Guest writer Anica Oaks makes a great point in this article – one of the most important goals you have as a small business entrepreneur is to ensure your customers come back and make repeat sales. And customers will only do that if they are satisfied with their last buying experience with you. Follow this guide to improve the level of customer satisfaction in your small business.
There are a lot of elements that come together to make a successful business, and there’s really no set formula for business success. After all, if there was, everyone would be running successful businesses. But there are a number of factors that nearly everyone can agree upon where businesses should direct their focus. From happy employees to a good work environment to a solid business plan, the list of things for a business owner to always be aware of can be overwhelming and extensive.
However, there is one element that in many ways should be your highest priority: customer satisfaction. Without devoted, satisfied customers actually buying what you’re selling, a company will likely fail, which is why customer satisfaction should be the most important business consideration.
Why Is Customer Satisfaction So Important?
Surely sound financial strategy, hiring the right employees and developing the right products might be more important than trying to please every customer. After all, as long as you make the sale, and people continue to buy your product, does it really matter how your customers feel afterwards?
The answer is that yes it does, very much, and the reason why is very simple. For most companies, obtaining loyal, repeat customers is smarter and more efficient to growing your business than trying to gain new customers all the time. Your business ultimately uses less of its resources on advertising and marketing and in other areas when you have existing, satisfied customers who will continue to buy your products or services.
There are other obvious reasons as well, such as the prevalence of word of mouth. If your customers are satisfied, they’re more likely to recommend your business to their family, friends and colleagues, which delivers you new customers without having to do anything at all. Online reviews in particular can be very empowering or damaging to your reputation, as many customers take them into account when making a purchasing decision.
How Can You Gauge Customer Satisfaction?
Gauging customer satisfaction is not always easy, and in order to do so you’re going to have to set up a way to gather some data. The first method is customer satisfaction surveys and comment boxes. Many businesses, big and small, do this, and even offer free product or other rewards to customers who take the time to express how they feel. Also take stock of your repeat customers and when you lose one or haven’t seen them in a while. Also, do not ignore the information potentially contained in online reviews and BBB complaints.
How Can You Improve Customer Satisfaction?
The first and foremost thing you can do is truly listen to customer concerns and complaints and be willing to make changes based on any feedback you receive. This can be difficult as there are times when customers legitimately don’t know what they are talking about, but it’s important to listen and sift out the grains of truth anyway.
You also must be on the lookout for ways to improve the customer experience. Observe your customers and how your employees interact with them to be able to pinpoint and address issues you see or areas that could use improvement. For example, how are customers greeted? Does it strike the right tone?
What Tone Should You Strike?
Address any customer service issues in a professional and personal manner. Never argue with or talk down to your customer. Even if they are wrong, good customer service means you always treat them with respect and empathize with them, even if you are unable to solve their issue. Even if nothing really changes, they will hopefully still walk away from the conversation feeling as though they have been heard and understood, which they might pass on to others.
Hopefully this guide has opened your eyes to why customer satisfaction should really be your business’s highest priority. Take serious, meaningful steps to gauge customer satisfaction with your brand and then see what you can do to improve it. Doing so will impress customers and improve the health of your business in the long-run.