Ten ways to become more customer focused
In our free-enterprise economy, the customer is king. It’s those who please the customer most that ‘win’ the most business. Winners are always customer focused and responsive. At Charterhouse we believe that our clients' success is our success. We care as much about your business as you do! The following ten ways should help your business become more customer orientated.
1. Keep in touch. Pleasing the needs of customers is straightforward, but you need to know what they want and expect. The best way to do that is to ask them. Always deliver what they want in a timely way at a price that’s fair and justifiable. Always find ways to keep in touch with your customers to ensure you get a balanced view: face-to-face, phone surveys, questionnaires, response cards, social media etc.
2. Customers can and sometimes will complain; it’s their job. Always be ready for the good news and the bad news. Don’t be defensive when a customer complains, just listen and respond to legitimate criticisms and note the rest. Vocal customers will usually complain more than compliment; you do not need to get overwhelmed by any negative comments; people with positive opinions usually speak up less. It is always good to maintain a dialogue and be completely open with your customers. Openess leads to fresh perspectives and new ideas can come from anywhere
3. Anticipate what your customer needs. Get in the habit of meeting with your customers on a regular basis to set up a dialogue; customers need to feel free to contact you about problems and you need to be able to contact them for essential information. Do use this perception to get in front of your customers; and do try and anticipate their needs and provide them with some positive surprises.
4. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you were a customer of yours, what would you expect; what kind of turnaround time would you tolerate; what price would you be willing to pay for the quality of product or service you provide; what would be the top three things you would complain about?
5. Think customer in. Always prepare your work and manage your time from a customer in, not from you out perspective. It’s your customers not you that will determine ‘your best’, don’t try to prepare and arrange what you do only from your own view; always try to know and take the viewpoint of your customer first; you will always win following that rule.
6. Drive continuous improvement. Never be satisfied. Always look to improve all of your work processes so they always deliver perfect goods and services that your customers want. Never be afraid to fail.
7. Look at your own work habits. Are they designed for maximum effectiveness and efficiency for your customer or are they designed for your comfort? Is there room for some continuous improvement? Are you applying the principles you have learned to yourself? Remember, this is one of the major reasons why these efforts fail.
8. Think of yourself as a dissatisfied customer. Write down all of the unsatisfactory things that have happened to you as a customer during the past month. Things like delays, orders not right, cost not as expected, phone calls not returned, bad service, inattentive staff, out of stock items etc. Are any of these things happening to your customers?
9. Think of yourself as a satisfied customer. Write down all of the satisfactory things that have happened to you as a customer during the past month? What pleased you the most as a customer? Good value; on-time service; courtesy; returned calls? Are any of your customers experiencing any of these satisfactory transactions with you and your business?
10. Play detective. As a customer how would you design things differently to make them more effective and efficient? What principles did you follow? Apply those same principles to your own work.
Charterhouse is a forward thinking accountancy practice located in Harrow and Beaconsfield that does its utmost to provide excellent service to its clients. Charterhouse is a proactive partner and delivers the freedom to aim higher!