Are our clients happy?
How often is this question asked by the owners or top management teams of organizations in MSM sector engaged in rendering service?
Clients staying with you for long may not be a sufficient reason for you to believe that they are satisfied and happy. It could simply be clients’ inertia.
Or may be that he or she is not willing to pay what is known as switching costs like-
- Hassle, time and uncertainty associated with finding a new service provider
- Possibility of forced adjustment with the new service provider
- Loss of relationships with the earlier firm & it’s employees
Switching costs are always weighed against level of satisfaction by the client before saying Goodbye.
Satisfaction of the client is nothing but clients experience of the service vis a vis his expectation. Satisfaction of client can be measured by identifying gap between expectation and actual experience. For expectation and experience clients subconsciously use following checklist
- Dependability and accuracy of service
- Employees’ knowledge, courtesy, confidence, willingness to assist, promptness, caring and individual attention
- Adequacy of infrastructure and efficient staff
This list highlights the extremely important role played by the employees involved in rendering the service. And therefore answer to the question – Are our employees happy? Would probably be the most important indicator of customer satisfaction.
And while doing this assessment, it must be remembered that price of the service also plays an extremely important role.
A low price and high quality of service may keep the customers happy but may not be a healthy recipe for long term survival of the organization.
Hence one must also ask the questions-
Is our organization profitable enough? And which of our customers give good profit? Is their satisfaction monitored adequately and continuously?
Retaining unprofitable or low profit customers may put stress on resources and possibly hurt other profitable customers’ satisfaction. But sometimes it could simply be a case of high quality not expected by customer coupled with low price.
Matching price for appropriate level of service is the skill that will ensure good profit with customer satisfaction.
Most important indicator of customer satisfaction is his willingness to recommend you to his friends, relatives and associates.
On the other hand, a dissatisfied customer not only leaves but may stop potential customer from coming to you.
Customer leaves mainly when there is feeling of being neglected or weakening of the bond or relationship
Other factors that could hurt him and make him leave are:
- Unexplained price increase
- Careless handling or unreasonable time for completion of work which was extremely critical (financially or emotionally) to the customer
Considering high cost of new customer acquisition emphasis on Customer retention makes sense which obviously guarantees improved profitability and also makes employees’ jobs easier and more satisfying.
So be part of a virtuous circle > keep your employees happy > keep your customers happy> be happy yourself.