While there may be countless concerns to running a successful business, customer satisfaction should always be towards the top of your list of priorities. Everything about your company should be built around providing customers with what they need, exceeding their expectations and keeping them coming back for more. Anyone can provide a product or service, but you can give your customer much more than a simple transaction.
However, in order to exceed the expectations of your customers, you must be able to understand them and what they want from you. You need to be able to effectively communicate with your customers and base your policies around what is best for them. As any happily married individual will tell you, the most important aspect of effective communication is effective listening.
You should not just talk at your customers, telling them what they want and how it’s going to be; you must be able to hear them and understand their needs. This is the only way you can make improvements, not only to your customer service, but also to your products, services, marketing and overall business structure.
Understanding Customer Needs
The first step to communicating with your customers is understanding the basics of who they are and where they come from. This will help you identify what they want and how you can meet their needs. Grouping your customers and breaking down your target market into demographics are fundamental to understanding them. A 25 year-old working-class single mother may have completely different expectations than a 58 year-old upper-class real estate developer.
While you may need to break them down into more specific groupings, demographics are usually defined according to:
- Geographic location
- Marital status
- and several other defining characteristics
Listening to Customers
Once you have a basic understanding of your customer profile and know more about your target audience, you should begin to listen to the specific needs of your customers. There are various ways to do this, but any way that can effectively gather customer feedback will be beneficial. A few techniques include:
- Customer service
- Website testimonials
- Social media polls
- any other strategy that gathers customer input
In addition to those who are vocal with their feedback, you must also be able to listen to your silent customers. These are the individuals who will not give any direct feedback after a negative experience, but they will simply move on to one of your competitors. Understanding these customers may take further digging and analyzation, but if you can understand their needs, you will be ahead of the game.
Speaking to Customers
If you can listen to your customers and understand them, your communication will always be more effective. Accordingly, customer experience, satisfaction and retention will be greatly improved. The way you speak to your customers not only involves your words and direct communication, it is more importantly about your actions and what steps you take to exceed their expectations.
The way you speak to your customers is by providing the service they expect, following up to ensure they are satisfied and quickly rectifying any complaints. It also involves improving your products, services, policies or systems based on customer experience. A business speaks to its customers through action, and this is the best way to ensure great customer experiences.