Is the customer always right?
In business, customers are the most important assets to ensure lasting success.
Research has proven that emotions influence a customer’s purchasing decision; therefore, it’s key to ensure that you create a lasting first impression while developing strong emotional bonds. It is way harder to make a new customer than to keep an old one, thus the extreme need to not only meet a customer’s expectations, but to exceed them.
Exceeding customer expectations is achieved through understanding who your customers are and their specific needs. The below tips are guidelines:
- Respond to customer queries promptly whether on email, fax or telephone.
- Offer a friendly and prompt front office service.
This is guided by the 4Ps:
- Premises – ensure an orderly ,spacious and clean premises.
- Personnel – ensure the personnel are welcoming and friendly.
- Process – the service process should be simple, convenient and clear.
- Products – ensure your personnel have a good understanding of the products.
Customers do not like surprises or changes. The product quality, service delivery and product appearance should be uniform. Do you know why Coke is popular all over the World? It’s because it tastes pretty much the same everywhere and is bottled in familiar packaging.
Customer excellence should be embraced by every department, from the office desk to the Directors office. Research shows that an unsatisfied customer is likely to tell more people than a satisfied one. Therefore, it’s vital for an organization to set standards in the below areas:
4. Professional image
Professional image is more than just looking good. It applies to 4 key areas:
- Image and perception. You should ensure you make a good first impression by smiling, direct eye contact, be aware of your body language and tone of voice, and be genuine. Ensure that you sit, stand and walk with a good posture. Ensure your image stays professional and competent. Be conscious of your body language and the message it sends.
- Conduct and ethics. Ensure that your conduct is consistent with your image and values. Ensure your office and work area is orderly and clean. Accept blame when responsible.
- Communication. Maintain eye contact and pay close attention to the customer, maintain a professional tone and language in writing and verbal and keep confidential information. Always remember that you speak two languages; English and body. – Mae West
- Technology and work skills. Know when not to use cellphones and ensure you can operate technology with ease.
5. Dealing with conflicts
Time and time again we face difficult customers and it is important to know how to cope strategically. You first need to understand the problem by defining and analyzing the source of the conflict, list possible alternatives and select the best. Then after solving the conflict apologize, listen and empathize.
In conclusion, in this dynamic competitive business world, customer satisfaction is inevitable..