When you have a small business, every customer is important. The larger your customer base is, the easier it will be to maintain a steady flow of income. Businesses that stress customer loyalty are more stable than others because they do not have to put as much effort in recruiting new customers. Instead of paying for advertisements and traditional public relations, they allocate those efforts to meet their loyal customer’s needs. How do they track this?
Surveying is key when managing and analyzing customer feedback. Why is this so important? Think of it this way:
Company A: You are a business that sells pizzas. You have a standard model of your ingredients, customer policies, hours of operation and everything else in between. Your mission statement lives and breathes by what you stand for. You are true to this, so you do not change your model for anything or anyone. If a customer has a complaint about your service, you let them something like, “Sorry, we can’t. It’s against our policy.”
Company B: You are a business selling ice cream. You have a clear vision of your business model and the company culture that you have created for your employees and customers. Just like the Company A, you have a standard menu for flavors of ice cream, customer policies and hours of operation. You are also true to your business model, but you know how important it is to have loyal customers. Instead of always living by this model, you have implemented a survey system which tracks customer satisfaction. Your top level management team meets once a month to discuss the results of your feedback and looks for areas of improvement. Instead of completely reshaping your company model, you adjust it based on what the majority of customers are asking for. Instead of responding to a customer complaint like Company A, you say something like, “I apologize we did not meet your needs. I will take this [customer complaint] to the management team and get back to you as soon as possible.”
What’s the difference?
Instead of completely rejecting a customer, find a way to meet in a middle ground. Unless they are absolutely enraged and want nothing to do with you, take the time to work out the issue. Do not be trapped inside the box of your company model. The best businesses are able to adapt to customer needs. More times than less, the customer will be pleased to see your effort in resolving their issue.
Moral: Surveying is a great way to track and analyze the customer’s needs. Without surveys or some type of feedback system, your business model can never improve to meet the growing needs of new customers. It will also deny you the opportunity to gain more loyal customers because your “policy” does not meet their needs. Be more like Company B, and make sure you value every customer with equal respect.