Today, we’re going to talk about something everyone’s interested in, how to improve customer satisfaction. This is an ongoing goal for any company worth their salt, and for good reason. An unsatisfied customer is not a returning customer. Lost customers are lost profit, which equals failure when the incremental loss adds up.
The phrase “the customer is always right” isn’t entirely accurate, as some of the secrets to customer satisfaction are how to tell them “no” in a way they will openly accept. It’s sad but true, sometimes you do have to say “no” or “this isn’t possible”. Customers will ask for the unreasonable or the impossible without even knowing they are doing so.
So what’re some secrets to how to improve customer service? Surprisingly, a lot of them are common sense, but still, they seem to go ignored often enough. That said, let’s look at the five biggest tips on improving customer service. These are all equally important, so their order should be dismissed as just necessary, but not meaningful.
#1 – Saying No the Right Way
Let’s get this one out of the way first, since we already kind of brought it up. There comes a time when a customer will demand something that’s absurd or just not possible to make happen. This could be any number of situations depending on customer and company in question. Nonetheless, in any industry, this is going to happen.
Saying “no” the proper way is the key to this being less of an issue. Explaining to them that it is just out of your hands or that it simply can’t be done is a start. If necessary, self-degrade and take the blame for being unable to facilitate their demands. They will feel vindicated and a bit justified.
You may also placate them in some situations with incentives that are entirely up to your company.
#2 – First Call Resolutions
Staying with customer service, first call resolutions are a really great thing to strive for. If a customer manages to get their issue dealt with, addressed, or their question answered with a single call, they will be very pleased at how easy it was.
This can be done with proactive strategies and a lot of contingencies your staff are trained in so that they can be prepared to quickly handle all but the really severe or odd problems within minutes.
#3 – Encouraging Self-Service
Self-service is feared by many, but customers will greatly appreciate this. The less intervention from staff they need to get their task accomplished, the happier they will be. Customers value their time, and appreciate others seeing the value they assign to it.
One of the best ways to ensure their time does not appear wasted is through improved self-service models where possible.
#4 – Better Refund Policies
Stop offering customers discounts, gift certificates or service credits. If they are under enough duress as to demand their money back, simply give it to them. This may cause some profit loss and may leave minor loopholes through which they may slightly exploit things, but if done right, this can be kept to a minimum.
A customer given their money back will possibly consider using your company again in the future, due to your cooperation.
#5 – Encouraging Customer Feedback
Encouraging customer feedback is important. Customers who feel they can complain, even one-directionally just to get it off their chest, will appreciate this. Sometimes people just need to rant and voice their opinion even if no resolution is to be had.
This is best done through social networks such as Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook.
If you’re looking for how to improve customer satisfaction, these are the five golden rules that should be considered first. Yes, some of them are common sense, but how many companies have that much common sense?
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