Customer Care Is About Follow-Up
According to the weekly automotive newsletter ATI, 96 percent of your customers who have a bad experience will not tell you. Of those that have a bad experience, nine out of ten will not use your product or service again. So, the question is: how do you discover whether somebody had a bad customer experience?
I believe that if you foul-up, you need to fess up. It doesn’t mean simply telling someone you’re sorry. Consumers hear apologies so often these days that the words ‘I’m sorry’ have lost their meaning. What I’m encouraging instead is finding out where you went wrong and owning it. How do you find out what your customers really think? You need a system for customer follow-up. Take the time to really listen to someone who’s done business with you and focus on words like fine, okay or alright. Those are not raving reviews. At best those words describe a neutral customer experience. Not great. Not horrible. Just…meh. And neutral is not good enough if your stated goal is to provide great customer care.
Let me add a little urgency to your need to improve customer care. Every day someone is building a business that could put you OUT of business. You have competition. You MUST find a way to make it right with customers who aren’t completely happy.
You MUST find a way to make it right with customers who aren’t completely happy.
Companies spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on electronic surveys and ratings systems in order to gauge their performance. In reality, a simple (and FREE!) phone call can be much more insightful when you ask the right questions. Follow this script to get a more accurate measure of their experience:
“Hello, I’m calling to say thank you.” It is rare in today’s marketplace that a business would take time to personally call and thank a customer. That’s exactly why you should do it. You will immediately stand out. If they share something positive or something neutral, follow up with:
“What did you like best about… (our product, working with us, etc.)?” This allows them to be more specific. You should hear responses like ‘outstanding customer care, great follow-up, going the extra mile.’ If you hear ‘alright, fine or okay,’ (neutral responses) then you need to ask the next question:
“What could we do better?” Warning: if you’re not prepared to improve customer care in your business do NOT ask this question. If you are ready to deliver great service take particular note. Your customers will tell you exactly what they’re looking for such as “better communication, a timely follow-up, heart of a servant, or acting like you care about earning their business.’ Thank them for the input and tell the customer that the information will be used to improve your product or service. The customer will appreciate your willingness to truly listen and will be ready for the next question:
“Are you willing to recommend us to others?” If they say ‘yes,’ then ask for a 5-star Google review. You may need to coach them on how to do this or send them a link. Then ask: “Who do YOU know that I should know?” That’s a cool way to ask for a referral.
I once had a client reluctant to do follow-up calls fearing he’d be digging up ‘old wounds.’ But really what is worse: hearing from a client how you can improve…or reading their negative review on social media? That’s why a great follow-up plan is essential.