Most small business owners (and some large ones too) sadly operate under the false notion that their customers will usually say something to them when they are unhappy – unfortunately this is a incorrect assumption.
The thing is: Most customers won’t say anything if they are unhappy, they just stop buying.
The time to start asking your customers what you can do to improve your customer service, was yesterday, last week and last year. The time to start asking your customers what you can do to improve your customer service is definitely not the day your customer becomes angry, nor is it the day that you realize that you haven’t seen the customer in a while, because he has gone somewhere else.
The time to ask your customers what you can do to improve your customer service is when they are currently with you.
How many of you can recall a time when you have gotten a call or a visit or a email from a company where you are a current customer, asking you to tell them what it can do to serve you better.
I can hardly recall a time, and i am pretty sure that neither can you!
In his book UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging , Scott Stratten provides a really great and simple way to get feedback from customers, which he calls “Stop Start Continue”. Using an online survey service like Survey Money for example, you can send out a brief email to your customer list, asking them these three simple questions.
- What should we STOP doing?
- What should we START doing?
- What should we CONTINUE doing to ensure that we not only meet but exceed your customer expectations.
Most business owners and managers, once they have received responses from customers, would rather sit on their laurels, rather than take the opportunity to act.
Not you! You need to take the opportunity to act.
You have a great window of opportunity – Your customers have responded to you, they have given you their attention, and their ears. Now your job is to follow up!
Just hearing what your customers have to tell you, can’t be the last step , it is only the first step.
Sure you probably are not going to change anything based on something just one of your customers has told you – the aim of this exercise is for you and your team to focus on the issues that come up consistently.
The things that come up consistently ? These are the things that you are not delivering on, and that you need to fix up ASAP.
Once you have collated the responses, and discovered which issues come up consistently , you need to make sure that you delegate every single issue that has to be fixed to someone (someone with the authority to take action!) and then you need to follow up to make sure that the issues were fixed.
While you are at it : Make sure that you thank every person/customer/client who took part in the survey, and be sure to let them know that you are working really, really damn hard to improve the quality of your service.