Customers rate the service they received in a company or business by how they were attended to by those they came in contact with. If the sales assistant was rude, the cashier unhelpful, the manager/owner unfriendly or carefree, he goes with the impression that he got a terrible service. Irrespective of how warm or friendly the porter or security personnel might be.
Everyone ought to act like a customer service representative since a company’s customer service can make or break them.
Your customers are likely to stop patronizing you after two or more dis-satisfied experiences, if they can access an alternative provider. Usually, customers compare you to the best experience they have and not necessarily to your competitor next door. Some of the expectations from customers include:
GOOD CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP
Your customer relationship, should appeal to your customers. Being friendly helps and creates a relationship beyond the formal. Genuine interest in your customers’ wellbeing is likely to win them over rather than lose them. Reaching out to your customers helps to endear you to them. Contacting them regularly such as during their birthdays or other anniversaries shows them you have much regard for them.
GETTING IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME (EXCELLENCE)
Your product or service should satisfy the needs of your customer, thus making them happier. There should be no room for cutting corners or rendering a sub optimal service that suits the provider .The customer should get what they want at the least. They expect the service or product to at least meet their needs or better still surpass same. This would likely make them come back. They expect service organizations to look good, be responsive, professional and reliable. They expect firms/ businesses to render services satisfactorily. Some specific expectations include; restaurants- to serve fresh and hygienically prepared delicious meals; tailor/ fashion designer-to deliver well cut and tailored clothing that fits well; hospitals-to diagnose and treat without complications; shops-to sell wholesome items at competitive prices; laundry/ dry cleaning- to deliver clean and well pressed clothes without destroying any; auto mechanic- to diagnose and fix automobiles professionally; mason/brick layer- to lay blocks , plaster according to design or specification ; hairdresser/ barber-deliver what the customer requests etc.
Good inventory helps you have what your customers want. They want variety from which they can choose at any point in time or make informed decision regarding any product line needed. This helps them get 80 percent of the items needed such as in a Supermarket, Pharmacy, Spare-parts shop, building materials shop etc. If customers ask for an item that is not available, endeavor to source it and inform them with the contact left behind. This way you work yourself into having them for life. You may also work out arrangements with nearby similar businesses as a way of achieving the above.
REMAIN A PACESETTER
A satisfied customer will always come back and expect same or higher level of service. It is imperative you realize that good is never enough except you get better. If you rest on your oars after achieving a fit, such as implementing a new idea, others will surpass you in a competitive environment. Once you have implemented an idea and improved on your service or product, do it again and make it better. If you want to stay on top, continuous improvement is a must within your industry or area of operation. Periodic review of the operations helps to reveal areas that need improvement. And with continuous improvement, customer expectation will always be met.
Do not let customers feel cheated by not pricing your products/ services competitively. Customers will always come back, if they believe their needs are being met at reasonable prices.
PROMPT ATTENTION TO COMPLAINTS
They want prompt attention to complaints and not to be asked to wait or repeat their visit or story. There should not be an unwillingness to address the issue(s) raised, but rather to satisfy the customer reasonably. And this should be personalized to the concerned customer in addressing the issue raised. Also electronic response system where deployed, should be followed up by a rep or live person. Answers should be consistent (if from different staff) towards addressing the issue. Anything contrary could lead to loss of confidence by the customer.
When you meet the needs of your customer,
- They will come back for a repeat of the great service they received- Repeat Patronage.
- They will likely recommend you to friends and family (referrals) that you are indeed good and may in this era of social media share their experience & recommendation. But if the service is poor, you would get the reverse of the above.
When you deliver a customer service expected, you will reap repeat patronage with positive referrals which translates to higher revenue.
By Charles Ochieze
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