If we take a moment to think of the top five things that a business struggles with, customer retention has to be near the lead. We spend so much time trying to lure new business, only to discover we are then riding a roller-coaster of repeat business uncertainty.
It’s definitely a challenge for any organization in these competitive times, and so it should be.
I don’t think there are too many industries who can afford to adopt the mindset of “if you don’t like it, go somewhere else”. Your rivals will love that. So will their bank balance.
Who knows? Maybe your organization is ridiculously successful, and doesn’t want, or need the business.
If so, congratulations, however you probably won’t be interested in reading this.
For the rest of us, we may need a little guidance on how customers, and their experiences can contribute significantly to our success.
Insight Is Everything
Knowing what’s on the minds of the masses can give an organization an undeniable power. Advantage over competitors is a sword we all wish to wield, with insight a formidable weapon that can lead to many gains across the business.
Using your customer feedback to track your quality control measures is an essential first step in moving toward improved quality control. The second step is ensuring your systems can handle input on everything from first point of contact, to resolution management.
Dealing with criticism for a service delivery faults is essential to managing customer’s expectation, but imagine what this critique can provide, on an internal quality assurance level.
A correctly implemented system will ensure awareness of the more common areas of complaint.
From there, it’s up to you.
Help Us Help You
Make no mistake, your customers can give you a strong impression of how they are feeling, with a simple raising of an eyebrow, but we need more if we are to gain clearer vision on the real issues.
If we believe what we read, customer dissatisfaction is growing, but there is an upside. Any organization now has the opportunity to retain customers instead of spending money obtaining new ones.
Measuring their experiences is key.
How you measure will need some consideration, but start with something simple and insightful. A survey is probably the most, straightforward and truthful way to determine customer service and delivery quality.
Be careful though, there are right and wrong ways to conduct a customer survey.
There is one thing owners and managers tend to overlook when dealing with customer complaints.
If you are trying to motivate a more positive response from customers, maybe it’s time to look a little closer to home.
What is your staff’s perception of the customers? Is there a degree of indifference?
Many organizations are now seeing a direct link to staff satisfaction and customer treatment.
While no employee expects a pat on the back for simply doing the job they are employed to do, the benefits to customers is substantial if these same employees are recognized for extra efforts and rewarded accordingly. It’s a bit like a domino effect.
The future viability of any organization depends on its people and all staff needs to recognize how important excellent feedback is for continued quality.
So What Does All This Tell Me?
As scary as it sounds, complaints must be cordially invited, and duly exploited to be of any use. Feedback sought, but not utilized, is a waste of everyone’s time.
Ask yourself what you want to achieve. As a business, we should always be looking to continuous improvement. If it all seems overwhelming, break larger problems down into smaller goals.
Managing the complaints is equally as important as knowing where the issues lie.
If you are finding a particular complaint is a regular occurrence, celebrate it. Then ask yourself, ‘what are my training needs’? It could be a particular job training issue, or one of individual performance management.
It is not until an organization is prepared to take the bad with the good that they can begin to identify issues, and go forward with a sincere intent to alter and refine.
Through honest evaluation, successful quality management is achievable.
Image: NEC Corporation of America