In most organizations today, customer satisfaction is a critical performance measure regardless of what type of product or service you provide to the consumer. Even government-funded services (which are usually free to the consumer) weigh customer satisfaction very heavily when measuring performance. The one key factor in increasing the customer satisfaction rate is customer service. That’s why we have seen a significant increase in customer service trainings within businesses and organizations over the past decade.
Over the years, I have seen my fair share of good and bad customer service…and I am certain you have, also. From the drive-up window at your favorite fast food spot to the service counter at the post office, there’s certainly a varying level of customer service. Here are a few simple elements that your customers want to see:
- Professional Appearance – Seems simple, right? But you would be surprised how many times you go into a business and the first person you see looks like they’ve been hit by a truck. Being dressed professionally and having a clutter-free work space will speak volumes to your customer that you care about yourself. Think about it…if you don’t care about yourself, do you really think the customers feel that you care about them? One single item that can improve your professional appearance – a smile.
- Acknowledgement – Let the customer know you recognize they are present and then listen to their request. After all, they ARE your customer, right? Greet them appropriately by name (if you know it) and then inquire on how you can be of service to them. A simple acknowledgement goes a LONG way.
- Quick Response – Take action immediately on the customer’s request. If it will take a while to provide a final product or service, then at least keep the customer updated on the progress of their request. One of your goals should be to reduce wait time or eliminate it all together…because in today’s fast-paced world, no one likes to wait.
- Follow-up – Be sure the customer received the service/product they requested. Whether it be through a customer-satisfaction survey, a thank you note, or a quick question before they exit your business – always make certain that you inquire about the service that was provided. This step will greatly increase your chances of a repeat visit from the customer (that is, if their experience was a good one).
Just applying these four simple steps as you deal with customers will increase your customer satisfaction levels. Even if the customers don’t get exactly what they requested, the process of being professional, acknowledging them, responding and following up should create a satisfactory experience for all involved. Take time this week to implement these elements and see how your customers respond.