4 Tips for Achieving Customer Satisfaction in Your Small, Local Business
Customer service skills can be a daunting subject for small business owners to examine. While there are many things necessary to consider when looking at the experience customers have when doing business with you, there are some basic categories that must be explored.
Four Components of the Customer Experience
The skills used by staff in each of the following areas are the ones most obvious to the customer. Customers today recognize when they are treated well and are valued by the company for the business and dollars that they bring in the door.
The tone of the customer experience sets the expectations for the customer and how they immediately perceive both the willingness of your company to service them and the level of professionalism they can expect. By training your staff to positively engage with and interact with the customer right from the beginning, be it in person, by phone, or online, the customer will get a sense of whether or not they will actually complete this business transaction.
During the Interaction
Customers today are more sophisticated than ever before. They know that they have options and other vendors with whom they can do business. Therefore, it is up to you to step up and truly get to know the customer and what brings them to consider doing business with you. Customers appreciate when they are asked questions about their "pain" or needs. When they feel that you are truly trying to understand their challenges or needs, they feel that you are working in their best interest to determine which of your products or services will best suit their needs.
The Close of the Transaction
When customers decide to buy, many businesses simply leave it at that. They close the sale and send the customer on their way. But so much more can be done to enrich both the purchasing experience and the business relationship. Letting the customer know that you would like to be their resource in using the purchased product or service tells the customer that you are there for them should they need assistance or guidance. This plays into the relationship. Customers want to know that you will be around to help them should they encounter problems or have questions. Nothing frustrates the customer more than to feel that they are on their own with no resource. That's why they came to you in the first place - they had a need, you presented a solution, now encourage them to ask for help to use to solve their problems.
The Lasting Impression
Everything that you do for your customers feeds into their perception to form an impression. Businesses that go out of their way to give "just that little extra" are the businesses that have loyal customers that go out of their way to do business with them. They partner with their customers to form long term profitable relationships that keep the customers coming back. They recognize that they want their customers to be happy that they are doing business with them and to think of them as their first resource when that particular need arises. When the impression is overwhelmingly positive, those customers will continue to partner with you and recruit new customers as well.
While there are many components contributing to the customer experience, these four start the process of building that experience into one that best serves both your customers and your business. Ultimately, the winners are the customers and your bottom line.
Learn more about Kristina Evey and her work at www.kristinaevey.com