I want to talk about the recent survey that I did and the results, so that it can be used to educate small business owners. Especially those that are newly opened or looking to successfully launch, but also to build a sustainable business in this time when so many small businesses are failing or just trying to survive.
Let’s discuss the most important findings from the survey, when entrepreneurs and small business owners were asked the question… What's your #1 challenge right now, when it comes to Customer Satisfaction?
And the overwhelming response was…. Operations impact on Customer Satisfaction.
What you do in your business, the logistics of the day to day operations, the changes made, and the circumstance that you find yourself under, can result in an impact on customer satisfaction.
Depending on the type of business, your operations could be transparent to the customer. In the case of a product-based business, most people don't see what happens on the inside. It's like a black box. To many customers your operations are not important, because they just care about the end product. They care about what they buy, what they get physically in their hand, or what they see. All they really care about is the bottom line…. Am I getting a good product?... Are you meeting my expectations?
Similarly, in a service-based business many parts of the operations are not a part of the customer experience. The inner workings are not relevant to the customer until it has a direct impact on them. Although it isn’t visible it is important to make sure that any voluntary or mandatory changes to your process doesn’t result in a decline in customer satisfaction.
Sometimes the product/service that you provide is delivered to the customer through an experience and the customers are involved in the process of delivery. Let’s look at the example of a restaurant, where the product is the food that they're getting. It is delivered through an experience, like in a sit-down restaurant. The operations behind getting that product to the customer is quite visible, so not only is the end product able to be judged by the customer, but the experience also impacts customer satisfaction.
One of the things that people noted through COVID was the changes that had to be made to minimize the spread of the virus. Changes in terms of the spacing. Can you have indoor or outdoor dining? Do you have to wear a mask? All of these things impact the customers' experience, and ultimately customer satisfaction.
While Operations impact on Customer Satisfaction was really one of the main drivers of what people were worried about right now, it is not only important during COVID. Any restrictions, or any changes that impact your operations will ultimately impact customer satisfaction. It may be what's going on in the environment. Hurricanes, earthquakes; anything that physically impacts how you do business. Changes in regulations, changes in requirements from governing bodies. These maybe outside of your control, but you can prepare yourself and just be ready in the event it happens. Through contingency planning you can go through a hypothetical scenario to figure out what you would do if the worse happens. How do you keep the doors open? How do you keep operating? Once you are operational under those conditions, then figure out how do you ultimately ensure customer satisfaction despite changes in your operations.
Of course, if you need help you contact me at 516-500-1536 or go to my website, www.CustomerSatisfactionServices.com
Chief Customer Satisfaction Officer/Founder
Bryan Service Companies , Inc.– Customer Satisfaction Services