Rates and products offered may differ from state to state. To see the rate and offering available to you, please select the state where you bank. (Your privacy is important to us—see our Privacy Notice)
Measuring customer satisfaction can be an extremely difficult task. Just about every business believes in creating happy customers, yet many company's never go as far as polling their customers to ensure they had a good experience with the company. One statistic showed that 96% of unhappy customers don't complain; however, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.
The approach to assuring that customers are getting what they need is two-pronged – a solid customer service plan, and a method to measure their level of satisfaction.
Crafting a Powerful Customer Service Plan
A viable service initiative minimizes stress for customers and the service staff, in effect increasing morale and satisfaction on both sides. A good plan also improves efficiency by concentrating resources in those areas most important to customers and optimizes success by fostering excellent relationships. Use these guidelines to structure your service strategy:
Make Sure Employees Are Onboard
To ensure your employees understand how critical superior customer service is to the business, create a service vision and service policies. The vision should be concise and help unite the staff around a single goal. The related policies should be clear and straightforward. They should also be customer friendly and empower employees to satisfy the company's patrons. Then, take these steps:
Customer Satisfaction - in Full Measure
Most business owners know the power of the spoken word. For good or ill, public chat over company performance can impact revenues. The problem is, though, business owners often find it tough to pinpoint exactly how clients perceive their companies. While they may hear rumblings of dissatisfaction, studies suggest that only a small percentage of unhappy customers ever report a formal complaint.
For this reason, it's critical for an owner to open and maintain a line of communication to clients. Honest exchanges can provide vital clues about clients' buying decisions, service preferences and their opinions of the competition.
There are several ways to begin the process of data collections. Chief among these are customer questionnaires and surveys, while focus groups of select clients can include both written assessments and discussion.
Regardless of the chosen methodology, clear goals established early in the process are essential. Also, checking your company's performance against similar businesses is a good way to ascertain your competitive standing.
Beyond the basics, here are other methods of obtaining customer satisfaction information:
Create an Effective Survey
Surveys provide an excellent way to gain insightful information about a customer's experience. By supplying the customer with a survey after the purchase a company can learn a great deal about the quality of service the customer received, motivating factors for the purchase, if they believe they will purchase from the company again in the future, and many more useful questions.
Edit the list to include only those areas most applicable to current corporate needs and resources. Then, consider using a scale or ranking method to help determine customer priorities. As an example: questions could be answered with "very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, indifferent, satisfied, very satisfied" or "very poor, poor, average, good, very good."
Avoid open-ended questions that are difficult to quantify; and remember to include a brief introduction to explain the purpose. Finally, always edit and test the survey before sending it out.
Other options include mailings, email or telephone interviews. If the survey requires that customers send the information back to you, be sure to establish a deadline.
Avoid Potential Pitfalls
Although systematic tracking of customer satisfaction can yield many positive results, miracles don't happen overnight. Realizing the benefits requires patience. Remember:
Market-Based Management: Strategies for Growing Customer Value and Profitability , 3rd edition, by Roger J. Best, (Prentice Hall, 2002).
What Customers Value Most: How to Achieve Business Transformation by Focusing on Processes That Touch Your Customers by Stanley A. Brown, (John Wiley & Sons, 1996).
Superstar Customer Service: A 31-Day Plan to Improve Client Relations, Lock in New Customers, and Keep the Best Ones Coming Back for More by Rick Conlow and Doug Watsabaugh, (Career Press Inc., 2013).
Customer Service Management Training 101: Quick and Easy Techniques That Get Great Results by Renee Evenson (AMACOM Books, 2011).
Measuring Customer Satisfaction Development and Use of Questionnaires by Bob E. Hayes, (ASQC Quality Press, 1998).
Enterprise One to One: Tools for Competing in the Interactive Age by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., (Doubleday, 1999).
Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures by Robert Lucas, (McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, 2011).
Customer Satisfaction: The Other Half of Your Job by Dru Scott, (Crisp Publications, Inc., 1991).
Customers for Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer into a Lifetime Customer by Carl Sewell and Paul B. Brown, (Doubleday, 1998).
Customers.Com: How to Create a Profitable Business Strategy for the Internet & Beyond by Patricia B. Seybold, (Time Books, 1998).
The Customer Driven Company: Moving from Talk to Action by Richard C. Whiteley, (Perseus, 2000).
Best Practices in Customer Service by Ron Zemke and John A. Woods, (AMACOM, 1999).
There are a wide variety of online survey tools that offer inexpensive solutions to small businesses, below are just a few:
Apian SurveyPro (www.apian.com)
Survey Monkey ( www.surveymonkey.com)