6 steps to listen to your customer effectively

We all know it very well that the Customer is King, but when it comes to figuring out what to do that our King stays happy, at times we fall short of ideas. An organization’s sole duty is to provide value for his money, by meeting all his requirements.  All the requirements that he tells (explicit) and even all that he doesn’t tell (implicit).

Finding Voice of the customer is as vital as delivering him with a good product or service. But is it a one-time exercise? Does it end at the beginning when we gather our customer’s requirements?

Along with VOC, there are various tools and techniques to help us understand customers’ requirements, but unless we go in a logical and systematic way, we can’t have the momentum going so as to keep the customer happy for long.

As a short term measure, we can collect the feedback and work upon that, but this would not remove the causes behind the dissatisfaction.

Making use of the concept of continual improvement, below steps can help to ensure that the King does stay happy all the time.

VOC

  1. Empathise with every customer:

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes! Put the needs of the customer first, have service orientation, learn to listen actively to the customer, apologise for the discomfort caused to him, stay polite and sincere while trying to resolve his complaint.

Perhaps we can even go that extra mile by buying our own product/ availing own’s service and see what is the experience.

  1. Put effective feedback tools:

OK, you do that satisfaction survey with your customer, but does that really give you the picture crystal clear? Even after survey results show you have done well, the financial results may or may not match! As an organization, you must not wait for the results of customer satisfaction survey, instead keeping eyes and ears open for every sign that customer is not happy is very important.

Since getting unsolicited feedback is very rare, it is important to put an effective feedback mechanism in place.

Create a mechanism that the customer has the liberty to give feedback as and when he feels to do so.

You may make use of various tools like feedback boxes, direct contact and exploratory interviews, analytics methods, usability tests, and surveys. But keep a rider that these are available to the customer as soon as he has got something to tell.

  1. Immediate redressal of complaints (and responding to suggestions):

It is going to have a way worse ride if you do not act upon your customer’s feedback, and that too immediately! Never wait for too long. Buy some time from your customer by acknowledging as soon as you receive a complaint and providing an estimated time to closure with a reason. And yes, don’t forget to act upon the complaint.

It is not always necessary that you only get complaints. Even if there is a suggestion, your customer expects an exchange of appreciation that he took his time out to help you. Ask your customer service desk to be as prompt in acknowledging the suggestions as they do for the complaints.

  1. Understand and analyse the customer complaints & put preventive measures in place:

It is good that you have an effective mechanism in place to address and correct customer complaints. But more important in the long run is that you analyse the nature of the complaints and the root causes behind.

Customer complaints are always not a sign that something is wrong. You need to filter out such false alarms from your complaint database while doing analysis.

When you analyse the data, you come up with the root causes. Now your next target should be to remove those causes so that you can prevent future complaints and issues leading to dissatisfaction.

  1. Monitor customer satisfaction trends:

You need to check regularly that whether the measures that have been taken are effective or not. It is very critical to have a monitoring and review mechanism in place so that timely actions could be taken if something is going wrong.

  1. Improve & sustain:

Correction, prevention and monitoring are going to help you improve your product or service quality. Subsequently, it becomes very important that control measures are put in place which should help in effectively sustaining the improvements else, the whole exercise goes for a toss and you may miss the opportunity to satisfy your King in the long run.

And, don’t forget the positive feedbacks:

If a customer is happy, that should also be analysed. You should not be just analysing what went wrong, you should also assess what went well that customer is happy and bring those good practices in front of everyone and make them standard practices as suitable.

 

Regardless of the industry, type of work, product or service, not listening to the customer is self-destructive. However, if we make use of a systematic and logical methods, I’m sure, our King would stay happy always.


Would love to hear your views, as a lot of points may have got missed here.

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