As a business owner or as a manager, you should want to create not just good service but amazing customer service. Yet, most businesses provide mediocre service. Why?
To create the kind of customer service that turns customers into raving fans requires focus and effort. It is worth the expenditure of both.
I encourage you to ask the hard questions. Ask questions that generate answers that are difficult to hear. It is these questions and these answers that can transform your company.
You see businesses that talk about their unbelievable customer satisfaction scores. Those scores could be the result of asking easy questions. But those scores don't help the company improve.
I will share the two questions to ask if you want to improve. But understand, if you ask these questions, you may not like the answers.
The first question is one that you ask customers that no longer do business with you.
Here is my suggestion about how to ask the question. "We noticed that you are no longer purchasing from us, and that means we may have failed to care for you in some way. Can you share with us how we might have done a better job in serving you?"
You may need to change the wording to match your business, but that is the underlying question you need to answer.
Think about how much better you can get if you know why every customer leaves. Some of the answers will not be helpful as they may no longer need your product or service. But some will have gone to your competition, and knowing the reasons why they left is priceless. It shows you where you need to improve.
The second hard question you ask when someone fails to buy from you. This question is primarily for those in the B2B sales arena. This question needs to be asked by the owner or the sales manager. Here is how I would ask the question:
"I know that you decided to purchase from another vendor, and I respect that decision. I am not calling/writing to change your mind. But I am concerned that we failed in some way in our sales process. Can you share with me what we could have done better?"
If you ask a sales rep why they will usually tell you the competitor had a better product or price. But learning the reason from the customer's perspective will teach you how to improve.
Another source of helpful information is inviting your customers to a lunch-and-learn session at your office. In this case, you are the one doing the learning. Invite some customers that are happy with you, but invite even more customers that are likely to complain.
Ask them what they don't like about doing business with you. Make notes, ask questions, and listen, but don't be on the defensive. The happy customers will be more willing to speak up about areas you need to improve when they see other customers making suggestions.
When you learn what your customers don't like, you can identify areas to change. This constant negative feedback will show you your weakness and help you improve service.
Many businesses spend a great deal of time and effort in attracting new customers. They offer specials and give things away to attract new clients.
In many cases, they successfully generate new clients, yet their businesses may not be growing.
Too often, this process is like fishing with a net that is open at both ends. They bring in new customers at the same rate they lose existing customers.
Asking the hard questions and asking the problematic customers helps you close the net. Closing the net reduces the customer churn, grows your business, and improves your profitability.
I recommend this book: Customers for Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer by Carl Sewell as a starting point on creating raving fans. Here is an Amazon link for it. https://amzn.to/3pw5PWa
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