Thu 28 Dec 2006
If you sell a product or service, no doubt you probably feel pressure from your customers due to their expectations. I used to feel that I didn't know my customers very well, and I had lots of anxiety because of it. Then I implemented a Customer Relationship Management program, and everything changed (for the better, I might add!).
Establishment of Expectations
It is a good practice to establish a list of customer expectations that will be met by your product or service. Putting the good, the bad and the ugly expectations in writing will enable you to keep revising the list as you go along.
Conduct Customer Interviews
Conduct two interviews of your customers. Prepare a questionnaire and ask them to complete it, and either fax or email it to you. The first interview should be conducted before the purchase of your product or service, and the other after its completion. The questionnaire should contain your contact information, as well as the name and mode of action to be taken, should there be a problem. The first questionnaire should determine the expectations of your customers and the preferred communication method. Send the second questionnaire to find out if customers have been satisfied with your product or service. You will also get to know what they liked or disliked, and what needs to be improved.
Know How to Say NO
Sometimes it is not possible to fulfill all the expectations of customers. It is a fact of business life that sometimes you will have to say no — but you can make sure that you say no in a manner that customers will feel they have been heard and treated fairly.
Keep in Touch
Maintain the human touch despite modern technology such as email and voicemail. Sometimes customers just want to hear a human voice! Do not let automation come between your customers and your business.
So what's the bottom line here? Knowing your customers and their expectations is key to knowing how to deliver. Once you know that, you'll feel much less customer-related pressures.