“No plan survives first contact with the enemy”. Similarly, few businesses can survive the first contact with a customer if they aren’t well prepared. Smart entrepreneurs and business owners should know that as soon as they open their doors to customers, they are subject to changes in the very fabric of their business.

Customers will call, customers will interact, and customers will even vent at you. But the truth is, each interaction (whether good or bad) provides information about how your company can do better. Here are 5 ways customer interactions can improve your business.

1. Improved customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction rests at the heart of every successful business. Learning how to craft positive customer experiences while retaining your company’s culture is paramount to that success. Each customer interaction not only provides insight into the experience of a particular customer, but also adds another data point to your customer base’s satisfaction as a whole.

While you can try and guess what the customer needs from your service reps, only interactions “in the field” can give you the true vision that you need. In some industries, that customer’s happiness can ultimately earn and save a company millions.

2. Improved training methods
Most customer satisfaction centers have call recording, kind of similar to chat transcripts on live chat, and one of the most potent uses for this call recording is to record the best customer service interactions and use them to train the others. A tough customer may come along, and a great resolution can be used as a case study and folded into part of the training program.

One of the greatest things about having an engaged customer base is the fact that those who are engaged will offer suggestions, ideas, and thoughts about every aspect of your company. By listening to those ideas, you can find yourself improving upon training your support agents.

3. Improved customer recovery

Customer recovery. Nobody likes to hear those words, but it’s something which happens to those who have even the best intentions. Put simply, it’s the art of calling a mad customer off the ledge of going to another company or screaming at you.

Everybody who’s ever been in customer service has faced an irate customer. Through listening to that customer’s concerns, the rep learns a little bit about how to handle the next situation better. The best experience, sad to say, is through trial by fire. Through that fire, employees can grow.

4. Improved employee motivation
If everyone in your support team is dedicated to improving customer satisfaction levels by learning from customer interaction, motivation will rise because there will be a decrease in the number of angry customers with which to deal. Morale improves and employees motivation increases when they’re not feeling like they have arrows fired at them.

More motivation yields improved customer service, which cycles around so that everyone within the organization benefits. After all, a smile goes a long way to soothing the savage beast.

5. Improved operational procedures
When businesses are keen to learn from their customer support team, operational procedures begin to change. All of those great practices observed from interactions with customers become codified within the company culture. These improved operational procedures can always be tweaked and adjusted to yield more success with customers and within the business. All it takes is the willingness to adopt new practices.

In the end, having a customer support team that both listens and respects the customer is key to developing a great business culture. The experience you gain when you work with customers is the key to developing and maintaining a successful business.