In an ideal world, you’d provide a quality product or service in a timely manner and customers would walk away happy.
But, as you know, it just doesn’t work that way. Today’s consumers always have a choice in who they do business with, and they routinely choose companies that provide not just a good product or service, but a good experience. According to one study, 86% of people who have a good experience with a company will repurchase from that same company in the future; but if they have a bad one, only 13% will offer another chance.
Achieving consistent customer satisfaction doesn’t mean that you have to operate by “the customer is always right” rule. But it does require that you rethink how you’re servicing your base. From monitoring your online reputation to developing a support system that personalizes your interactions with customers, being proactive and thoughtful is essential to achieving a high satisfaction rate.
5. Stay on top of reviews
Reviews matter. Up to 70% of potential customers will turn elsewhere if they see more than four negative reviews of a company. And even one bad review causes up to 22% of people to choose a competitor.
Tracking your reviews, and dealing with any issues immediately, gives you control over your online reputation. Use Google Alerts and products like SocialMention so you’re notified every time a new review of your company shows up or you’re mentioned on social media.
Platforms like Vendesta and ReviewTrackers take you a step further, letting you track every review your customers leave on any site—all from one dashboard. Although these products add to your operating costs, they streamline online reputation management for small businesses that receive a lot of feedback and mentions online.
So, what do you do when you receive a bad review? Use that negative feedback to your advantage.
4. Revamp your customer support
Today’s consumers have two universal requirements when they deal with a business:
- They want a choice in how they contact you.
- They don’t want to repeat themselves to multiple people.
The solution? Multichannel customer support and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Multichannel customer support is the new standard. If a customer can only contact you one way (say, via email), you’re creating roadblocks that hinder service quality. In addition to providing a phone number and email address, use social media, chat programs and even the comments section of your blog to help customers when they need it.
CRM software gives every employee who has contact with a customer access to that customer’s history with your company, including the details of any current issues they’re facing. Rather than wasting the customer’s time (and your teams’) by making them repeat their issue to every person they talk to, CRM software gives your team a head start in coming up with solutions.
These two changes increase customer loyalty, improve efficiency for your support staff and afford you the ability to turn frustrated customers into satisfied ones. If you want to dig deeper into customer support, check out this article from Biz.me: Elevate customer support with these tips.
3. Track competitors’ service
Researching how competitors handle different facets of customer service is more important than you might think—you won’t know if your current methods suffice if you don’t look at who your customers’ other options are.
If most of your competitors have a live chat option on their websites, and you don’t, you’re a step behind in the game. If your top competitor sends a handwritten note or sample with every package and you’re hastily bubble wrapping orders and tossing in an invoice, they’re making a much better impression.
No, you shouldn’t try to replicate how your competitors do business. But, maybe instead of adding a live chat option, you host weekly Facebook Live events to encourage conversation and answer questions. Or, instead of a handwritten note and sample with every order, you wrap the products in decorative paper before you grab the packaging material. Then, include a gift from another brand that complements the product you’re shipping. For example, if you make pottery, send a packet of seeds with every planter you ship.
2. Foster a service-oriented work environment
Every person you hire has the potential to affect how satisfied your customers are, even if that person’s position isn’t customer facing. Finding and hiring solid employees is the first step.
But, you also have to foster an environment where employees are not only expected to prioritize customer satisfaction and create rich experiences, but truly enjoy doing so.
And that all starts with how you treat the people who work for you.
1. Treat every customer as an individual
Individualizing customer service has the biggest impact on customer satisfaction. CRM software gives you a huge leg up here, letting you track notes and share data with other team members so you can personalize every interaction.
But individualizing customer service goes well beyond making sure your support team knows that Jeffrey Smith Junior goes by JJ or that Sasha Clark recently bought a beach blanket from your store. It means that you, and anyone who works with you, needs to be able to look at each individual customer as a unique person.
This mental shift from viewing customers as a number allows you to better help everyone who walks through your door (or proverbial door). You know exactly when a company you’re dealing with just views you as another task to cross off their list.
And so do your customers.
Customer service, and customer satisfaction, becomes less and less cut and dry as consumer desires and habits evolve. Staying on your toes, thinking creatively and putting yourself in your customers’ shoes goes a long way toward ensuring that customers not only view your business positively, but they’re so enthralled with their experience that they routinely come back again and again.
Biz.me is not affiliated with any product or influencer discussed or linked to in this post.