happy or un-happy with the service, think how many times you have visited a restaurant, and when you have taken time to complete a trip advisor or feedback about the visit once you have paid and walked out. A good way to get the feedback, is to run an incentive to complete the form, this could be a discount on next order, a small gift that cost you very little or maybe a prize draw for a larger incentive.
2. Plan Your Actions
From the feedback you have, look at what is causing the customer to be dissatisfied, generally it will be Process, People or Price. Find three areas of focus that impact on your business and set to work on these areas.
Process – A poor score in question 2 relates to efficiency is usually a direct result of how you operate your order fulfilment and process customers orders.
You must ensure you meet the customer basic expectations, these are usually something like:
Did it arrive as described ?
Did it arrive on time?
Was the customer kept updated on the delivery schedule and any delays ?
The better your communication, the better your satisfaction in this area will be.
People – If your customers score you down on question 3, this would indicate an issue with staff friendliness and helpfulness. It is worth remembering that if the process is not working efficiently, this will have a negative effect on them too.
Price – Be transparent on what you are charging in advance, any additional costs should be explained at the outset. Do not try to slide in little additions. Example – You stay at a £300.00 per night hotel and then get charged for a Newspaper.
Price itself is rarely the real issue, value is more important. Great customer experience will, in turn, increase the value the customer sees in your product or service.
Communicate With Everyone
Communicate to everyone in your business, from the cleaner to the CEO. Highlight the current feedback scores. Express the reasons why improvement is required and target three focus areas and specific actions that will be needed.
Ask for feedback from the team and depending on the size of your business choose someone from each area to be involved in the implementation. This group is tasked with Creating Amazing Customer Satisfaction.
3. Set The Improvement Objective
Based on the feedback you have obtained, you can then set a realistic target for improvement long term.
Measure monthly, using the same survey, record your progress towards your final objective. Discuss your progress with the whole team and re-evaluate your plan.
4. Take Positive Action
Constantly communicate with your team about the importance until it becomes part of their belief.
Identify Specific Issues
Evaluating any issue that effected the customer satisfaction and establishing what happened. Once you have established exactly what happened, establish why it happened and the route cause of the issue. Take action and find solutions to rectify the route cause.
The Issue– The customer was unhappy with the finished product, not up to required standard.
What Happened– Carl was given the Job by sales admin at last minute, hence, he rushed to complete.
Sales administration received the order and processed but did not pass on until later.
Route Cause– Slow processing and passing work to the relevant department or person caused Carl to run out of time. Therefor he rushed to finish.
Solution – Admin to email order direct to relevant department or person when processed.
5.Review Your Results
Re-evaluate actions and plans, then Investigate why at route cause issues, therefore highlighting errors which negatively effect customer satisfaction.
Highlight and communicate example of great customer service. Furthermore, publish customer feedback to all staff and set as the new benchmark.
Measure monthly your improvement against the targets set. However, there may be a lag between implementation and the results. As a result it may take a few months for your feedback to change.
Business Success or Failure?
Your whole team must be involved and commit to continued improvement For instance, by holding an all monthly review meeting you will be able to discuss how you will all work together, with the aim of creating amazing customer satisfaction.
Note – if you can’t change the people, then change the people.