Last time, I wrote about the importance of excellent customer service and gave some examples of good and bad service. This time, I am going to look at a few ways to improve your level of service. Let’s explore this by looking at some questions.
Do you actively solicit customer feedback? It is important to use a strategically planned process to get feedback. If not, you could get too few responses or skewed results.
If you do not ask your customers for input, you may never know what is really going on. Questions like “How was your stay?” or “How was your meal?” are too general to solicit really usable results. What about my stay? It cold refer to the quality of the furniture, cleanliness, the housekeeping staff, the HVAC system, noise, or many other factors. Most people will not want to take the time to discuss each of these. When I check ort of a hotel, my priority is to get on the road, not get into a detailed conversation.
Many companies use follow-up surveys to solicit feedback. Actively seeking responses from all customers or from a truly random sample can avoid basing actions on potentially skewed data. Customers are more likely to complain if they are unhappy than offer praise if they are satisfied. If we only listen to the complains it can give us inaccurate results,
How do you address complaints? Last time, I told about my saga of dealing with a bank. Since them, I again had to spend over an hour on hold to deal with the issue they previously told me in writing had been resolved. They finally agreed it was resolved and they had not entered the information correctly. I’m still not sure, but I don’t want to call back to ask.
What I do know is that over a month after I filed a complaint, I still have not received any response. Complaints cannot be ignored. They should be addressed in person or as follow-up conversations or correspondence.
Providing a response demonstrates you are concerned about customer concerns and appreciate their issues. Research shows 68% of customers will stop doing business with a company if they believe you do not care about them. 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. While happy customers may only tell family and friends about their experiences, 13% of unhappy people will tell 15 or more people. It is important to acknowledge the complaint and let the customer know you will follow up. Doing this is not enough unless you also let the customer know what was done.
How do you analyze customer complaints? When customers complain we need to take their feedback seriously using a planned process. Use the Pareto Principle: 80% of the result come from 20% of the causes. Categorize your results by type of complaint, location, day of the week, time of day, cost of the problem, or other groups to see what type of problems are most likely to occur, where they occur, and other factors. If we do this, we can avoid placing too much emphasis on items that are less likely to occur.
Are your employees involved in dealing with customer service? The more engaged they are in meeting customers, hearing their concerns, and trying to resolve them, the better your chances of effectively improving all parts of your system. We will look at the benefits of employee involvement in customer service next time.