By Douglas Brunner
In the world of business you need to look out for number one, your customers, because without them, your business wont make any money.
Over all else the customers buy the products or services that pay the employees, pay for safety equipment, hydro and all other aspects of the business. So doesn't it make sense to do everything you can to satisfy them?
The importance of customer satisfaction can be an underrated factor in any business plan; after all, most new businesses are most concerned with establishing their brand in the market place, and getting new customers; but are they doing enough to get those customers returning?
As you'll read in this article, the golden rule really comes into play with customer satisfaction. Just try to put yourself in your customers shoe's and think how you would like to be treated in their situation.
If you were told by a car dealership to arrive at 10:00am to pick up your new car, wouldn't you expect it to be ready? This situation could be further aggravated if you had an appointment at 11:00am, across town, and you have been told your car won't arrive until 12:00pm.
The dealership promised you your car would be ready by 10:00am at the latest, but now you have to cancel your 11:00am appointment making you look like the bad guy, when the dealer is truly at fault. If you make a promise to your customers, make sure you can deliver.
Breaking a promise can and will create a bad relationship between you and your customers, but if you do have to break a promise, take the time to explain to them why the promise wasn't kept; don't just give them a run around, or they may run around the corner to the competition.
Your customers time is just as valuable as your own time, and if you waste their time further by giving them short, un-detailed answers, they may feel you don't have any respect for their time.
Make sure they understand that you're doing everything in your power to fix the problem, and that it'll never happen again.
On the subject of time, your website may also be wasting your customers time as well. Having to navigate through 3 or 4 layers of pages to find a product of service their looking for may be too much work for many people.
We live in a world of lazy instantaneous. You can buy complete meals that just need heating up, all your calls, E-Mail and Faxes can be co-located in one central location for you, and the pace of life just keeps getting quicker. As a result of a quick pace life, personal time is diminishing and your customers may not want to spend it searching through your web site trying to find a product of service.
Divide your homepage up into mini-sections detailing everything (Or the main areas) you offer, so they can click on one link and be taken to the appropriate section right away.
Use a fast host for your site as well. Average page load times are increasing to around 10 seconds, but if you start to push above 10 seconds you risk losing visitors, which may be potential customers.
Don't skimp on the hosting, you usually get what you pay for. The $2 a month unlimited everything hosting may sound good, buy often the servers those types of hosts use will be overloaded slowing your site to a crawl.
Once you have your customers, and they are faithfully using your product or service, do you ever do a follow up and see if there is anything else you can do to improve the level of service you're offering?
A simple Email asking how their making out will usually suffice. If their having a problem with something they'll usually mention it in the Email, then you know that may be an area you need to work on by making it easier to use, or provide better instructions.
Overall, if you respect your customers valuable time and help them understand your products and services, they'll have a lot more respect for your and your company.
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