This blog post is Part Two of our guest blog written by customer service specialist Guy Letts, to read the first blog please click here
Step 2 - Start measuring customer satisfaction.
Measuring customer satisfaction sounds more complicated than it is. But if you don’t measure something, you can’t improve it (to paraphrase Lord Kelvin).
The simplest way is to insert one trivial new task into your business processes.
After you’ve delivered a product or service, just find out whether the customer was completely satisfied.
If they were, you’ll learn what they liked. If they weren’t, you get the chance to fix any problems immediately – and that will blow their socks off. People just aren’t used to getting responsive service. Actually most of us want to provide great service – but without the feedback, we miss all the chances to do it. Unless you ask, you just won’t hear about most of the frustrations your customers experience, because unless it’s something major we avoid awkward conversations. But if you just ask each time, in a low key way, it will help you and your team to stay in tune with how your customers feel about you and what’s important to them.
There are different ways to ask, depending on how you do business. It can be a telephone call, an email or an online feedback form. Just be aware that if you want feedback that’s genuinely actionable (rather than "everything’s fine") then you need to make it easy for the customer to be honest.
If you have a good working relationship with your customers, it can feel less awkward for them to do it in a short online survey. Nobody likes having that awkward conversation, but there are often things they’d really like to say – and you want to hear them so that you can maintain excellent standards, count on future business and hopefully a few referrals as well.
The method that worked dramatically well for me and my team (so well that I gave up my job to launch a product that does it) was to send short, online, customer-friendly satisfaction feedback forms. The feedback helps you guarantee satisfaction every time, and as it soon becomes mostly praise, it’s a great morale booster.
Step 2 Task 1 - Start checking that customers are satisfied.
There’s inevitably a fear of the unknown. What if I get a lot of complaints and it creates a whole load of work? What if my customers don’t like receiving surveys?
Understandable fears, but with hundreds of customers in 12 countries I know this isn’t what happens. The results will surprise you, in a good way. I’ve seen it repeated enough times to see a common pattern and I’ve described it in this article.
The method is simple. Send an email, survey or online feedback form after you’ve delivered each product or service, and get the best results by using these guidelines.
Step 3 – Start improving customer satisfaction.
Most companies don’t make it past Step 1. But there’s no benefit in just knowing customer satisfaction is important.
Some companies make it to Step 2 and measure satisfaction or collect feedback. But it doesn’t go to the right people. Can you imagine giving all your sales leads to someone who would just produce a graph of them?
Customers are kept happy exactly the same way they were won in the first place – one by one, and by someone who looks after them. That’s the key to not just measuring how your customers feel, but turning them into loyal and passionate recommenders of your business.
Don’t do a big satisfaction survey and reflect on the results. Instead send the surveys one by one, after each deliverable or invoice, as a natural part of business-as-usual.
It’s step 3 where the return on investment is achieved. And in my experience that return is huge. It’s also satisfying, because customer by customer you get to know for sure that they’re happy. Which means peace of mind on retention, and the likelihood that their purse strings will be a bit looser.
The result of these lessons in my department was that we turned a million pound miss, into exceeding budget for three years in a row.
I wish you even greater success, and I’m always happy to share experiences if you ever fancy a chat contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org