Having a high customer satisfaction rate is one major characteristic of well-run businesses. It costs five to six times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep one, so it makes a lot of sense for any business to commit a fair amount of time and effort to keep existing customers happy.

Exceed customer expectations

It is not always possible to keep all customers happy but a business can go a long way in achieving this goal by trying to exceed the customer's expectations. This may be accomplished by giving more value or service then what was initially agreed on, delivering on a promise earlier than expected or by making a follow-up call to see if the customer has a problem or issue.

Exceeding the customer's expectations can be more easily accomplished if the initial expectations are kept lower than what can be delivered upon. If, for example, the delivery of a product is promised within 10 days, (though it could be done in less time) the customer should be pleasantly surprised and pleased to have the product delivered on day 6 or 7. However, in situations where competitors are setting the standards, it would be best to find an area they are weak in and compete there.

Help customers help themselves

One of the most effective customer service strategies a business can use is anticipating customer's questions and providing answers to them. An easy way to do this is through a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. To make this resource effective, compile a list of frequent queries and issues customers often raise and construct short questions and answers based on these issues. A customer may become disgruntled, less likely to repurchase or simply loose interest if they can't find clear answers to their queries and concerns easily. A FAQ page can go a long way in helping customers help themselves.

Hire the best customer service reps

Customer service reps are often the voice and faces of the business, when customers interact with your business they expect to get a quality product or service. It is therefore very important that customer service reps make a good impression and stay calm and professional, even when dealing with difficult or unreasonable customers. Because of this fact, only highly motivated, even-tempered, professional and people-oriented individuals should be considered for these critical positions.

Use Tours and Demos

At other times, no amount of sweet-talking or crafty sales pitches can make someone purchase if they don't understand your products or service. When this is the case, a demo or product tour can help a potential customer see how your product or service work before they commit to buying. This is especially useful if your offering is technical in nature, is software based or is sold online. Interaction with demos may also answer some lingering questions a customer may have, without the need to contact customer support.

Fortunately, putting together demos can be quite simple, thanks to solutions from demo-builder.com and techsmith.com, to name a few. These products allow for the creation of interactive demos and walkthroughs that can be used to show product features and advantages. These solutions can simulate click procedures and step-by-step operating instructions, in high quality audio and video formats.

Fix recurring problems

Less than 1 in 25 customers will express their dissatisfaction directly to the business, instead they will more readily tell others of any unpleasant experience they had with your product or service. Therefore, it is to be assumed that each complainant represents a larger group and so a genuine effort should be made to address any issue a customer raises. Actually, a customer does a business a favor by telling it what may need fixing or tweaking. Businesses must be especially vigilant in recognizing frequent complaints and fix them quickly, in the long run it reduces the burden on customer service and makes the customer's experience much more pleasant.

It is not enough to simply deliver the product that was ordered by a customer. Invariably customers will have questions, concerns and misunderstanding, these must be addressed promptly. Increasing and maintaining high customer satisfaction won't always be easy, but if the customer service department, a well written FAQ page or an easy to understand product demo answers their questions quickly, they are more likely to stay with the business and make other purchases.