Customer satisfaction is notoriously difficult to measure for several reasons.
To begin with, you have to count on customers not only to give feedback, but also to be honest in their assessment. Many people, when satisfied, feel no need to contact the company, while others will quietly grumble about flaws in service or products and swear off a company without ever seeking redress or voicing their complaints so that the situation can be remedied.
Requirements for satisfaction are not only unique to each individual customer, they can be extremely difficult to quantify, even on a personal level. However, if you are able to set standards for employee conduct where interactions with customers are concerned (both from a point-of-sale and a customer service perspective) then you can certainly implement procedures and guidelines to ensure customer satisfaction and measure their success. You can start by going to the source.
1. Survey Customers
This is probably the only way to get customer feedback unless they contact you, which most people are too busy to bother with unless they are extremely upset for some reason.
You can provide surveys in several ways (through mail, email, or over the phone) and in order to get the best information, you should allow customers to answer questions on a weighted scale (as in “Rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 indicating complete dissatisfaction and 5 indicating complete satisfaction”). You may also want to survey repeat customers to see how their experience changes over time.
2. Understand Expectations
If you know what your customers expect from you, it logically follows that you will be better able to offer them an enjoyable experience. So make an effort to discover the expectations of your customers in terms of both service and products in order to ensure that you’re meeting their needs.
3. Find Out Where You’re Failing
If you’re not meeting customer requirements, you need to find out where the failure is occurring. Are the products less than what is advertised? Are employees making promises that cannot be met? Are customer service representatives dropping the ball on dispelling customer concerns and managing their complaints? You may need to take a step back and reevaluate your management abilities. Take strides to become a better manager by attending business seminars to get advice or taking management classes to earn a degree, perhaps a masters in organizational leadership. Learning how to manage your employees better will undoubtedly have a positive affect on your customer service. Whatever the case, it would behoove you to know where the lines of communication are breaking down so that relationships with customers can be mended.
4. Pinpoint Specifics
Whether a customer is satisfied or not, the data you collect will need to accurately assess what is working and what isn’t. So inquiries into level of satisfaction should include more than just the overall experience. You need to determine the products or services they purchased, what they liked or disliked about their sales interaction, how the actual purchase compared to their expectations, and any suggestions they have for improvement.
5. Assess the Competition
If you don’t know why customers prefer another brand over yours, you cannot hope to keep them from flocking to the competition. So as part of your survey process, you may want to consider inviting customers to compare and contrast similar products or companies to find out what they are offering that you are not.
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