You’ve just finished the end of your business quarter. Yes, it was busy and stressful, but thankfully very unlike the scene one of your colleagues described for his quarter’s end. He relayed a tale of sales staff pulling out their hair, piles of unsigned contracts, sales slipping left and right, emails unanswered and phone calls unresponsive. Fortunately for you, you not only met your sales numbers, you exceeded them. As a matter of fact, you’ve met your sales goal for the last three quarters. Your boss is pleased, your colleagues are envious, and your customers—they love you! What makes your clients different than the guy one office over? It’s no secret—happy customers are not only loyal, they will increase your overall success. How can you maintain this satisfaction? Let’s take a look:
• The value of customer feedback: Having a symbiotic relationship with your customer base is not only wise but will ensure your company’s success over the years. When you take the time to ask for honest feedback, you are not only giving your customer an opportunity to speak their mind, but also allowing them to be included in the development of future products or services. When people are not only heard, but given your undivided attention, that will increase your chances of keeping them not only loyal but satisfied. Quality is not only the timely delivery of superior products or services, but consistently improving your methods helps strengthen that sales/customer relationship. Think about this conversely; if you aren’t tending to your customers, someone else will.
• Developing Tools: When your customers discuss what they like or dislike—don’t forget, this is just as critical—you can take this valuable feedback and brainstorm solutions for improving areas that are lacking or ways to not only maintain but perhaps exceed expectations. When you are producing quality products or adhere to good manufacturing practices, you are lessening your dependence on inspections and adding valuable time and energy to focus on your customer’s needs.
• Revisiting your company’s mission: It never hurts to look back upon what your company’s philosophies and ideals were and the direction they should ideally be headed in. Remember, your business is constantly evolving, as are you, your employees and of course, your customers. What worked five years ago may be falling short in today’s overall expectations. Systems are constantly being updated, streamlined for increased accuracy and quicker production times. Customers are always a great barometer for testing the waters for what works best for your niche market.
• Word of mouth: It’s true; your customer’s word is worth its weight in gold. When they speak highly of you in the industry, you can be assured of three outcomes: customer satisfaction, confidence in your product and ultimately, increased sales. It is important to invest in feasible marketing tools to ensure future growth for your company’s needs, but it is hard to put a price tag on the value of favorable feedback.
By reaching in and studying your client’s thoughts, good and bad, you will be able to harvest this wealth of information and improve your company’s overall performance. With their feedback and your attention to detail, success will be achieved on all counts!
Randall Gates is a business professional who specializes in quality management systems and software. He frequently writes on these topics and currently blogs for cebos.com, a provider of good manufacturing practices.