Unlike the weather, a successful business must pay attention to public opinion if they want to succeed. Complaints and compliments are equally useful to management as they give great insight into customer’s wants, needs and expectations.
Unfortunately many customers don't complain as they feel is it too difficult, or that their grievances won't be taken seriously. Of these customers who don’t complain at least half will cease their relationship with your company. If a customer does take the time to contact your company, and their issues are not dealt with professionally, they will be even more irate than before and are sure to tell anyone who will listen, what an awful experience they had. Conversely, if your customer’s complaint is handled efficiently and effectively they will become more loyal to your brand.
How easy is it for your customers to talk to you?
Ask yourself the following:
- How confident are you that your customers’ complaints are being handled effectively?
- Does your team feel that they have all the information needed to handle complaints effectively?
- Are they empowered to deal with these complaints?
- More importantly do they know what they are authorised to handle?
- Will your team recognise when an incident needs to be escalated to a manager?
Customers want relationships
Customers want to feel appreciated and that they have a connection with a brand. Wonder what I mean by this? Take a look at the sports industry.
People will paint their faces, camp out in the rain, spend thousands on merchandise and feel personally affronted if anyone should criticize their beloved team. If you think that this kind of loyalty is limited to sports enthusiasts, simply look at the status war between Audi, BMW and Mercedes drivers. These companies have brand ambassadors who will defend the brand on chat forums, at dinners, over coffee and in the media.
Who are these fearless warriors? They are customers, they are not sponsored speakers, they are simply satisfied customers who believe in the brand.
Building customer loyalty goes hand in hand with customer trust. People want reliable, supported products and services. Customers want to know that when they buy something there will be consistency, that the product will be good, and their interaction with your company will be pleasant.
Customer expectations are dual levelled
There is ‘what the customer would like’ and ‘what they are willing to accept’.
The customer service process is key to exceeding customer expectations. Companies are supposed to be accurate, dependable and provide the services they promise, but if a company can exceed the expectations of the customer it will build loyalty and likely entice more customers via word of mouth.
The opportunity lies in the ability to surprise a customer with an uncommon swiftness, competence, commitment, courtesy, or understanding of their needs. With so many product options out there, quality service is one the biggest motivations for customers to choose your company and to continue to use your services.
Customer expectations will be influenced by a customer's perception of the product or service, and can be created by previous experience or awareness of competitors.
Think about insurance for a moment. Before taking out insurance most people get comparative quotes and ask friends, colleagues and acquaintances about their experiences with various insurance companies. If interactions with the company during the initial enquiry phase are easy and flow effortlessly you would be more inclined to make use of their services, even if they did not offer the lowest quote.
Why would that be? The reason is simple, because most of our interactions, once signing up with the insurance company, will be in times of duress. No one wants to deal with incompetent, slow or rude service, especially when you are in a compromised situation. Fast, friendly, simple service will win the day.
Keep your customers close
It costs far more to recruit a new customer than it does to maintain an existing one, keeping your current customer-base happy has never been more important. It is vital that your customers have access to an effortless and well supported channel of communication with your company.
Whether it is by means of an online customer feedback system, a customer support line, or an onsite customer service division, the process should run seamlessly to resolve any customer issues rapidly and effectively.
Prevention is better than cure
Excellent customer service is achieved through efficient effective and enforced company procedures. To reduce customer dissatisfaction an organisation must ensure that its business processes are running as they should.
If you enjoyed this article you may like How to Lose a Customer in 10 Ways.
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