"There is less to fear from outside competition than
from inside inefficiency, discourtesy and bad service."
is undeniably the single most important facet involved in retaining
Improving satisfaction is critical to boosting profits
and quality is the key to keeping customers happy. But how do you
define quality and inject it into your relationships with customers?
By living it.
Your company’s commitment should be to meet or exceed your
clientele’s expectations. Make that the first topic discussed at
weekly staff meetings. Do everything to ensure that your staff
always offers superior service.
The best leaders know that quality and a successful business are
synonymous. Practice these three steps to pay attention to detail
and people will believe in your commitment to excellence:
Focus on customers' needs. Understand what your customers require and be
uncompromising in responding to them. Send out frequent
questionnaires to take the pulse on how your customers feel about
every aspect of your business. Even if they don’t respond, they’ll
see that you care.
If your company is already successful with your
clientele, congratulations. But don’t forget that paradigms
change. Years ago, the Swiss were synonymous with quality when it
came to timepieces, while Japanese watches were considered
inferior. Then digital became the word of the day and Japan (think
Seiko) became the new industry leader. Keep your eye on changing
trends and customer tastes and you’ll stay on top of your
Contact former customers. Ask them why they
left and how you can win them back. Educate yourself and your
staff about the cost of losing a customer.
Train employees and
verify they are paying attention. Listen in on telephone calls and
monitor face-to-face interactions with customers to ensure that
staff members are always courteous. Make sure they know exactly
what you expect. A ruffled customer can become a lost customer.
Don’t rest on your laurels.
When you take quality seriously, success will follow. Certainly,
it takes time and effort. But the payoff is a clientele that remains
intact and a balance sheet that keeps improving.