The food came late. The meal tasted awful. The unsmiling waiter kept us waiting for the bill. The restaurant manager wasn’t there to listen to our complaints.
This isn’t about customer gripes. We all have our own tales of service woe:
• Deliveries that come a week late.
• Waiting on the call centre line for up to half an hour to speak to accounts for your utility bill and getting cut off and having to call again… and again.
• Taking your car to be repaired and receiving it back with new repair problems.
• Buying a new shirt only to find that buttons are missing and needing to take it back.
• Opening a pack of pasta to make a Saturday night dinner and finding the pasta black with weevils.
• Being sold a computer printer with a European electric plug and the store not being able to supply a replacement for local electricity connections
Do you treat your customers like this?
Isn’t it amazing that in our every-day personal lives we are treated to such abysmal service but when it comes to running a small business do we stop to consider how we are serving customers?
Where in your small business are you falling short of customer expectations? What are customers saying to others about your service?
We ate at a Portuguese restaurant the other evening and when we paid our bill, we were presented with a service rating card. The questions included: did your waiter greet you with a smile? How would you rate your meal? Did the manager come and check whether everything was satisfactory? In this instance everything was beyond our expectations including requests for food some items off the menu.
How often do you find out from your customers what they feel about your service? If you don’t have some system or tool in place, you are more likely to only hear complaints rather than what you’re doing right.
Excellent customer service starts with an attitude, an approach of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and finding out what will delight them.
Some small business owners take the trouble to have customer satisfaction topmost of their priorities like the Portuguese restaurant. They use their imagination to come up with ways to improve their customer service. They buy from competition to assess their levels of service. They send in mystery shoppers.
Do you make it easy for customers to give feedback? Do you have a visitor’s book? It’s the small personal things that often matter most – and these can either be low-cost or no cost.
Taking time to evaluate your customer experience and generate ideas to improve your service is profitable business. Satisfied customers come back and research shows they tell at least six other people about the excellent service they have received.
If you are looking at ways to improve your customer service and keep customers coming back, let me know how we can help.
Pencast: How to turn your ideas into profit
The simple four-step system that transforms your new product or service idea into an income generator
Click your cursor at the beginning of the pencast (on the image) below to listen and view.