Retaining customer loyalty

Here’s another of those articles I had written during 2001-04… there are some that I see are relevant for all time, and yes, I’m only including those that I actually wrote myself, based on my own experiences and thoughts 🙂

 

It has been mentioned several times by various business owners that “quality drives the customer to you”. Business is very much similar to life, a well-natured person always attracts the most attention. However, in order to keep the attraction alive, quality should be maintained and improved to suit the needs of people for the good.

A question arises here: How do I improve? Everyone believes that their company is the best, has the highest quality products and services and the best customer services model. The need for improvement may be evident when customers prefer going elsewhere. Here are few steps to ensure that you have the upper hand in quality and service.

Take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers. This is the most overlooked element in maintaining a healthy customer relationship. Relations with employees within the company are reflected with improved behaviour and attitude toward the customer. The reverse can be expected if they do feel mistreated.

Performance should be rewarded. A friendly gesture or a thank you every now and then makes the employee feel at home and makes him/her feel better. Make them feel important, an element without which the business wouldn’t be where it is.

Listen carefully to what your customer requires. The staff dealing with customers should have a thorough training in listening and understanding. A layman would obviously not comprehend the technicalities of certain products or services, instead would prefer to keep it short and simple and would like to be attended by someone who understands his/her needs.

Customer is the king. Know and understand that the customer is solely the boss, who can fire every single individual in the company right up to the director. If you want to retain your business, it is imperative that you attend to satisfying your customers at every possible level.

Train your people to handle all kinds of customers. Empower them with all the knowledge and details of all products, human interaction skills and rush control techniques. They should be capable and confident enough to deal with customers personally, and avoiding any misrepresentation at the same time.

Identify your service strategy. All employees should be briefed on how to deal with customers, the type of service that is being expected. Give them clear guidelines on how they will be expected to perform, and how they will be evaluated.

Remove all non-friendly policies. All rules and regulations should be framed keeping in mind customer satisfaction. Do not isolate or confuse your customer by using difficult language or harsh attitude or any other kind of barrier. This will never do, and will play a positive role in driving them away. Remove all the hurdles between you and your customers; identify where a compromise can be achieved and where it cannot.

The primary aim of the company must be “customer satisfaction”. The whole company’s resources should be focused and dedicated to provide the best possible service at the least possible price, a price which the customer would be happy to pay against value for money product and customer services.

Make excuses for being dissatisfied. Until you feel dissatisfied with the service provided you cannot expect yourself to get better at it. You should periodically observe the company’s performance with scrutiny, and develop any weakness found. Take suggestions from employees and get them to feel the responsibility that only they can help solve the problem.

Improving relations internally leads to external customer satisfaction. Each department within an organisation is a customer to the other, as long as they serve each other at any level. Encourage improved performance and relations within the company, and inter-departmental harmony should be highlighted to give each employee a sense of being a team member and give way to good governance.

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