If you’ve spent any time lately on your personal social media accounts, a common theme seems to center on the lack of civility nowadays. People are described as disconnected, self-absorbed, selfish, discourteous and a raft of other adjectives, some too risqué for our weekly blog. But we bet you agree with the sentiment. However, are we really past the days of people opening doors for one another? Or smiling and saying hello? Whether or not you think society is headed to you-know-where in a hand basket, this phenomenon most certainly doesn’t have to extend to your franchise operation. Because we’re here to tell you that customer service (still matters).
One of the factors that have kept customer service honest in the past few years is the online review process. A potentially upsetting encounter at your small business can soon be shared with an entire universe of eyeballs. So businesses, by and large, have adapted, making customer service great again (sorry, we couldn’t resist). During this week’s blog edition, we’re going to list more than a few ways that you can shape up your own customer service skills, proving that treating people right isn’t a lost art after all. Let’s start with the very basics:
Look, Learn & Listen
Pay attention to your customer’s needs. To do this, you need to look into their eyes and listen to their concerns. Getting things right the first time can make a great impression. If you’re in the quick service restaurant (QSR) business, double check orders. A little extra effort goes a long way.
Make it a Rewarding Experience
How much do you care about your customers? Have you ever considered rewarding them? Repeat business is the lifeblood of your operation because it allows you to focus on attracting new customers. If able, look into incentivizing your product or service. Give your customers a reason to keep coming to your particular establishment over that of your competition.
Handle Complaints Fast
Nobody needs a bad online review. If you get the opportunity to hear about a particular complaint (and sometimes you won’t), respond with all due speed. Make it right and remember the old adage that the customer is always right. Even if you know they aren’t. Until you’re the size of Southwest Airlines, you can’t afford to lose customers. We’re not asking you to be taken advantage of, but typically you’ll know what you need to do to keep your customers happy. Follow through without delay.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers how you’re doing. In fact, most people would be flattered to have the opportunity to evaluate your operation. If you notice a particular customer who has been a loyal patron of your establishment, carve out a few minutes of time to have a brief discussion. It may turn into a long conversation. Ask what you’re doing right. Ask what you’re doing wrong. And ask what would make this particular customer continue to do business with you. Take notes if you have to and implement what you’re told. Because you will have just been given an in-person review, a priceless opportunity. And remember—if you don’t ask—you’ll never know. And it’s better to know.
As a franchise or small business owner, you also have the ability to get feedback via online surveys. One of the most popular online questionnaires is called Survey Monkey and allows you to create a series of questions which can be tailored to provide the data you need. In this case, a customer service query can be created and emailed to everyone in your database. Best of all, it’s free to use.
Now go conduct a customer service survey of your own and prove that it isn’t a lost art after all.
As a franchisor, you’ll want to know which existing and potential franchisees best fit your business concept. And Proven Match is the proven solution in determining those factors. Obtain the ability to categorize your best existing franchisees for future validation efforts. And find the potential franchisees still engaged in the discovery process to add to your team. Through our proven behavioral assessment techniques, predictive analysis becomes predictive success for your franchise concept. If you’re ready to show your leadership by getting started, give us a call and we’ll put you on the path to a more productive year in 2016.