Who are your customers and what are they really thinking?

LoriAnne Hancock By LoriAnne Hancock, 10th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2yhrunmd/
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Analysis

Every day you make decisions about your business. You aim to make those decisions well and continue to grow and be profitable. Tap into the best source you'll ever have for information you didn't even know you needed from the people who have already made the decision to do business with you.

Teleconnecting: Part 1

One of the first office jobs I ever had was in a furniture and appliance store. One of my tasks was to make a follow-up satisfaction call to each and every customer within a few days after the delivery of their purchase. It wasn't long before I realized that this practice was one of the key components to my boss's success. I was impressed that one little phone call could be so effective in putting an exclamation mark on the customer's decision to do business in the first place.

Years later, I started a business doing follow-up calls for businesses, membership associations, inventor prototypes and a variety of other clients. I call the model 'Teleconnecting' because essentially you are connecting with your customer over the telephone. Using a formula of 'common sense', 'common courtesy' and a 'little bit of science' I'm able to report statistical information in addition to quoted and paraphrased feedback from the customer.

Many businesses put together a list of questions they wish to know in some form of 'disagree to strongly agree' format. This may be somewhat helpful, but not as informative as encouraging what is 'on top' of your customer's mind to come forth from an open ended question such as, 'We wanted to thank you for doing business with us and get a feel for your satisfaction." Believe me, the customer always has something they've been wanting to tell, whether it be complete satisfaction, needs more information or dissatisfaction. This information is prudent for a business to succeed.

Remember when AT&T had the corner on long-distance services? When competition came on board due to deregulation, they just stood by and watched their customers get picked off by MCI and Sprint. Millions were dedicated to them and they wouldn't even call to let us know we'd be getting other offers and if we called them they would match the offer for six months. Nope, instead, they gouged us til we switched.

What about Cable TV? How many small satellite dishes do you think would be propped on the sides of houses in towns if Cable TV would have been doing their job and keeping their customers satisfied?

Many businesses feel they have this covered because their sales reps are responsible for the follow-up calls. Sales people don't make money unless they are selling and may or may not be the best person to acquire information from the customer first-hand.
Perhaps the owner or the secretary to the president should do to the follow-up. A third party follow-up company assures complete transparency if their system is set up correctly.

As a business, you are being challenged to ask the hardest question; 'How are we doing for you?'. Do not forget that your first and most important customers are your employees. They have more information for you than they are generally 'encouraged' to impart. Your second customer is your purchasing customer. Give them a follow-up call; make three honest attempts. Leave a message if they don't answer by the third attempt. Put an exclamation mark on your customer's decision, which has already been made, to do business with YOU!

Tags

Customer, Customer Care, Customer Feedback, Customer Service, Customer-Service

Meet the author

author avatar LoriAnne Hancock
Avid student of the human condition who believes we will triumph in the end by caring for ourselves, all life and our planet as if all were precious.

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