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Building Expectations: The Goal of True Customer Satisfaction

by James Canada
If your customer is satisfied, you can be satisfied.
That doesn’t mean you can stop making improvements in customer service. Remember that your competitors are always getting better, so, as a small business, you need to continually satisfy your current customers’ needs to keep them coming back.
Customer service can be defined in many ways depending on why that customer retains your services. Sometimes it’s just the small things an owner does to exceed their customer’s expectations. Keeping a finger on the pulse of their needs and expectations and continuously improving service will go a long way toward retaining that customer.
Knowledge of customer service in business has evolved since I have been in the corporate world. Customers’ expectations are much higher, and their loyalty is not as prevalent. Owners and employers today are much better informed about the results of excellent customer service. We can learn from examples of exceptional service that others offer. 
One of the paradigm shifts I learned as a small-business owner is to constantly stay in tune with customers’ needs. This includes making sure we are always listening and addressing their expectations; proactively offering advice as if we were their hired consultant; and truly offering helpful advice—not just upselling them.
Companies must constantly use best practices. In doing so, we can keep in mind an old Total Quality Management process methodology called “Plan, Do, Check, Act.” Work with the customer to plan improvement, implement the improvement, follow up to ensure the implementation was successful, and then act on improving the way in which it was done, thus, starting the process all over again.
Over the coming months, we’ll be discussing how customer satisfaction fits within Total Quality Management and what an organization needs to do to achieve true customer satisfaction.  As I always tell my team, “If we are not moving ahead, we are falling behind.” 
James H. Canada is managing partner/CEO for Alliance Technologies LLC, ITEN mentor and author of “Corporate to Entrepreneur: Strategies for Success.” Contact Jim at james.canada@alliancetechnologiesllc.com, 636-734-2337 or     www.alliancetechnologiesllc.com.
 

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