Business builds on relationships

HOW many of your customers would use your products and services again? How many would recommend you to others? If the features and benefits of your products and services are pretty similar to your competitors in the eyes of your customers, then it will pay you well to focus on the relationships you create and maintain with your customers. Review the points below and answer what needs to happen, what could we do better, and what things do we need to lead and manage better? • We regularly examine our business from the customer’s perspective and continuously seek ways to make it easier for people to acquire and use our products/programs/services. • We exceed our customer requirements for access to relevant people to seek information, conduct their business and make complaints. • We give priority to the integrity and value of our products/programs/services and this philosophy forms the basis for all our dealings with customers. • We clearly communicate any limitations on and the responsible usage of our products/programs/services (safety and operating characteristics, etc). • Complaints are viewed as opportunities for improvement and these are expediently resolved with care and concern for the protection of future business. • Our customer-complaint mechanism is easily accessible by customers/clients. • We contact our customers/clients (or a sample) to check that they are totally satisfied with the products/programs/services that they have received/used. Areas of dissatisfaction are resolved and used as a basis for future improvements. • We empower our people to resolve customer/client problems/dissatisfaction directly and quickly without resorting to formal policies and lines of reporting. • We have clear selection criteria for people who engage in customer contact. • Our training in the competencies required for customer contact people is effective and evaluated in the workplace. • Our customer/client satisfaction measures capture actionable information for securing future business and gaining positive referrals. • Our customer satisfaction feedback includes comparisons with competitors’ or like organisations’ products/programs/services and/or industry/service delivery benchmarks. • We measure levels of customer satisfaction and these criteria provide the basis for staff recognition and reward. • We aim to establish a ‘customer for life’ philosophy through the provision of superior products/programs/services and relationships and by acknowledging and rewarding customers that display loyalty. • We explore and initiate creative and innovative ways to enhance the customer/client sales or service experience and to enhance customer relationships. • Satisfied customers who introduce others to our organisation are recognised and rewarded. • We are able to identify the influence and performance of suppliers that can impact on our customer relationships. • We collaborate with our suppliers to ensure that relevant customer related issues are systematically analysed and consistently improved. If you would like information on a system and tools designed to achieve this and much more, see and click on 2. Benchmark Business Improver. Daniel Kehoe.

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