You’ve got your online store or business up and running. You’re generating a reasonable profit and are getting regular business – however, you keep getting customer complaints about various issues. How can you minimize or completely remove these complaints? Learning how to get customer satisfaction can mean the difference between long-term success and failure.
Learn to Measure Customer Satisfaction
Before you can ensure customer satisfaction, you must learn how to gauge it. Measuring this crucial metric is often overlooked by many companies who rely only on customer complaints.
However, you can measure how customers feel about your company before they begin to complain. Below are a few tips for measuring satisfaction:
- Survey Your Customers – The absolute best way to gauge satisfaction is to ask your customers directly in the form of a survey. Surveys allow customers to provide you feedback in every situation – they will typically only contact you if they are upset. Surveys can be sent through mail, email or through the phone. Determine which method is best based on your business model. Create a simple survey that will not burden your customers. Have two to five questions with a familiar star rating. Surveying repeat customers will help you understand how their experience changes over time.
- Find Your Faults – Instead of handling any complaints or negative survey feedback on the surface level, try to find the deeper reason for their unpleasant experience. Is it due to a product that does not meet their expectations? Was there some sort of delay in shipping? Many times common issues have simple fixes, such as providing customers with a notification when the product ships and a delivery confirmation when it arrives.
- Understand Your Customers’ Expectations – It is difficult to guarantee satisfaction if you do not know what they expect. Try to find out what your customers expect from your product or service. This can be done as part of your survey, asking them when they make a purchase or when they call customer service. Be respectful of your customers’ time and do not impose upon them to ask this question – that can create more issues than it will solve. Begin by asking if they have a spare moment to provide some feedback.
Employ Satisfaction Enhancing Practices
After gathering data from your customer about their expectations, experiences and after you have found your faults, it’s time to use this data to alter your practices.
- Create Conflict Resolution Procedures – Tim Ursiny, owner of Advantage Coaching and Training and author of “The Coward’s Guide to Conflict,” suggests that properly handling customer complaints is crucial to achieving customer satisfaction. Create a script and procedure for handling complaints. This should include clear refund policies, adamant apologizing and issue escalations. Train every customer-facing employee on these procedures to ensure a uniform customer service experience.
- Go Above and Beyond – You are unlikely a one-person operation. Customer complaints can originate from mistakes in several departments. Ursiny suggests a “shotgun” approach to customer issue resolution – ask several employees and managers what went wrong at the same time. This will decrease the time it takes to resolve the conflict and show the customer that you are going above and beyond to solve their issue.
- Anticipate Customers’ Issues – Using the data you’ve gathered, you should have a rough idea what your customers are expecting from you. Instead of waiting for complaints, proactively look for any current issues or ways to better their experience. For example, if your store ships a product, keep an eye on tracking numbers and delivery confirmations to ensure there are no shipping issues. If you find one, contact the customer immediately and let them know you are aware of the issue and it is being corrected. This will delight and impress your customers.
Complete Customer Service is Possible
Set a standard for your company of 100 percent customer satisfaction. This seemingly lofty goal is possible. It requires adequately gauging your customers’ satisfaction and experience with your company. This can then be used to modify your policies and procedures to correct any repeating issues. You can never receive a complaint again with time, dedication and training.
About the Author: Alberto Rodriguez is a contributing writer and small business owner. He spends a portion of every day ensuring that his customers and associates are satisfied with his service. Alberto has dreams of opening up several branches throughout the country.