You own a business and you pour your blood, sweat and tears into it daily to find new ways to increase sales. But, after several years you find that your business is having trouble growing. If this sounds like you, it may not have anything to do with the product or service you provide, but rather the customer service, or lack thereof, your clients receive during and after. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you own, service matters. This is true of any industry, whether you own a mom and pop deli or a store franchise.
Let’s say, for instance, you own a roofing company. You offer a variety of materials and types of roofs and your pricing is competitive, but something is missing. When a customer calls your office and has questions, do they get the answers they need? Are problems and concerns resolved? If you can’t honestly answer these questions, it might be time to transfer some of your focus from sales to customer satisfaction. Dismissing a customer’s concerns or questions can actually lead to a reduction in sales.
We live in an age where people connect faster than ever. They are on Facebook and Twitter talking to family and friends. A complaint about service or shoddy work can hit the street literally overnight. In contrast, good service and a good experience can lead to referrals that can build your business as well.
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Learning to focus more on the client’s needs
You receive a phone call that someone is interested in obtaining a quote for a new roof and you send one of your workers out to survey the home and provide a written estimate. The person then decides that they need a bit more information on how long the entire process will take and an explanation of the costs. So they call the office and want to speak with someone before moving forward. A receptionist takes their number and says that someone will call them back. How long it takes to get a response is critical to your business. If someone calls back the same day, within a few hours, the potential client feels confident in the business. However, if they have to call again the next day to find out when someone will get back to them, chances are good that they will not move forward, but rather go with your competition. It doesn’t matter how good your product is if you don’t get back to people within a day.
Training staff to answer basic questions
UPS, the company that runs the fourth best franchise operations in the US according to Entrepreneur says on their UPS store franchise website that proper training along with continued support and resources is extremely important to keep customers happy and satisfied. Your employees should always know what the services of the business are, and taking that information it to the next step is key to increasing your bottom line. If a potential customer calls in with the same questions and speaks to a customer service representative with basic knowledge, they would get their immediate questions answered and move forward.
Problems with communication
This same company gets a contract for a new roof and sends the workers out on a particular day disclosed to the customer in advance. The customer then takes the day off work to accommodate the contractor. Within an hour of their proposed arrival, the contractor calls the customer and says that they won’t be able to start the job today because they are still working on another roof out of the area.
This customer is now very upset. Not only did they give up a day at the office, but now they have to reschedule it for another day and this now means another day off. They contact the office and the receptionist takes a message and states that someone will get back to them and they don’t. Instead, someone from the office calls this customer the next day to reschedule the installation.
This lack of communication between the contractor and your office just cost you a customer. The person in the office had no idea that there was an issue or that this customer had called the day before. All they knew was that they were to reschedule the installation for another day. And now they are on the phone with an irritated person who wants an answer as to why no one ever called back. This is one reason why every employee needs to be aware of the customer experience.
Satisfying your customers
If you want to truly grow a business you must have a good product or service to offer and a staff of trained professionals who can address any potential problems, concerns or questions. Your in-house staff should always have the basic knowledge of the functions of your business. They should be polite, courteous and well versed in the business.
If someone calls upset or with questions, they should have someone available to speak with them. It doesn’t have to be at that moment, although that would be ideal, but within the same day. If you choose to ignore your clients thinking that your sales are enough, think again. Because as word gets out and your reputation goes the wayside, so will your clients. Customer service is very important in any business. It plays a pivotal role in how far your company develops.