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Good Customer Service = Great Business Success

Thursday, July 16, 2015   By Mike Reddy

 



Nobody (and no business!) is perfect. There will be angry, disgruntled and dissatisfied customers, no matter how flawlessly your business plan is executed.

Take control of the negative and you can seamlessly channel these into positives.

Business coaches everywhere talk about that old statistic that on average, a customer with a complaint tells 9-10 people about the experience. Conversely, a customer whose complaint is resolved tells (on average) 5 people.

With Social media taking such a huge part in customer feedback nowadays, you may as well change those 9 or 10 people to 900 or even 1,000 or more reading about a below-par experience.

Whatever numbers you prefer to fly with, the whole equation seems lopsided.  However it’s just part of business life.

Unfortunately, negative customer experiences speak louder than positive ones. But the positive ones carry more weight - and that weight is what can convert new customers, in the blink of an eye.

Start by revisiting the basics and make sure you are implementing all of them.  My business coaching favourites:

Speed. The longer a customer waits to hear back regarding a complaint, the more upset they become. Even if a resolution may take time, a response only takes moments. Assure the customer you have heard them and that you are working on a resolution. Set follow ups and deadlines on your calendar to make sure you never leave the customer hanging.

Stop making promises you can’t keep. Be wary of biting off more than you can chew - a slower delivery time with an on-time delivery is a better way to earn loyalty than rushing (cutting corners and effectively straining your resources) only to be late.

Invest time in training your employees. In particular, those who will be handling the complaints. There is nothing more frustrating then being met with an “Um…..” when lodging a complaint. These employees need to know your product and services as you do - in depth and in detail, in order to offer knowledgeable and customised resolutions.

Keep clean, detailed and accurate records. This is a big one - if a customer has a complaint, the first thing you want to do is retrace the steps of their interaction. The more background information you have (emails, phone logs, receipts, time stamps, invoices, etc.) the better you can address their concerns.

Fast, efficient resolutions are the key to fostering loyalty and longevity in customers. Follow the basics and you can keep everyone coming back!


Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.