Does your company run like clockwork? Are your accountants pleased with how everything moves smoothly? Are your managers content with how customers are managed by your system?
If so, watch out! Your present methods, regulations, policies and procedures may be convenient for the company but utterly frustrating for your customers. You may need to tweak them to improve customer satisfaction.
Customers discover these landmines of dissatisfaction almost by accident, stumbling upon them in the normal course of business. Dedicated customers will speak up and complain to help you improve customer satisfaction. Others will just go away.
I am a customer who makes a point of letting companies know when their policies are frustrating, preposterous or just plain customer-unfriendly.
Unfortunately, many organizations have built up a thick layer of resistance and defensiveness towards such feedback and refuse to see the need to improve customer satisfaction. They have stopped listening to the voice of the customer…especially the customer with a complaint.
Sometimes I wonder whether anyone is listening at all.
The stories I tell are all true, and many are entertaining. But they are only valuable if they inspire you to listen more closely to your customers and to more carefully examine your policies and procedures to improve customer satisfaction.
Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Satisfaction
Customers are often frustrated by standardized and inflexible policies. This may cause your customers to fume in frustration, but the rest of your staff and system may quietly conspire to silence the voice of complaining customers. You have to make an effort to really listen to improve customer satisfaction.
Action Steps To Improve Customer Satisfaction
Ask your customers:
“How can we serve you better? What frustrates you most about the way we provide our service? Is there anything you would like us to do more of? Less of? Start doing? Stop doing? What do other companies do for you that we don’t do here?”
Ask your staff:
“What do our customers ask for that frustrates you the most? Are there any special customer requests that drive you crazy? Is there anything they ask for that is against our company policy?”
Ask your managers:
“Is it the customers that make our staff so mad, or are they driven to distress by limitations in our systems, policies and procedures?”
Ask other service providers:
Whenever you dine, travel, shop, purchase or rent, make special requests. Ask for things that are “not on the menu,” slightly different from the routine.
Watch carefully how each establishment responds. Are they fast, flexible and friendly? What is it about their policy and systems that allows them to respond that way?
Learn to improve customer satisfaction by tweaking your own systems by testing the flexibility of others.
Finally, ask yourself:
Are you willing to make the changes your customers require to improve customer satisfaction?
Your accountant and your managers may be comfortable. But who are you in business for?
Your Accounting Department will still be with you tomorrow. Will your customers be with you, too?
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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpliftingService.com.
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