Unhappy consumers vote with their feet. If you're concerned about how well you satisfy your customers, their input can show you what — and how — to improve. Zendesk, an online customer service platform suggests using a well-designed survey to help you retain existing customers and attract new ones.
1. Ask for feedback
As the saying goes, "Now, tell me how you really feel." It's tough to improve customer satisfaction unless you know what your customers think about the job you're doing or service you’re providing. Ron Kaufman, a speaker on improved customer service and author of the book Up! Your Service, suggests that you ask for feedback — both complimentary and constructive. There are multiple ways to ask your customers for their feedback, including through social media, telephone calls, and online and print surveys. How you collect your feedback is up to you. Just remember, the best survey includes questions that address areas of service you want to evaluate or improve, yielding real input rather than fishing for positive answers.
2. Study the responses
Surveys themselves won't tell you what you should continue to do or improve — the answers will. The answers you receive can reveal patterns, including repeated comments and critical input. For example, if you receive one complaint about a late shipment or a botched service call, that single incident may not reveal anything more than a one-time blemish on an otherwise outstanding record. However, when 50 percent of a survey's responses complain about long hold times or missed deadlines, you may want to think about solutions to potential problems.
3. Fix real problems
If you’ve identified a problem, look for a solution rather than a scapegoat. Even though it’s important to identify employees who might lack customer service skills, do it tactfully — pointing out weaknesses with no solutions for those weaknesses does no good. You may see better results with constructive criticism than you’ll get from lecturing your workforce.
4. Share feedback internally
Without knowing the specifics of how customers feel about your service, your employees may think that they're doing a great job. Consider sharing survey comments with your entire staff in efforts to improve. By doing so, there’s likely a chance your employees will refocus on the company’s goals.
5. Share progress externally
When your customers share input with you, they want you to take their comments seriously. Talking about change without implementing actual improvements won't enhance customer relations. In fact, it could give the impression that your company is “all talk, no action.” However, if your customers see you making a real effort to address their concerns about your service, you can expect their satisfaction ratings to increase as well.
Elizabeth Mott has run a consulting firm since 1990, providing her clients with a wide range of services, including campaign strategy, production and implementation. Her work has appeared on publications such as The Arizona Republic.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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