1: I recommend that you walk in your customers’ shoes

How long does it take for your call to be answered? Is it answered by a live person, or are you faced with an endless stream of options—push 1 for company hours, push 2 for company locations, and on and on and on?

Pretend to be a customer or potential customer. Ask about a particular product. Ask about a service. Say that you are having a problem with a product you purchased. Then sit back and see how employees respond. Are they helpful? Do they respond to your questions in a knowledgeable manner? Do they empathize with you? Do they have the authority to solve your problem, quickly and to your satisfaction?

Call at various times of the day and days of the week. Recently, while attempting to wire money from my daughter in China to Metro Bank in the United Kingdom, I had a problem. I called Metro Bank at 4 a.m. on a Sunday. A real person answered the phone and gave me the information I needed to complete the transaction. Now that’s service.

I also recommend that you log on to your organization’s web site. Is it easy to navigate? Ask for a response to a question. How long does it take for an employee to respond? This is important, because many potential customers contact several organizations via the internet before making their purchasing decisions.

If you walk in your customers’ shoes, you will get the information you need to ensure they have a comfortable walk through your doors, either physical or virtual. When you do so, you will increase customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth advertising, which in turn will increase market share—and profits.

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