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3 Simple Ways To Improve Customer Satisfaction Today

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3 Simple Ways To Improve Customer Satisfaction Today

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: February 14, 2013

As business owners, we’d all like to think of ourselves as providers of great customer service. As small business owners in particular, it’s quite possibly your biggest differentiator. After all, how often is it that you walk into a national chain restaurant and are greeted by name, handed your favorite drink and made to feel like part of the family?

But great customer service is also about knowing how to handle problems, responding to and resolving issues—something at which agile small businesses can often excel.

If customer satisfaction is your goal, then great customer service will get you there.

Here are three simple things you can do to embed customer service into your business philosophy and day-to-day operations:

Listen and Learn

Listening is key to effective customer service and it can also help boost your profitability. Here are two ways to prove to your customers that you are listening–and tips on how to make it count:

  • Everyday Customer Interaction – Show you are listening to your customers by taking notes or repeating back what your customer has said. Listen to their words and tone. Observe their body language. Provide them clear and concise communication. Ask clarifying questions to gain understanding before you provide a response. If you can’t respond immediately, be sure to provide a timeline for response and make a note in your calendar to do so. Follow up, confirm the resolution and check for customer satisfaction and completion.
  • Facilitating Feedback – If you don’t have a reason for face-to-face interaction with a customer, look for ways to stay in touch and show you are listening and eager to keep the lines of communication open. For example, follow up with a customer after a sale to prove to your customers that you want to hear from them. Hand out in-store or post-sale surveys to find out what they’d like to see from your brand—and stay active on social media (more on this below). Customer service is, after all, about meeting the needs and expectations of the customer as defined by the customer. By soliciting feedback and using that information to inform your business you will find new ways to ensure your business is relevant to them and hopefully open new lines of profitable opportunity.

In order to have effective customer service, you must know what your customers want, provide it to them on a consistent basis and ask them how you are doing.

Look For Ways to Treat Customers As You Would Like To Be Treated

Remember, how you and your staff communicate with your customers is just as important as what you communicate. Remember that your customer wants to see the sunny side of you and your business, so have your filter on and put yourself in their shoes.

A good way to instill this attitude among your staff is to do some simple role play in which they act out a few scenarios that involve both easy-going and difficult customers. Observe how they handle the situation and coach them on areas to improve.

For example:

  • How are customers being greeted? — Put them at ease and make them feel comfortable!  This sets the tone for the rest of the transaction.
  • Demonstrate that your customers are valued Let them know you think they are important.  Your sincerity makes them feel good about you and the organization.
  • Ask how to help your customers Find out what they want. It is important that each customer encounter makes them feel satisfied.
  • Don’t challenge disgruntled customers — Listen, reassure them that you’ll escalate or act on their complaint and follow through until resolution.
  • Help customers Help them get what they want. Make it easy for customers to locate or obtain the information they need. Answer their questions in a timely manner.

Carry Customer Service Across All Your Customer Touch Points

Remember to carry through on your customer service goals wherever your business has a presence. This means both online and offline. More than ever, social media is a systematic part of your customer service model, so if you have a presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and so on, be sure you are actively listening, engaging, monitoring and responding to your customers online. This blog offers some tips that can help: How to Use Social Media to Do a Better Job of Customer Service.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

This was a really good article. I agree with those who commented saying a business needs to be customer-focused in order to survive. It's true! And feedback mechanisms as well as everyday customer interactions are great ways to find out whether or not you're succeeding in the domain of customer service and satisfaction.
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I guess you also know the "customer is God"? You want the customers feel glad, so you should consider yoursefl as a customer. what you want? What you need? How to do it?...then the customers like you too and you can also make your customoers are satisfied. Moreover, the customers' opinions are not untrue everytime, you should acquire all customers' suggestions, maybe it's not true in this case but no one knows it's true in other case.
Very interesting article, all important tips are mentioned on how to increase customer satisfactions. We all know customer satisfactions are very important this is the life of one business. We can also gain customer's loyalty and trust. Great post. Thank you for sharing.
I am glad that you covered customer interaction to better understand your customers and also feedback is a very important tool to ensure that you are pleasing the customers up to their needs, and also helps uncover some areas you might need to improve on
Carol really hits the nail on the head here. Any business has to be customer focused to survive! It is common sense , customers are our bread and butter they must be respected and helped as much as possible !
Carol really hits the nail on the head here. Any business has to be customer focused to survive! It is common sense , customers are our bread and butter they must be respected and helped as much as possible !
Hi Caron. Interesting article read. I cannot agree with you more in that listening to our customers is the essential key to growing our business. These days feedback tools enable you to be there for your customers to hear every word they have to say such as the Geteco customer feedback system which i have just implemented for my restaurants. Real time feedback straight to management enabling us to cater and respond to these comments and feedback immediately is what customers appreciate and thats when they feel important to the company. Cheers :)This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices (http://www.sba.gov/community) for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.
Hey all, great article !! Customer satisfaction is absolutely crucial for any business to flourish and after reading this article it definitely awakened me to the fact that i need to do something for my own business to better enhance customer satisfaction. On a separate note, just want to say thanks to Lydia for the tip on the Geteco customer feedback tool as I have been in the market for a while now trying to find a good feedback system to implement. Thanks for the great read, Cheers...

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