In the business world today where customer gaining costs are sky-rocketing, medium and small businesses must focus on creating a customer experience to increase customer satisfaction. Attaining a high level of customer satisfaction is a goal that all small businesses share. Customers that are satisfied often become loyal, keep coming to the business and are extremely valuable assets for a business. It costs a much smaller amount to serve a current customer than to attract a new one using marketing methods such as advertising or direct mail. It is not enough that customers find your product appealing, the high-quality service and the price reasonable but the customer that says yes to your product, service and price might be satisfied with you, but customer loyalty is a whole different matter. Here are some game-changing ideas to help you on your way in achieving a better customer satisfaction:
Understand your Customers
Make your customer feel special: Customer loyalty can be kept by having a specialized service. If you succeed to win over a customer’s heart in a manner that is extremely rare elsewhere, it is more likely he will return despite a lower cost elsewhere. This costs less than you think and lowering mix rate can reap unconceivable profits in the future. Since your customers are like your paycheck, you have to treat them very special because without them, you will have nobody to pay you. By using this approach to every one of your customer interaction you can certainly flip the angle on a good customer service. As a business person, you should always show appreciation to all your customers for doing business with you and try as much as possible to help them. Always keep your promises and integrity, and if you want a pay raise, try to impress your customers. Consider your paycheck every time you talk to a customer or doing business with the customer.
Deliver a familiar experience: People like to see faces that they are familiar with. In a physical store, hiring employees that know the customer’s preferences and name differentiates your business from that of your competitors. In the online world, having experienced employees who know about your business inside and out allows them to offer customers with a higher level of service when help is needed. Live chat permits companies to build a familiar experience for their customers since different agents can read past chats and follow up on previously unsettled issues. For example, it is normal that you will not return to a business if the business constantly lays off its employees and every time you want help, an inexperienced agent mistakes with handbooks and knowledge base articles before forwarding you to someone else.
Build a common enemy: Many fans of a certain product do not like another, especially when they are extremely alike, but not precisely the same. That is, if you cannot provide your fans a reason to assembly together, give them a cause to assembly against. Once you have understood what makes loyal customers and you are determined to convert your normal consumers into good fans, then you have to make the enemy of your enemy your friend.
Find Out your Customers’ Needs
The process of customer satisfaction starts at the initial contact with the customer and not when a purchase is made. You should learn to train your sales person to be able to listen kindly to your customers and find out what they have as needs. This because, if your sale person totally understands a customer's needs, she or he is in a best position to suggest the product or service that best meets these needs of the customer. Satisfied customers are those who buy something from a business place and are fully convince that the decision was made by them, and not by the sales person.
Be a Source for Customers to get Reliable Information
As a small business owner, you can increasingly differentiate yourself effectively from your competitors by making your business a place where customers can come to get reliable and complete information without contemplating about the benefits and uses of a particular product they intend to purchase. Helping your sales people to have an in depth knowledge of your products and services will excite your customers that your business is there to serve their needs. You can also use your website as another useful source where your customer can go to get reliable information. Providing the customers with reliable information on the website create a perception about your company to the customer that the company is always already to provide benefits even before the customer sets their foot in the store.
Uphold High Ethical Standards
You can quickly lose your customers when they deal with sales people or customer service representatives who are not fully open and honest about features of the purchase like pricing or return policies of products. Another thing that is not good ethically is when you make promises that the company cannot fulfil just because you want to sell something or because you want to beat a competitor. When you deceive a customer or make the person feels like he has been misled on a transaction deal with you, the person will likely not visit your business again for a second transaction. In addition to giving customers high cost for products or services, a careless customer service can force a customer to post negative reviews about the business at their consumer websites or even posting it through social media. On the other hand, if a customer is completely satisfied, the customer might use social media to recommend the business to a friend or by calling the friend to recommend the business should in case the friend want to get that same product. With this recommendation from the customer, you have had an extra one customer added to your business.
Build a Good Purchase Relationship
Having a customer who laid a complain through email or call just because he is not satisfied does not mean that you have loss the customer. A business that is skilled at handling complaints or problems in a kind and diplomatic manner can turn a negative state of affair into a positive one and cause the customer to keep doing business with them. Companies like these are the ones who call their customers to find out about their level of satisfaction with the last business transactions with them. They also find out from the customer what they can do to better serve the customer when he comes back in the future. The primary objective of every business is to improve in their customer satisfaction. They do this by asking customers for their feedback, making the customer to know that their business truly cares about them and is always struggling for improvement. When you send thank-you cards and email announcements of new products or services your business offers to your customers, it makes them to respond well and this may only interest the customers based on how far the business have understood the need of the customers.
The only way to succeed in maintaining customer loyalty is to dedicate effort and time towards strategies that always puts your customers in first place. The good strategy to use is the balanced scorecard developed by Robert S Kaplan and David P Nortan. This strategy addresses the needs of the various investors in an integrated manner, with the business’s core values as its turning point. The balanced scorecard guides businesses in thinking about the decisions they make and their operations from 4 different points of views: the financial perspective, the customer perspective, the internal procedure perspective and the employee perspective. What this implies is that if a business places customer loyalty and satisfaction as it cores value, the strategy will help tie in all other areas in order to meet the business goal. This is very useful when it comes to helping single employees see their own value and impact on the entire business. For instance, a good customer service agent would have his own scorecard on how to satisfy customers. However, at the same time, the employee will be able to see the impacts his own actions have on the financial section of the business, since the balanced scorecard links everything together. When employees feel important to the business and all investors or stakeholders feel committed to a goal while having perfect targets, the ultimate dream of attaining customer satisfaction and customer loyalty can be possible to achieve.
Focus on measuring customer satisfaction: The ever scary customer satisfaction score troubles even the brightest of us. Since customer satisfaction is a self-stated measure, companies often try to know what their customers are thinking through a series of stats. Nonetheless, since a complete and accurate customer satisfaction score is usually made up of more than one measure, gathering information from different aspects of the business can help deliver a more thorough idea of how satisfied your customers are.
Measure customer loyalty: It is difficult to measure customer loyalty than customer satisfaction. This is because you can only measure loyalty by observing the actual behavior of your clients and not by you asking them to tell you how loyal they are. Nonetheless, you can still look at customer loyalty to be a statistical measure where your accuracy rises with the number of measures. Customer retention, repurchasing rate and advocacy rate are the few popular indicators of customer loyalty. You can collect data for these measures in two different ways. That is, by determining customer loyalty through a question that you asked them or by observing customers’ behavior. For instance, you can track repeat purchase with a loyalty card and you can use the referral. Even when customers do not speak out loud about how loyal they are to your business, these behavioral statistics speak a lot.
Design a Good Customer Feedback Survey
A good feedback survey produces high quality data and helps you to improve on your customer satisfaction levels. Anybody can write a simple questionnaire but if is not written well, then they will end up having deluge of inappropriate responses. The hard part with this is to get a response from the customers whom you need to hear from them. So, when writing try to do the following:
Make sure to have a prominent branding: Use the recognizable image and reputation you have already gotten from your business to back up your survey page credibility. Branding benefits is far greater than the benefits you get when you bring out a survey using your logos, colors, quality graphics and quality visuals. Your customers can quickly recognize your brand when they know you can use the connection from their emotion to give a more meaningful feedback for your business.
Make an accessible survey: The reality of today’s generations is that they do not want to spend much time looking for something in the internet, let alone talking about looking for a customer feedback survey. When you make an accessible survey, you gain high volume of responses and many clients participating in the survey. With this also, you are sure that the result that you get from your survey feedback is accurate. When your survey is easy to find it supplements your company’s good customer service.
Make your survey short: When you have a customer feedback survey which is about three-pages interrogation, it will scare the customers away from it. But if the feedback survey is short, it will attract the customer and they will be focused when giving their feedback. Therefore, you should prepare your feedback survey as if you are preparing questions for a child because you will not want your customers to focused on some particular question because they are bored and confused, making them not to give the right results. It is very important to perceive the way your client look at your feedback survey, so keep your survey to less than two pages in order to keep your client engaged enough to give significant feedback for each question.
Make your objective clear: Ideally, having a title “Customer Service Feedback” should be able to explain the purpose of your client satisfaction survey to your members. That is, your objective need to made very clear. Your customer might not know that satisfaction survey is needed to bring change in your business but when you make your survey clear to them by including a small sentence that try to explain to them why you need their feedback, then they are going to give you responses that are meaningful. Some companies go as far as getting costs like voucher and lottery motivations that are unnecessary but forgetting that if their feedback survey is clear it is already a motivation for most people. If only you can show your customers that you have provided a platform for them to express their needs and desires, then they will give more thought to the response that they give to you. You know that people have similar characteristics and they want to understand the reason why they have to do certain things, so, making your survey objective to be very clear promises more significant results for your company.
Assess and track feedback over time: Having a huge bang of data without knowing what it means is as useless as not having any data. The data can be useful only when you can act on it. Due to the fact that your customer’s sentiment might change over time due to different conditions, it is always important to keep track of these changes over time. When you keep tracking these changes, you can quickly recognize when the attitude of customers change so that you will be able to manage any mistakes that comes with it. Monitoring these changes might sound like a lot of work but the success of the business highly depends on it as long as you will not stop the issue of customer feedback surveys.
Design a Customer Service Strategy
It is very crucial to think and plan a customer service strategy to the building of a strong service culture and the achievement of customer satisfaction. As a company, you need to add customer service into your company goal. The strategies here should be added in the employee goals in order to ensure that the company reaches it customer service objectives. It takes a great leader to help employees to understand the importance of a good customer service or experience. It is for this reason that it is advisable that every company should have a strategy to help create and strengthen the service culture of the company. Below are some steps a company can take to develop a customer service strategy in order to boost the customer satisfaction of the company. Generate a customer service vision:The first thing a company has to do in order to create a customer service strategy is to share the vision of the customer service to their employees. For you to achieve a good customer satisfaction, your employees need to know the vision and the company goals for customer service and understand what they need to do in order to attain the vision. A company that communicates the service vision for the customers to the employee and teaches different skills of customer service to employees stand a chance to have a good customer service than the company which does not border about employees training.
Hire the Correct Employees: Another way to have an overall customer service strategy that is good is by hiring the right employees. Having people screen when you are at the employing level of company to ensure the employees you select have the character and the skill set needed to help support a good customer service environment is really vital. This is important because you cannot teach attitude and personality but you can improve on someone skills.
Create a goal for customer service:
You can set a goal for achieving customer satisfaction after measuring customers’ satisfaction and after identifying the expectations and needs of the customers. You have to make your employees to have a clear picture of the company’s goals so that they can help in reaching it. Any time you set a goal and you cannot meet up with the goal, try to fix what went wrong.
Train employees on service skills:
If only you hired the correct people, they will serve your clients well. Nonetheless, you have to train your employees on the company’s approach to good customer service. In your training, you should tell the employees how the company will like them to behave in every circumstance and you should also train them on how to respond to a customer. You also have to let them know what you want them to do and have to serve the customers. Your employees should be told on how to respond and handle customers’ complaints. Finally, employees should be taught on how to meet customers’ needs, how to answer calls and your business standards for service.
Hold people responsible: Your employees must be aware that the services that they perform to the customer affect the overall performance of the company and they might be held responsible for everything they do. This form part of what is called the performance management system and you have to include it as part of your company’s cultural standard.
Identify and reward good service of employees: In the company, you should put in place a well designed system that identifies and rewards employees for their good customer service. Keep in mind that your employees need some positive support, so they should be rewarded whenever they demonstrate the required behaviors of a good customer service culture. The most important component to the success of a company is when the company has a good vision and customer service strategy. To be able to meet the customers’ needs, the company has to start by identifying their customers, their wants and develop strategies to help them. What separates successful businesses from others is the good customer service strategy that they have.
Evaluate Customer Needs:
Most companies fail and waste valuable time and resources producing something that they thought their customers will be needing, only to end up finding out that it was not an appropriate move. The cash here is that, after knowing what the customers want, put together a good plan on how you can meet their needs. As a company, you cannot meet the needs of your customers when you do not know their wants. The first step to solving this problem is by finding out from the customers about their perception concerning your products and services that you offer, their needs and expectations towards the company. You can assess the customers’ needs using feedback survey or by using other survey softwares that are available. Always know that your customers’ expectations and needs are a moving target. That is, the expectations and needs of your customers today will not be the same in a few years’ time; needs and expectations changes as things change.
It is very important that no matter the method you are using in measuring the level of customer satisfaction, you should measure the level of success. This is because a strategy that works now will always work in the future no matter whether the success comes in a slow manner.