Q&A library

How do you handle customer complaints?
Once you have developed a policy, you can create a procedure for handling complaints. A procedure will ensure complaints are dealt with the same manner, every time. The procedure should be easy to understand and followed by all your staff. An easy and effective method of complaint resolution is by following the H.E.A.R.T model. Your procedure can include the following steps. • H – Hear: Listen without interrupting - they need to be heard. • E – Empathize: Be sensitive and show the customer you've understood. It's important to treat them with respect. • A- Apologize: After you've understood what went wrong, its time to give an apology. It shows that you are concerned. And customer satisfaction is higher when the apology is sincere and genuine and sounds like it. • R- Resolve: Take ownership to fix what went wrong, provide atonement. • T – Thank: Finally, make the customer know that their feedback was valuable and provided room for improvement by thanking them. This step goes a long way in keeping them happy and brings back loyalty. Go through the complaint in detail so you can understand exactly what the problem is. Keep records of all complaints in one central place or register. This will help you identify any trends or issues. Encourage your customers to provide feedback and complaints so that they let you know when there is a problem and gives you the opportunity to resolve it. Most small businesses thrive on word of mouth publicity so make sure to keep your customers delighted in all situations.

What if you have adequate stock and still don’t sell? What creates such a scenario?
This situation mainly arises when there is a high supply of products and no demand for it. Some factors that lead to it are: •Poor forecasting methods: Inaccurate demand forecasts lead to carrying too little or too much stock. •Seasonality: Producing forecasts that ignore seasonal demand variations is another key reason for a build-up of excess inventory. If you fail to identify items that are affected by seasonal demand, your forecasts for these items will never be accurate. •A lack of market knowledge: Adding qualitative forecasting aspects, or the ‘human factor’, to every forecast is important to prevent ordering too much stock. •Product lifespan: Growth, maturity and decline. At each stage a product’s demand will change. Many inventory planners fail to recognise or take account of the product life cycle in their forecasting. •Bad Marketing Campaigns: In some cases, a good and effective marketing can also help in clearing the excess inventory.

How can a small business make a customer your own brand endorser? How can you make him refer and review?
You can attract more customers by getting reviews from people who have already purchased from you. Your existing customers’ testimonials can be ensured by providing store discounts and promotional offers. Customers may walk-in to your store more often if they are awarded with perks and incentives to encourage repeat business, instead of solely attempting to find new customers. You can put your customers’ reviews on multiple places, so potential customers are sure to see them. You might have a dedicated testimonials page where customers review your products or on your social media pages–business’s Facebook and Instagram page. You can even direct customers to the locations where you want them to leave reviews. You can prompt them with an email or a social media post. If you talk to customers in person, ask them to write a review. Most small businesses thrive on word of mouth publicity so make sure to keep your customers delighted in all situations. Keep your social media account information updated and accurate. Post fresh content incorporated with the reviews of satisfied customers. Do this regularly, which will keep you relevant to customers.

What are the few areas small business owners can improve?
Marketing is important to every business’s survival. When it’s into small business, looking at competitors could lead the way. Find out what they are doing to attract customers and learn from competitors. Get testimonials – which is one way in which small business’ can attract more customers by getting reviews from people who have already done the purchases. Small business’ can put their reviews in multiple places including their website if they have one, so potential customers are sure to see them. Social media marketing for small business can improve the presence on social platforms. Post fresh and new content regularly on your social media pages. Small business owners have to go out to where the customers are, instead of waiting for them to come to them. Have people sign up for your emails and WhatsApp messages. Automate whatever you can in your business, it is a necessity in today’s competitive environment. Automating monotonous tasks saves time, in the long run it will cut costs, as well as increase business efficiency. Monitor trends, because no business operates in a vacuum. Events and changes in the global landscape will have an effect on your business. Even things that don't seem relevant on the surface might have an impact on what you do, so consider all possibilities. Running a small business is hard work but one that is worth the effort.

How can you transform from bad customer experience to best customer experience?
A positive customer experience is crucial to the success of every business because a happy customer is one who is likely to become a loyal customer and can help boost your revenue. The way we think about customer experience has a profound impact on how we look at our business as a whole. The two primary touch points that create the customer experience are People and Product. A positive customer experience promotes loyalty, helps retain customers, and encourages brand advocacy. When customers have a negative experience, what may resonate most is helping them feel heard, reassured, and valued. Whether your customer is unhappy with your brand or is voicing a concern, it's important to listen to what they have to say, be empathetic to their situation and use that information to resolve the problem. You have to analyse customer satisfaction survey results and identify rate and reasons for customer blend. We may ask customers for product or feature requests. Showing customers you are listening and caring about how they feel, and stepping up to restore their confidence in your company can work wonders to transform negative impacts into loyalty moments that power your brand. Create an emotional connect with your customers in order to capture customer feedback in real time.

What are the factors which increase positive customer experience thus resulting in repeat sale and word of mouth publicity?
A positive customer experience is crucial to the success of the business because a happy customer is one who is likely to become a loyal customer and can help boost revenue. The best marketing money can’t buy a customer who will promote your business for you — one who's loyal to your company, promotes your business through word-of-mouth marketing, and advocates your brand, product or service. It is important to know exactly who your ideal customer is. Understanding this will help you create a customer service experience that best serves them and fits their particular needs. Consumers expect the best, and they expect an excellent value. So continuously provide quality products and make sure that your customer believes that the product/service is really worth the price. Availability of the product or service is another major factor so always make sure that the demand is met. This helps the business to be aware of any hiccups in the process that needs to be corrected for future. Create a clear and structured system for communicating with the customers and vice versa so that it's easy for them to reach the business, receive their feedback and subsequently respond. It's always important to be sensitive so be sure to evaluate the resources, support and provide service in a timely and relevant manner.

Reopening business is somewhat easier than opening a new business. Why do you say so? What should be the laundry list in reopening a business?
It is easier than beginning a new business because almost all the resources are available with the entrepreneur. The business plan, employees, vendors, infrastructure etc. already exist but the employer needs to research and find ways to pitch into the market and return to the new normal. When restarting a business, revisit the plan with the intention of making each and every forecast or projection more realistic. There may be factors you did not take into consideration that has now become a challenge. Determine the items, sizes and dates of each order that you’ll need as you restart. Contact your vendors to confirm that they’ll be able to meet your current and future orders. Proactively seek feedback from employees and give them a voice. In addition, know the performance of each employee and what could be done to get them to deliver their best. Redesign work so that it can be completed more effectively. Train employees to manage hybrid virtual / physical teams and extend technology support. Limit physical contact and enable more flexible use of space. Be sure to utilize technology like QR codes and Google Pay to eliminate the need to touch any surfaces. Also, wherever needed online reservation methods can be adopted to avoid large crowds of people waiting in line. In terms of cost, try to negotiate and look at the things that are fixed, like rent and loan payments, and even the small stuff like monthly computer charges. Business owners must not only update their customers on hours and product/service reopening, but also explain the new health and safety protocols that are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Customers need to be confident that the business has created a protected environment, to which they can safely return. Interact with your existing customers on a regular basis, and advertise your products and services on the various social media platforms. The marketing and sales team should have a defined goal in the area of lead and revenue generation. And results should be evaluated monthly, quarterly or annually.

What is the additional benefit a business can reap by being Tech savvy compared to a traditional model?
Technology has made it easy in processing daily business activities and routine tasks. Utilizing technology to the full potential is crucial for sustaining in the Covid-19 scenario. They can find solutions that allow a business to gain significantly better exposure than in the past, particularly for small scale business. A tech savvy company can implement cost-effective approach to maximize the exposure of the business, instead of relying on the classic and traditional marketing methods. They can use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. to promote their business, products, and services. A tech savvy company can definitely use tech means to get in touch with the customers, to consider their feedback and improve their business. They can also automate monotonous and time consuming tasks to bring more productivity. A tech savvy company can also make use of the online payment platforms such as Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm etc. for money transactions along with credit or debit card facility for payments. They can solve the mobility issues through video conferencing platforms and develop the businesses in any part of the globe to interact with one another.

What is the role of the internal customer (Employee) in the restart process? How should they be differently treated for the positive outcome?
Employees in the restart process definitely play an integral part in this project, with Covid-19 impacting businesses and people trying to figure out how to come to terms with the new normal. At such an unprecedented time as this, employee’s contribution to a business is of utmost importance. They have to be treated with empathy and concern as they too grapple with the reality of the situation and are expected to put in their best efforts to support the business. It is important to understand their concerns about family health and future as almost every sector has been affected by the pandemic. Hence, kindness and empathy shown to them during these times will be reciprocated which will in turn help the business to revive and reach greater heights.

What creates a “Wow” feeling and provides a "Top of the mind" brand recall in the minds of the customer?
Today’s consumers have a wealth of resources at their fingertips. They can access an infinite number of customer reviews, blog posts, and competitor websites. A consumer’s buying decision largely depends on the type of products that they need to buy. The consumers “Wow” factor largely remains with brand recall, clubbed with extreme customer satisfaction, and user experience and also for many consumers, the pricing also remains a “Wow” factor. If businesses can get the little things right, like enhancing the convenience for the customer, good customer grievance redressal, personalized service, timely services etc. they can generate and maintain a "Wow" element.

#RestartIndia Response Network
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