Business owners are used to
having outside accountants audit their books to make sure they know what
customers owe them, how long it takes customers to pay, what the company is
spending money on, and, whom they are spending it with.
Business owners need to “audit”
their clients to make sure they are happy and will continue to buy from the
company. Consider using an outside firm to perform a “customer audit”. This impresses on your customers that the
company is serious about wanting their input to improve their product/service.
Customers are more apt to give their honest opinion to an independent party
than they will directly to the company that supplies their product/service for
fear of offending the company.
Customer Audits should be short
and focus on only the most significant issues the business needs answers and
guidance on. The following are ten questions the company needs to know the
answers to in order to retain customers and ensure that they are providing
excellent customer service:
- What is your impression of the company?
- How often do you speak to a company
- How would you rate the quality of the
- How does the company compare to the other
vendors in terms of quality of service?
- Do you feel the company goes out of its way to
keep your business or just does enough to fulfill your needs?
- Are you driven by price over quality when making
- What could the company offer or do that would be
valuable to you?
- What isn’t the company doing now that you wish
they would do?
- What will be your greatest needs over the next
six to twelve months?
- Would you serve as a reference for this company?
Many business owners don’t ask because they are afraid of
the answer. You should be more afraid of
losing customers than you are of finding out about customer service problems
that you need to address.
In fact, the simple act of asking your customers these
questions can increase sales by uncovering hidden sales opportunities,
increasing referrals and increasing customer retention.