Recently, I experienced a customer satisfaction “test” in a way. A few weeks ago, an email with the subject line “Book editing quote” landed in my Inbox. The sender desired a bid to edit her boyfriend’s book. Naturally, such an email generates one of two responses: excitement and MORE excitement. Right?
Not so fast.
In this case, my response was to “pump the brakes” on this prospective customer’s request for one highly important, customer-satisfaction reason: I have NO book editing experience. Instead, I thanked the sender for considering me for such a dynamic request.
And, I replied: “Because I have no book editing experience, I am going to decline the project. If you need articles, blogs, or other written correspondence edited, contact me with the topic and deadline. Thanks! Regina.”
What did I receive in response? A note of appreciation.
How did I feel after I sent that email? 10 feet tall.
Begin Every Project with Customer Satisfaction in Mind
Above all, to attain long-term customer satisfaction:
- Know your craft and be fabulous at it.
- Deliver the promised high-quality goods and services in an agreed upon manner and timeframe.
- If you can’t do No. 1 and No. 2, walk, no, RUN as far away from the project BEFORE wasting the customer’s money and your time.
These insights are grounded by Stephen Covey’s Habit #2— “Begin with the End in Mind,” from his famous business and personal growth primer “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s worth rereading or listening to the audiobook because such timeless principles are even more relevant in today’s “overscheduled, no attention space” lifestyles.
5 Tips to Improve Business and Customer Satisfaction
Business success requires planning and the willingness to learn from mistakes—neither of which are easy to accomplish. Try these tips:
1. Stay in your lane
Do the work you are qualified and competent to do. If you focus on refining and maintaining those skills, your customers will reward you with repeat business and good recommendations.
2. Start out with a clear picture of the final deliverable
Understand in detail what the customer wants and then evaluate your goods and services to ensure you can get the job done, on time and on budget.
3. Shore up your team
Before starting a new project, do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis to determine if you have all of the resources to deliver high-quality goods and services. If the results are lacking, make changes, fast.
4. Say “No, Thank You”
Solving problems for customers is not easy to do. Be prepared to turn down any projects that don’t fit your company’s mission statement, business model, or that you just don’t have a good feeling about.
5. Share often (because as I like to say “A closed mouth won’t get fed”)
Take time to help a competitor with a tip or a proven strategy because in the end, there is more than enough business for everyone.
No Shortcuts to Customer Satisfaction
In the book “Primary Greatness: The 12 Levers of Success” by Stephen Covey (edited by Sean Covey), we are reminded of a critical challenge facing society: “… Too many of us–more than ever, I’m afraid–are trying to take a shortcut around the principles of life. We want love but not commitment. We want success without paying the price. We want thin bodies and our cake too. In other words, we want something we can never have–the rewards of good character without good character.”
Ultimately, by remaining open to the right opportunities, we experience our best work. This fuels our customers’ successes. And their successes feed ours.
What’s your favorite tip for customer satisfaction?