The ‘basics' are what many lose focus of.
A long-time friend and I had a discussion last night and he asked me for recommendations on how to increase new sales, earn repeat business, and how to increase new sales via referrals. I shared with him, as I do with clients or when I speak in public, that “unless you take on the mentality, believe in, and get totally focused on earning ‘100% customer satisfaction’ you'll always lose potential revenue, repeat and referral business, and reputation.”
To be honest, I don't know many small to mid-sized business owners today (and many of you are my friends) who have that philosophy or have built it into their employees. Not many have that mentality and focus – let alone really live it. They may have at one time, or believe they have it, but their behavior and actions today suggest otherwise.
It’s not enough to talk about customer service or even try to achieve 100% customer satisfaction. It has to be a ‘no matter what!’ mentality that 100% customer satisfaction is the only acceptable level. This is not to say all customers will always be happy, but if they are not, they can still be satisfied. Perhaps a refund would have to be made, or a bonus of additional products, programs, or services given. But unfortunately, doing whatever it takes is not a common practice these days, with small businesses in particular.
The small business failure rates are pretty consistent in that the first 2 years of a start-up, 50% will fail, and that failure rate moves up to near 70% by year 5! If the owner does not have a mentality of 100% customer satisfaction, no one else in the organization will either.
My suggestion is to create a strong Vision Statement, then add to it a compelling Mission Statement, and the design Guiding Principles of which 100% Customer Satisfaction isn't only a goal, but a reality!