We live in a digital age. The tools that we have at our disposal – from interactive software that can answer phone calls, to email newsletters and websites that can answer the vast majority of questions a customer might have – have made customer service quicker, easier, and fundamentally cheaper for almost all businesses. But this scale has brought traditional resource-based problems, seeing situations such as a customer spending hours on the phone for the next available operator.  So how can your business keep customers satisfied but also keep an eye on that all important bottom line? Let’s find out.

There are a million little ways of delighting your customer, but there are a number of key areas that you should strive to always make sure you’re covering in order to run a healthy business with repeat customers.

Managing expectations

A new salesman will fall into the same trap every time – over-promising to the client and leaving them unsatisfied. If that same salesman had been more conservative with his promises, and then exceeded them, he would have had a satisfied customer and a repeat client. In essence: don’t tell your customer or client that you can do more than you can!

There is of course a fine balance to be struck between aiming too low, and not living up to your own standards of performance, and aiming too high and leaving the customer with sky high expectations that you simply can’t meet. The ideal situation is to under-promise and over-deliver: a customer is never happier than when they get more than they expected to begin with.

Using feedback as a tool for growth

Customer satisfaction is impossible to ascertain without asking! Make sure you have a process in place to regularly find out how your business is performing. Automated customer surveys are ideal, as they remove the need for you to manually get in contact with people. But if that’s currently beyond your reach, consider emailing 10 customers a month to ask them about their experiences – you can often learn a lot about everything from your website to future product ideas.

If you do find that there are customers that are unsatisfied, don’t take complaints or feedback personally. Think of customers as people – not just customers. Dehumanizing customers and not dealing correctly with reviews doesn’t help them or you, particularly if it leads to you ignoring reviews altogether.  Salespeople recognize this as objection handling – the customer (or for salespeople, the lead) is outright telling you what you need to do or say in order to make them happy! So take their criticism or advice on board and do everything you can to make things better for them. Not only could this help retain that unhappy customer (or convince that stubborn lead), but it also creates a great customer-oriented image of your business that potential buyers love.

Listening to the Voice of the Customer

We spoke last week about the importance of listening to the Voice of the Customer. Let the customer speak, hear what they have to say, and offer what you can as a solution. A customer who doesn’t feel heard will leave the vast majority of the time. This also reiterates that listening is also just as important as finding the solution – no one wants to feel like they’ve been rushed off the phone without their needs being met.

Keeping long term customers happy

It’s an often cited statistic that it costs between 4 and 10 times the amount to recruit a new customer than it does to retain an old one, and yet many businesses still don’t appreciate the value in keeping long term customers satisfied.  Not only are these the customers who pay you on a repeat basis,  they bring business in to you through the power of word of mouth.  It’s important to not only survey new customers on their experience – it’s just as, if not more, relevant to ask your long term customers how they are feeling.

It’s not unusual for growth to see a fall in product standards and service quality.  One of the main ways of ensuring that doesn’t happen is to make sure there really are enough staff and not keep them spread too thin – this can mean more money spent on staff, but this money is made back by customer retention, meaning the books do balance!

 

If you’re at the beginning of your customer satisfaction journey, check out our blog for some more tips on how to make sure you’re maximizing your customers’ satisfaction.