Know your customer

This week is Customer Service Week run by the Institute of Customer Service. Today’s theme is Insight: Knowing your customer and how to deliver to them.

Like any relationship, people buy from people. Get to know, like and trust your customers, as people. If you get to know your customers then you will grow to like them and trust them in the same way that they will with you.

3 people round table with lap top with tables on

Ask customers for feedback, but not at the end of the whole transaction. Their last memory of doing business with you will be one of having to do a survey. It also benefits you, it doesn’t benefit them. Why should they do it? When you do work you get paid for it, right? They are paying you for a product or service, so why aren’t you paying them in some way? Provide an incentive, a small discount perhaps, and not just entering them into a competition!

Some customers don’t want to email, some don’t want to spend more time on the phone giving feedback at the end of the call, some don’t see any value in ticking a smiley face after an online chat. But many of them DO want to tell you what you did well and where you can improve.

It takes Allsorts, how to treat customers as individuals

Ensure a variety of different methods for customers to give feedback. You should be aware of the limitations and issues with each method and monitor accordingly. Think about simply asking “Would you recommend us to a friend?” which will often provide you with the same valuable information as if you had asked 10 questions. There’s always the option for the customer to give you more details if they want to do so. Again be wary of all “Yes” answers, as they could be saying that just to be quick! And ensure that the feedback is anonymous, so that people don’t feel that they have to give only positive feedback.

You could invite customers in for a fun event. (Covid safe or park the idea for when you can). For example, wine and nibbles whilst getting their feedback. Invite the customers to interview you, make videos, let them share their needs with you and the get them to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. Invite customers who have complained about your service, as they are the people you will learn the most from and who can be turned into loyal customers who will shout about your business.

Senior management staff could learn a lot about their customers by going onto the shop floor or answering the phones too. Certainly making an effort to reach vulnerable customers in the community will have benefits all round.

When you receive the feedback, use it. Use it to shape your business and most of all go back to the customers who gave you the feedback and thank them. A thank you goes a long way and a customer who knows their opinion has been valuable and useful is going to be your best advocate.

How important are good manners in business

How do you get feedback?

Where are your customer service skills? How do you improve them?

How to celebrate and recognise your customer service heroes

Bringing customer service to the Boardroom

Build your brand through Trust, Ethics & Sustainability

If you’d like more ideas on how to improve getting and using feedback see Services.

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By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

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