After getting leads from our lead generation service comes customer service from your office! In order to deal with this idea that the customer is always right, first you have to decide – Is the customer always right? I think the answer is more complicated than Yes or No! This phrase came about as a way to let customers know their concerns were being taken seriously, but was criticized knowing that many people will take advantage of this policy with their dishonesty.
In deciding what your answer will be to that question, it is important to understand the expectations of your customers. Whether you fall short of, meet, or exceed their expectations, will determine their level of satisfaction. Then maybe you don’t have to decide if the customer is right, because if you meet or exceed their expectations they will have nothing to complain about. Basically, by understanding and meeting expectations, you will not even have to worry about who is right or wrong.
Why Meet Their Expectations?
We previously discussed how to nurture leads, and when those leads are ready to buy, the success of your business will depend on how you go out of your way to understand and meet their expectations. When customers have questions and concerns about a product or service, they expect quality customer service to help resolve their issues and answer their questions. Not only does it develop a relationship between you and your customers, but it also makes you look good and helps you to get repeat buying, referrals, and quality reviews online. (We all know everyone looks online for reviews these days!)
How To Meet Expectations
Meeting a customer’s expectations largely falls on understanding what those expectations are and who they are. How can you do what someone wants, if you don’t actually know what they want or how they want it done? Here are a few pointers on understanding and meeting expectations.
Get to Know the Customers: Ask Questions and Listen
Ask questions to understand their problems and listen to what they say. It is important to gather information on the customer. You want to know what they are buying, why they are buying it and how often are they purchasing it. As you understand their needs and their lifestyle, you can provide them with a quality service or product. Questions you ask might include: What kind of problem are you having? What are you hoping to get out of this service? You might even want to ask them straight forward- What are your expectations?
As they discuss their concerns with you and answer the questions you are asking, make sure you are listening to what they say. They might want to get rid of the ants in their home, but as you listen you might realize there is a larger problem and another service could be beneficial for them. You may also hear other concerns in their statements and can take the opportunity to discuss those with them. They will appreciate it. Asking and listening are some of your greatest customer service tools and cost nothing extra.
Recently my aunt went in for Physical Therapy. Her neck was bothering her and she wanted it taken care of. At the office she was treated by a student who was just running through the motions. She then waited an hour and a half to see the Physical Therapist, who quickly massaged her neck, did a few other treatments and went on his way. Nothing seemed personal. During her visit she expressed her concern about the increased pain during treatments. He told her that she was wrong and needed to relax. She tried to relax, but nothing got better and she had complications over the next several days due to this visit and his lack of listening. Needless to say, she will not be returning and has told all of her family and friends of this experience. She was right and he wasn’t listening!
Explain What You Can Do and the Services You Offer
Explaining your service not only gives you opportunities to sell larger packages based on their needs, but it also helps them understand what services you offer. This will align their expectations with your services. If they know exactly what you offer and what the process is, they will not be blindsided by anything or upset that you didn’t do something they thought was supposed to happen. We all know communication is important, well it actually…really…seriously is important!
I got my first cell phone a LONG time ago! When I signed my contract they told me what it would cost per month and I thought I was getting a pretty great deal. One month later I got a bill in the mail for more than $70 over my contract price. Apparently, they charged for each individual text message and never told me that. (And apparently I was sending a lot of text messages!) Had I known, I could have made a better decision to get an unlimited plan, or I would have been more aware of the text messages I was sending. That lack of information from the beginning led me to believe I was not getting a quality service and was disappointed in the company. I did not resign a contract when mine ended and found another company instead.
Under Promise and Over Deliver
Under promise? That doesn’t mean that you don’t provide a quality service. It means that you tell them what your service is and then over deliver. It goes back to expectations. If they expect you to do what you say you’re going to do and then you over deliver, they will be completely satisfied with your service. I had a doctor that would always say this. He never promised 100% pain free after a surgery. He would explain what the realistic expectations were. Then if someone improved above and beyond that, which was usually the case, they were elated with their surgery and their care.
Last year we had our windows professionally cleaned. We were given a quote and chose a time for them to arrive. That day the truck arrived on time and the man knocked on the door. I welcomed him in to show him all the windows. After stepping inside he pulled shoe covers out of his pocket and began to put them over his shoes. I insisted it was not necessary and he insisted it was. I later realized how impressed I was with this gesture. Maybe he was doing it as protocol, but I felt that he and the company respected my home and genuinely wanted to provide a quality service. My windows looked amazing and I was completely satisfied with their service. It was small and simple, but it was above and beyond.
Meeting Expectations Drives Satisfaction
These simple steps not only drive customer satisfaction, but they are virtually free tools in providing excellent customer service! The customer is there looking to give you money for a service they need. They put their trust in you to find and provide them with solutions to their problems. By asking questions and listening, explaining services, and under promising and over delivering you get repeat buying, referrals, quality reviews and happy customers.
At the end of the day, your business is actually all about the customer, isn’t it? There is no sense in making the customer think they’re wrong, there is no benefit to that. So, is the customer always right? That’s for you to decide!
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