Tips To Take Your Business Idea To The Next Level

In today’s competitive and diverse business environment, one of the most important things in building up growth, stability and profitability, is being able to retain your customers and keeping them satisfied.

This can be accomplished by understanding and effectively responding to consumer’s needs. Understanding consumer behavior will allow you to define a quality-based strategy when directly responding to customer’s demands.

Keep in mind, that consumers want to have a memorable shopping experience, and in order for them to get such an experience, they need to be provided with the adequate environment. Sometimes, it is not about the product being consumed; but rather the experience and perceptions created is based on the setting they are exposed to.

The single most important attribute of a consumer’s decision to buy or continue buying at any business locality is the perception on quality of customer service, and whether it matches the level of courtesy and respect they expect to obtain in order for the business to sustain their loyalty.

According to Turban et al. (2002),  “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.”

Interpretation of this definition can vary among industries, consumer products, services, and the type of customer you are interacting with. Customer service, also, varies in terms of the internal policies and strategies that management implements.

For example, a retail store or supermarket might accept receipts as  collateral to exchange a damaged product, immediately providing the service to the customer. However, another might request one week for the item to be exchanged. Regardless of your definition of customer service, keep in mind that that customer service is about:

1. Understanding your customers,

2.Consistently addressing their needs,

3. Paying attention to detail,

4. Providing timely and courteous assistance, and,

5. Training employees in effective customer service.

Customer care training should consist of learning how to greet customers properly and professionally; responding and addressing customer’s complaints and feedback in a courteous and respectful manner; always acknowledging the problem and the customer; and by providing options and solutions, instead of repeating the problem and frustrating the customer even more.

It is important to note that support from management is necessary if quality customer service is to be provided.

Keeping your employees knowledgeable about the products, systems and  in-house policies will equip them to respond quicker and in a more consistent manner. This can only be accomplished through training.

Training can be done in-house by an experienced staff member, or you can hire a consultant to facilitate the training of staff. Staff can also be enrolled in courses offered in universities.

The important aspect of customer service is being able to create a strategy that is customer-centric and to focus on the lasting value being provided to customers.

The organization that values customer service and creates value in its services recognizes that “…the only way a business can retain customer and employee loyalty is by delivering superior value. High loyalty is a certain sign of solid value creation”  (Reichheld and Teal, 1996, p. 5).

Quality customer service experiences are a fundamental factor in retaining your clientele and maximizing their satisfaction.

Techniques such as providing a foundation for customer support such as providing free guidance/training to customers on setting up a piece of equipment, allowing customers to provide feedback by filling out a survey, or by offering opportunities for them to advise you on how to improve on the quality of service they receive. It can help to have your customers share their experiences regarding YOUR customer service in an honest and open manner.

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