Understanding and fulfilling the needs of customers is a skill which takes many new business owners a while to understand and execute well. Ultimately, these potential customers are the backbone of the company and offer a steady cash flow – being vital to a thriving business.
Today we’re talking about the 4 key areas on how a business can meet the needs of their customers.
#1: Identifying Customer Expectations
Each customer is looking for a different type of service and they all have their own individual needs. Identifying this unique expectation is the first step in being successful in customer service.
To understand your customer, they first must be comfortable sharing information with you. Build a rapport with each person to understand their needs; but make sure you’re also being informative and helpful at the same time. Once a customer feels that they can trust you, they are much more likely to give you the finer details to help you best serve their needs.
In an ideal situation, you should already know what your customers expectations are before they even come into store. Don’t worry, no telepathy is required!
A great way to learn about your ideal customer is to use focus groups. These are small groups of people who represent your target market in important demographics, such as age range and lifestyles. Through focus groups, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of how your customers respond to your business, your product, and the solutions you provide.
It is important that when understanding your customer, you are polite and informative with an advisory attitude rather than ‘telling’ the customer what they need. Your key aim is to build and gain the customers trust and respect.
#2: Evaluate your Performance
A great way to keep customer service standards high is through feedback and customer evaluations. These can be done in several ways, from social media reviews and comments to website comments on google or even questionnaires handed out to existing customers. If you’re struggling to gather enough data, incentivise a response – ‘leave a review on Google and receive 20% off your next order!’.
Taking feedback on board allows a business to understand exactly what they are doing right and what areas they need to offer more attention to. For example, areas to improve could range from the follow up approach from sales staff or the initial observations made by customers regarding showroom presentation.
No matter the success or size of the company, it is imperative to take feedback on board to make sure every effort can be made to make sure customers are satisfied. A famous example is the rise and fall of the video giant, Blockbusters.
While Blockbuster was riding high on the profit from charging customers late fees, Netflix was gaining momentum by using a subscription service – a feature that customers were much happier with as they could keep films for as long as they wanted or return them for a new film. When Netflix approached Blockbuster to run their online platform, Netflix was laughed out of the boardroom.
The problem wasn’t that Blockbuster was doing anything wrong – the downfall came when the company stopped listening to the changing customer trends and continued with the way they had always known; sticking to profitability over evolution.
The lesson that every entrepreneur can learn from this is that it doesn’t matter how well-oiled your business machine is, you must listen to your customers and adapt to their needs.
#3: Stay in Contact
What most companies fail to realise is that the job isn’t done once you get the sale; this is only the start of the customers journey.
At Award Leisure we ensure that we keep contact with the customer through all stages of their journey and the corresponding data relating to this communication is also logged so we know exactly where every customer is in their journey.
Through the stages of making the sale, product lead time, payment and delivery, it is key that the customer is satisfied every step of the way and that we are on call to deal with any queries that may arise. We pride ourselves on being a one stop shop with 5-star customer service.
When you worked so hard to build a rapport with your customer to make the sale, you don’t want to leave them in the dark once you’ve taken their money. Keep them informed throughout the whole process to keep their confidence – this way, you’re more likely to get repeat business and referrals.
#4: Maintain Professionalism
Showing a professional manner from the start will set a good impression and ensure that customers have a higher expectation of your competitors. This is a great foundation to start a relationship with the customer.
One taboo area in customer satisfaction and meeting the customers expectations is to never lie. This should never happen and will ALWAYS come back to bite you!
Being honest and upfront about problems and issues that arise is a great way to strengthen your rapport with the customer and make sure they are in the loop and satisfied with the decisions being made. The fact you are being honest with them will increase your credibility. Things go wrong, that’s just life!
Everyone has heard the saying ‘the customers always right’ – there is a reason why that’s a cliché. This is often the way to go when getting into disputes with customers. When dealing with angry customers always approach with empathy. Be gentle with each situation and apologise for any inconvenience the customer has experienced. Ensure a positive solution can be delivered and the customer leaves happy.
It is important to know that every customer is different and ensure that you adapt your personality, sales pitch and approach to suit the customers requirements. Here at Award Leisure our mission is to exceed customers expectations and we hope by tailoring our approach to each customer, we can achieve this every time.
If you want to be apart of our growing luxury leisure network and receive expert training on meeting all customer needs, check out our Free Brochure or Get in Touch with us for an informal chat about your business goals.