1. Listen to the customer. Most will tell you what they want from you, leaving you the simple task of just doing it. 9 times out of 10 this will lead to a reasonable level of customer satisfaction all on it's own. Many companies fail at this first hurdle.
2. If you can't do what you have said you will do - communicate with the customer. Most people are reasonable and know that things go wrong. But don't wait for the customer to discover the problem for themselves, or to have to chase you up to see where the promised item is. Are you scared to tell your customer bad news? You could be making things worse.
3. It is always better to underpromise and overdeliver. It is a cliche, but delighting your customer relies on going some way further than the expected. Customers are increasingly demanding, but creative thought can still lead you to exceed their expectations. Doing the bare minimum is no way to beat your competitors.
4. Never criticise your customer. It does not matter if they gave you a duff brief, if they changed their minds or if they wouldn't know quality if it bit them on the nose. Flatter them and they'll love you. If you feel the need to blame them for a mistake or a misunderstanding, ask yourself how you could have avoided the situation. Perhaps you didn't ask them enough questions when they told you what they needed. If you make them feel attacked, they certainly won't feel valued.
These four lessons are so simple, I'm sure that you feel they weren't worth stating again. But do you know what? I frequently have dealings with businesses that forget any number of them. Ask yourself whether you and your staff always remember them. The answer could keep your customers coming back.
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