Are your Customers Happy – do you know?

“Business is about the science of quality management – the science of getting happy customers and keeping happy customers.” – Allan Aanonson

Every business and company needs customers who are more than willing to provide repeat business and also refer people they know. How many companies can instantly answer the question are your customers happy? Will they remain with you or move over to competition without hesitation? The mind-boggling reality is that all satisfied customers are not necessarily happy. As a policy every company must constantly be on the lookout for any signs and indications from customers that would suggest that they are not happy and use the data to connect with these customers to find out why and what the company can do to make things better. Whatever the approach a company decides to take, the end result must be a positive response to the question, are your customers happy.

Agreed that technology is everywhere and most of the processes have become automated and the ‘cool’ thing to do is get on to a social media site and post comments and views. From a company’s perspective this will never suffice – they need to go out and make personal connections and have face to face interactions with customers. They must make time to share and learn from customers and make a sincere effort to ‘listen’ to what the customer says. The day and age of getting a customer and knowing that they will remain is gone. Now companies cannot survive on hope – they must be able to answer in affirmative to, are your customers happy and if they cannot, their success or even survival cannot be guaranteed. Every effort must be made to remain in touch with customers and keep them engaged and interested in your company and what you can do for them. Companies cannot afford to rest on their laurels but must remain conscious that the answer to the question – are your customers happy? – must always be yes and if not then it should set off panic to get things in order. This must be the effort via every channel of communication with the customer to ensure sustained success.

What makes it harder to keep answering the question – are your customers happy – in the affirmative, is that the customer now has such a buffet of choices that they can and will shop and buy from anywhere. Customers can afford to be cynical of a company and its products without reason and companies are being forced to quadruple their efforts in keeping customers and ensuring they remain happy. One dissatisfied out the door could be the start of mass customer attrition leading to severe problems for a company. Companies must ensure that they are listening and be ready to take ownership when things go wrong for the customer. Customers demand and expect information to be readily available and want companies to come up with solutions to their problems with the least possible delay. Giving this and more to customers will ensure that your company has their attention for a while and that your customers are happy. We say for a while since customers need to be constantly reminded that they can depend on your company and that your company is sincerely committed to making their business a success and also reduce the amount of effort they need to do business with you. You can confidently say yes when asked ‘are your customers happy?’

A customer centric company will have a robust and tight customer service strategy in place and such a stratagem has nothing to do with the size or ‘age’ of the company nor should it change based on industry. Every company needs to be customer focused – unless they are satisfied with their growth, success and profits! This statement is so ridiculous since there is no company or individual who is willing to settle for what they have – from a multi-billion dollar company to a small time business. Put together a service strategy, constantly renew it and continue improve on it and be sure that you will be able to say that you have happy customers and frustrated competitors. Are your customers happy? Do you know if they are? If you don’t know you must find out:

– The easiest and surest way to find out are your customers happy is by asking them. Speak to a regular customer, reach out to a set of your loyal customers – find any way possible to check so that you can improve service. A short conversation with a customer has the potential to reveal some vital information that can help you make your products and service better.

– Ensure that everyone in your company understands that customer service is not meant to be reactive but rather a proactive way of doing things. If your service strategy is about fixing things when they go wrong, you can be sure that your company will not happy customers for too long. Great customer service can enhance a company’s reputation beyond their imagination and shoddy service will most certainly pull your company down and possibly irreparably. It is imperative that all strategies and policies revolve round making customers happy.

– For your company to be known for stellar customer service, your service representatives must be treated well. How you manage and treat your employees will decide how they in turn treat your customers. Unhappy and disgruntled employees are unlikely to care for your customers to the level they expect and deserve. You expect your employees to make the customers feel special, wanted and cared for – this is exactly how they should be treated and made to feel. If you view service from your customer’s viewpoint, it is necessary to view employment and work environment from your employee’s perspective.

– Ensure that your customer service teams are always equipped with the technology to work better and resources are invested in getting for them adequate and requisite training and coaching. When the service representatives ‘are up to speed’ the number of customer complaints and problems will reduce and you would be able to confidently say yes when asked ‘are your customers happy. As customers get happier they make your company more profitable which in turn makes it possible for you to take better care of your employees and the cycle continues.

– Everyone knows how social media and the internet have taken over our lives. This translates to customers expecting more and having access to more. The more a company focuses on, providing on time service, anticipating the needs of customers and providing for those needs, personalizing and providing service via any channel customers desire, the better their chances of having a happy and loyal customer base. Also with so many hand-held devices and smart applications, customers increasingly expect that they can connect with a company at any time and from anywhere. This is also true, given that companies are reaching out to customers from different countries and time zones.

– Companies without a doubt are always focused on acquiring new business and sometimes make the inadvertent error of ignoring their existing loyal customers. It is crucial to treat this highly profitable group right lest they decide to leave. Never take their loyalty for granted – especially with the current surge in companies that are vying for their attention. Any business knows how tough it is to retain customers and also that it takes years of concerted effort and great service to get them to the ‘loyal’ stage. Wouldn’t it be foolish to let them go by ignoring them? Offer special incentives, discounts, run customized programs and do whatever it takes to strengthen the relationship you have with them.

Are your customers happy is the quintessential question for any company that prides itself on its customer service. Are you one of them?

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