Most businesses feel that they have properly trained their staff. In many cases the reality is, they have not. Both ladies said they will never return to this restaurant. They said they will also share their experience with others.
Nurturing healthy relationships with your customers is essential when it comes to growing a successful business. The age of automation and innovation has made business etiquette a requirement for building a lasting relationship. Proper wait staff training can increase your bottom line by thousands of dollars. Never scrimp on proper training.
One undeniable fact is that an unhappy customer can and usually will share their frustrations with others verbally and on social media, which only serves to hurt the reputation of the business. Yelp is a great example where the good, bad and ugly can be shared instantaneously.
Properly researched and processed data can provide excellent insight as to what customers are thinking and doing. This major study revealed:
- 37% of brands in the United States received excellent or good customer experience index scores in 2012, while 64% of brands were rated "OK", "Poor" or "Very Poor" by their customers. Source: Forester Research (https://goo.gl/9EFX0g)
- 89% of customers started doing business with a competitor after a poor customer experience. Source: RightNow (https://goo.gl/BXZa5G)
- The average loss of revenue to a competitor due to poor customer experience is $289 per person. Source: Genesys Report (http://goo.gl/yw19ZD)
Successful companies follow these simple rules of business etiquette:
1. Treat Customers Properly
Customers whose issues are resolved quickly tell four to six people about their experience. This means that word of mouth can easily influence the perception customers have about it. Therefore, a business shouldn't act as a faceless or nameless entity, but instead talk genuinely and interact well with its customers at all levels. Business’s that address its customers by name build a stronger and positive customer experience compared to one that doesn't.
2. Respect Customers
Business’s should always respect the mood of its customers when trying to resolve any issue they have with the company. Patience is the key to giving a customer time to vent which defuses a potential problem and creates a good opportunity for a business to help the customer in resolving the issue to the customer’s satisfaction. This conflict resolution takes more than just a simple “We are sorry”. Customers hear that too often. Properly prepared employees can save the businesses reputation and lead to increased sales and even customer referrals to new customers.
3. Always Listen
A business should be ready and willing to listen to its customers at any given moment. A business that does not listen to its customer’s experience more setbacks and rarely achieves its goals. A good business should use different methods to gather feedback from customers, including surveys, focus groups, social media, observation, customer service and point-of-sale questionnaires, as well as email and web forms.
4. Offer Continuous Support
A good business is one that ensures its customers are satisfied by offering continuous support and quality customer service. A business should always do everything within its power to provide excellent service to its customers on an ongoing basis. Such a business should also respond quickly and enthusiastically to customer concerns.
5. Treat Customers like Partners
If a business is a good listener but doesn't provide feedback to its customers, then it isn't treating its customers properly. A business should always value customers' opinions and should give quick and reliable feedback to them. This creates a long lasting bond.
6. Build Trust
In order to make up for one negative experience, the business might be forced to offer more than ten positive experiences. This is how sensitive the issue of trust between a business and its customers really is. A business must keep its customers appraised as far as changes are concerned. Any change on products or service should be communicated to the customers in advance. A business that tries to update customers immediately is more likely to succeed.
7. Be Transparent
the digital era calls for transparency between the business and its customers. It is a critical factor in building customer trust, satisfaction and a better experience. This means the business shouldn't be afraid to give feedback, shouldn't be hiding anything and should have open conversations with its customers.
8. Carry out Promises
A business that follows up on its promises builds trust, dependability and satisfaction among its customers. Although the expectations of the customers might cloud realistic goals, such a business will maintain consistency in communicating with its customers who will in turn learn what to expect in the future.
As the saying goes, the customer is always right. A business should use this rule as a guide to achieve its growth goals - from customer service to product development to user experience. Creating a customer service policy will help the business appreciate its responsibility to customers and the society.
10. Prioritize Customer Interests
prioritizing customer interest’s shows that the business cares about its customers and is willing to sacrifice for them to be happy and satisfied. However, this should be done in a thoughtful and authentic manner.
11. Say Thank You
Compassion and gratitude makes three out of four customers come back for more service. It is a way to captivate the customers for the long term. A business should be appreciative to customer’s opinions and loyalty.
Proper business etiquette is indispensable in building a steady and long lasting business-customer relationship. Unfortunately too many prospective employees have little or no understanding about proper manners and, perhaps worse, some do not care. This certainly is not good for business. Filling employee slots without proper business etiquette training can easily lead to avoidable issues that can hurt a business reputation.
Steve & Marcy Breault