Red Zebra Business Centre - Management Memos

Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985!

February 2013 Now including My Local Pool Shop Monthly News.  

Creating Customer Satisfaction Is Easily Misunderstood - Easily Improved!

No matter what business you’re in, trading with you has to be easy, comfortable, and satisfying. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it, but it’s amazing how many business and marketing managers forget this underlying truth!

This is not to say that there are a whole heap of other matters that affect the way your prospects and customers view your business. Clearly, an up-market supplier or trader has to look like, and act like, an upmarket supplier. Similarly, a high volume, budget trader needs to look and perform like a high volume, budget trader, too.

Check Customer Satisfaction

At the same time, an operator in a technical filed needs the right technical expertise, but really that is as given for whatever business you are in. And your level of customer service needs to be superb - because there are those out there who are superb, and you have to be right at the highest competitive level..

Constantly, though, studies show that loyal buying habits and high overall customer satisfaction are not achieved by more and more technical training in the products. Neither are they achieved by having more and more customer service training..

In this article, we list a dozen factors that really count. Ask yourself, “How do I stack up against this list?” It might be wise to listen to the voice of your conscience answering you now and again, as you work through these questions!!.

  1. Do I really have an accurate measure of who my real customer is? Of course I do! I’ve been running this business for more years than I care to remember. Yes, I do know who my customers are!
    Are you sure? For example, a swimming pool shop might say that the target customer group is “pool owners”. But is it? Consider, say, rental properties. The pool shop customer is more likely to be the pool user, or the service contractor, than the pool owner. So the obvious and simple answer is not always correct. Think about who your customer is, really!

  2. Do I carry what I say I carry at all the times I say I do? “Seriously? That’s just not economically possible. I can’t keep a massive range in stock all the time, it is too expensive”. But, come to think of it, I do need to make sure that what is in stock is easily recognised and understood!
    Good one!

  3. Do I have a simple and easy returns policy across all my channels? What channels? That must mean my in-store sales, and my on-line sales, that’s what! “Returns policy? I’ve never had one, and I don’t need it. If there’s a problem, we fix it!” OK. So who pays for what? And in what circumstances? Now that I’ve had to work thorough my answers, that really is my returns policy! I guess I always had on and never realised it.
    Wow! That ‘s some awakening. Wonder if it is the best it can be?

  4. Is my business easy to buy from - both in store and on line? Silly question. How hard is it to buy from me? Perhaps, though, I could look at just how easy we make each of the steps.
    You betcha! Think of a bottle shop where the wine is on display, and there is a rack of identical stock directly below the display bottle, plenty of baskets to make it easy for multiple purchases, easy access to the checkout, and two or three helpful staff along the way. Now that is easy! XXXX

  5. Keeping Cusomters Satisfied
  6. Have I targeted ‘out of stocks’ as a vital customer turn off? No. Not really. After all, I can’t carry everything. But if I’m going to make buying easy, good stocks of core items does make sense. Now, what would be a ‘core item’?
    This could be the start of something BIG!

  7. Is my store well laid out and easy to navigate in a way which attractively displays every category I carry? How can I tell, I see the shop every day. I’m used to it, and I know it.
    This is just the point! Get a friend to help you see the obstacles customers experience. The ones you can’t see!

  8. Am I offering a simple communications across all channels? Well, I only use one or two channels, if you mean radio and newspapers.
    Again, this is just the point. There are many more channels these days, and shoppers use all of them. If you’re not using emails, SMS, web, and social media, you ARE missing out!

  9. Do I have a mobile enabled website? I guess I should get that sorted, shouldn’t I?
    Yes. You should!

  10. Are my products and services easy to understand? That’s why we do so much training - so we can make it easy for the customers.
    Hey buddy! If you do training with your suppliers and others in the industry, you’re reinforcing your own use of jargon and “in-speak” mumbo-jumbo. That doesn’t help a customer. Mightn’t you need an outsider looking on to say “What do you really mean?”

  11. Is it easy to experience my products, even just by touching them? When I think about it, we have lots of boxes and cartons on display, but we don’t open boxes unless it’s really necessary.
    Getting close - but without the product on display, a customer is left with nothing but their own imagination. And that’s NOT good.

  12. Is my product and pricing policy across channels, easy and simple to understand? Well, there’s not much to understand.
    Are you sure about that? There are many retailers who can’t give you a product list if you ask them, so what is their product policy? If there’s no product policy, will there be a well thought out pricing policy? Not likely!

  13. Am I consistently simplifying the steps in the buying process? Should I be? It’s all been working for years, and if it ain’t broke, I don’t fix it.
    Fair enough, but these are the hoops a customer has to jump through to get satisfaction from your store. The other bloke is making his business easier to deal with. One day, yours is going to look awfully broken, but it will be gradual, and the realisation will sneak up on you. That’s why you should be consistently simplifying things!

Carefully re-evaluating the way in which your business makes it easy for customers to do business with you is a key factor in sales success. It's too bad we so often think we are the only ones who know - when a skilled outsider can make such a positive difference!

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