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ARTICLESEffective Communication

LET THE CUSTOMER SPELL SATISFACTION

“If only I did not have to carry a pencil and eraser separately”-Pencil eraser was born. 
“Even a large size does not fit me well” XL and XXL were made. 
“Wish bags could be carried other than on hand” – shoulder slings were attached.

Just as needs give birth to products or services, a customer comment or feedback helps develop and nurture it. The simple logic being I started this business because there was a need for it. Then why loose grip midway. If his needs are changing, then I must match up to it and meet it once again. Continue the process of understanding his requirements and deliver it to him. After all his satisfaction is my business. It means my growth. It is my bread and butter.

And who can tell you of his requirements better, than the customer himself. He will tell you how his present experiences can be enhanced. What improvements are required to delight him further?

But to understand his requirements, it is not only important but also vital to listen to him.

While it is possible to hand a feedback form to the customer, you may be putting him through the undesired process of filling it out. He may not be in a position to express himself as clearly in a small form with 4 extra lines for suggestions, as he can when you talk to him. You are having the advantage of an instant two-way communication. You are in a better position to probe and understand his additional requirements. Something, that is not possible when he fills a form and drops it in a box.

Many such requirements are not spelt out but come in the garb of passing comments made unknowingly. The customer may not realize the import of his statement.

“Wish there were measuring tapes handy to check the dimensions of this table.”

During the next visit you find there is a measuring tape with pencils and a note pad.

You have now equipped a customer to convert to a buyer.

Listening to your customer holds the key to better customer service and increasing sales.

There are other times when you have a customer complaining. Obviously he is dissatisfied. You have to hear him out very well, understand his problem and report it. This is a case of “I DID NOT LIKE IT- DO IT BETTER IF YOU WANT ME HERE”. The nature of his complain gives sufficient input to start thinking of improvement.

Other than the customer there is another vital link to help you in customer satisfaction. They are the ears and eyes of any organization. Yes, your Frontline Force. A sharp customer service agent should register passing remarks, recommendations, complaints and report such feedback. He should do it on behalf of the customer.

They are in a position, not only to relate customer feedback but come with solutions as well. They are the hands-on guys who know

1. The company’s offering

2. Customer’s additional needs

3. Ways to meet the extra requirement.

As a matter of fact one should encourage suggestions from frontline.

All such suggestions and complains from customers and staff put together and analyzed, gives you a clear direction to take. For, if 10 customers have voiced a similar opinion, then that is what they all want. So ……

Be alert and listen to your customer; be shrewd to hear out your frontline force; work on it and deliver. It is sure to result in better customer care and satisfaction and of course business development.

On the other hand, not catching these signals is a pity, as it would in the long run generate reverse results.

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Gangadhar Krishna

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gangadhar@delightingcustomers.com

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