Managing customer expectations and providing great customer service are very important nowadays. To be able to do that, you should build customer satisfaction into your business processes. Traditionally, organizations measure customer satisfaction once per year, long after service has been provided. Some organizations may measure customer satisfaction after a service, project or product has been delivered and then take corrective actions.
The problem with this kind of approach is that they are reactive, not proactive ways to respond to customer satisfaction.
If you build customer satisfaction into your business processes, you do not have to read those negative feedbacks of your actions after it is too late. Here are some ideas, how to build customer satisfaction into your business processes:
“KYSS – keep your systems simple.” Do not track everything, just what you need. Focus on major attributes that contribute to successful customer outcomes. To keep on top of the details about your customers, develop a tracking system listing their traits and main preferences. Update it after each interaction to keep it fresh. Customers will be happier, if your employees do not need to take a long time to browse through complex systems to serve them.
“If it is important to your customer, it belongs in your tracking system.” Record service preferences and personal data, which help you to serve them better. Include pertinent information on any previous missteps on your organization’s part concerning this customer and make sure that those problems will not rise again. Customers will remember the mistakes that you have done and so should you. Do not record the mistakes to punish your employees, but to learn and improve.
“The information you gather needs to be available in real-time.” Make sure all front-line employees have immediate access to the tracking system. You should not make the customers to tell you something that you should already know. If the customer contact comes through email, connect that with your CRM. If you receive a phone call, identify the customer with their phone number. If they walk into your store, remember them if you can and if you can’t, then have customer loyalty system, which identifies the customer.
“Because customer preferences change, assumptions are dangerous.” Just because a customer once ordered coffee after dinner does not mean that he or she will always want coffee after dinner. Know your customer’s preferences, but do not get locked down because of them. You can ask them for example that would you like to have some coffee after your dinner. Do not be afraid to bring more value, for example by asking, if they would like to have some Costa Rican coffee that you imported yourself last week.
“Customers’ moods change, so you need to track them.” Have your people track customers’ moods and make it their business to lift their spirit up. If people feel better after they left your business than before came in, then you have succeeded. That will make then come back and your employees will feel better of themselves, since they could make someone’s day better. It will also give positive kick to revenues. Be proactive, not reactive.
“Do not dampen the customer experience with an impersonal delivery.” People like to be treated as individuals. Make every customer count and do not over look one for another. It is true that some customers are more valuable for the organization than the others, but you should never show that to your customers. For example, use the customer’s name on a liberal basis, always with a sincere, engaged manner. And teach everyone in your organization good manners: to say hi and goodbye, thank you and other polite ways of working. Watch out for the caveat that your employees will look fake when being polite, because they do not want to be polite (you need to create a personal culture to serve customers in your organization).
“Use technology to ask for customer’s information sparingly.” Ask only what you need to know to serve them better and they will happily share their information. Employ your database information discreetly. Do not sound like Uncle Sam watching them. You do not want customers to think you spy on them. And also, state clearly for what purpose that information is gathered for. After you have the information, use it! Too many organizations collect information just the sake of it and they do not use it intelligently to serve the customer.
To provide exceptional service, employees must think like your customers. Have your people eat in your restaurant or shop at your store. Let your employees use your services, so that they can see how they work. The old ways of measuring customer satisfaction do not serve you anymore and the reason is that you need to be proactive, not reactive. That requires you to build customer satisfaction as part of your business processes. Your employees need to know what may go wrong before it happens, so that they can prevent customers suffering from it. When you manage to do that, you do not have to send them annual customer satisfaction survey and take corrective actions long after customers have already dealt with the consequences.