Customer satisfaction is the measurement of how happy your customers are. Improving customer satisfaction will help you increase revenue, reduce churn, boost customer lifespan and create more advocates.
In this post, I’m going to take you through six tactics we used at Client Heartbeat to improve customer satisfaction. These tactics helped create amazing customer experiences which have formed an integral part of our success.
Before getting stuck into the tactics, here are a couple popular blog posts that you might be interested in:
- Increase customer satisfaction (9 strategies)
- Measuring Customer Satisfaction in 3 easy steps
- An introduction to customer satisfaction surveys
- 8 customer satisfaction tools compared and reviewed
Now, let’s take a look at the actionable strategies Client Heartbeat has used to improve customer satisfaction.
1. Hold employees accountable for customer satisfaction
This is something we do particularly well at Client Heartbeat. It involves breaking customer satisfaction into categories and assigning team members to be responsible for each category.
For example, we break our customer satisfaction survey up into four questions: Value, Design, Support and Education. Each team member is responsible for an area, there’s obviously some overlap but you get the idea.
- Value – Gordon, he makes sure that we are delivering outstanding value to our customers.
- Design – Dave, he ensures that the user experience is second to none. Always working with customers to improve the experience, make it easier and simpler.
- Support – Dave & Raj handle support, they’re quick and love working with customers.
- Education – This is my reign; I’m responsible for educating customers on how they can improve satisfaction and retain more customers.
By making everyone accountable, we all know who needs to follow up with specific customers. If one customer gives us a rating of 5/10 for education, it’s my responsibility to follow up, understand why they gave us a subpar rating, and quickly resolve the problem. I then pass the feedback on to the whole team at the next company meeting so everyone is well informed of the problem and solution.
This is a great way to ‘close the loop’ on customer feedback. It helps to understand and improve customer satisfaction. By empowering employees to take ‘ownership’ of customer satisfaction, you encourage a culture that is focused on keeping customers happy.
It literally is second nature to us; we want to ensure customers are happy and constantly striving for high customer satisfaction.
2. Use live chat to offer superior customer support
Live chat is seriously under-rated. What other tool can your customers use and get instant support, whenever they want, all from the comfort of a keyboard.
My view is that live chat should be used as an extension of email. Instead of emailing back and forth during the day, jump on a live chat and get it sorted in 5-10 minutes.
I’ve found this to be particularly successful at Client Heartbeat. We use live chat during onboarding, which has been a particular sticking point as there is a lot that can cause our customers to get lost (think.. adding customers, editing CSV, integrating with CRM’s). There’s a lot of room for confusion.
By implementing live chat, we’re able to offer a very passive, friendly and instant customer experience that is not too pushy, but just helpful. Customers have been thoroughly impressed that we’re on chat at 7pm EST. One particular customer comes to mind.
Wow. late night? I wasn’t expecting anyone.
Now that’s a great example of exceeding customer expectations. We WOW’d him! Not only did we deliver an awesome experience via live chat, we also were able to get the customer signed up and activated on the spot.
How many of your customers drop off during the sign up or purchase phase? Imagine if you could proactively help them convert?
If you’re looking for a live chat tool, I recommend Olark.
3. Treat every customer encounter as a business referral opportunity
This is a tactic I’ve picked up from our director, Gordon Tan. He lives and breathes customer satisfaction and asks all his employees, across the three businesses he is involved in, to treat every customer encounter as a referral opportunity.
What he means by this is every time you call, meet, or email a customer, act as if you are going to ask for a referral at the end. What this does is change your mindset from just customer service, to trying to deliver a superior customer service experience, because you want to impress and ask for a referral.
We live by this at Client Heartbeat. Since we’re a small company, every customer is enormously valuable to us. Each customer represents an opportunity that we can impress and turn into a customer advocate.
Customer advocates are gold for any business, particularly new businesses. They help you build awareness about your product by telling friends and family about it.
4. Consistent and clear expectations
This involves being clear about what customers can expect from your product, and ensuring that these expectations are communicated consistently across all touch points. So whether its sales or customer support, your website or marketing brochure, the expectations are consistent and clear.
At Client Heartbeat we make sure that every new customer knows what to expect from using our service. Here’s some stuff they can expect:
- High survey participation of 60% or more
- More customer feedback then they were getting with traditional survey tools
- Superior customer support
- A simple and automated experience
- A tool that can identify ‘at risk’ customers, but it’s not actually going to stop them leaving, that’s where you come into it!
If we under deliver on any of these ‘promises’, we know our customers’ expectations won’t have been met. That’s why we work tirelessly to bring them back in line. For example, if a customer doesn’t receive response rates of over 60%, we reach out, provide ‘best practices docs’ and follow up to see why. We dig deeper and offer potential solutions to ensure there is nothing stopping them from getting high survey response rates.
Another example is around our ‘simple customer experience’. One of Client Heartbeat’s biggest selling points is the simplicity of the tool. If a customer is having trouble doing something, we are there to help, educate and ensure they can go from signup to activation. We also use these customer experiences to get new ideas for improving overall satisfaction, so all customers can benefit moving forward.
5. Leverage action based emails
We use action based emails to help educate customers on specific areas of interest to them. For example, if a customer is getting a lot of their clients saying they are ‘not satisfied’, we’ll actually trigger an email with some links to guides and blog posts that have strategies to improve satisfaction.
Same goes for customers that are getting lower than average survey response rates. Often times there is a reason for this, so we automate an email and link them to a guide on improving survey response rates
By sending emails that are based on specific actions, they become more meaningful and valuable. In our case, we are adding real value by sending extra educational material.
We didn’t have to setup that email trigger… but we know our customers will appreciate the education material and it will assist them to improve satisfaction. – Gordon Tan
If you need help with this one, please feel free to reach out to me via email.
6. Focus on WOW experiences
Wowing customers is an example of exceeding customer expectations. Companies that focus on the WOW, tend to have increased satisfaction and high customer retention rates. Zappos is the first company that comes to mind. Tony Hsieh leads from the front and strongly believes in creating amazing experiences that WOW the customer. This is embodied into Zappos company culture; every employee is empowered to WOW customers.
At Client Heartbeat we have a strong focus on getting to the WOW as quickly as possible. For us, being a SAAS (software as a service) app, it’s important to WOW customers during on-boarding, otherwise we run the risk of losing them forever.
How do we WOW our customers? We offer live support during on-boarding and literally hand hold interested customer’s right from signup to activation. Prior to offering this experience, we had high drop offs at step three (adding contacts). Our team identified this as an opportunity to bring back a personal touch, connect customers directly with us via live chat, and help them.
Some ‘tech people’ will frown at our approach because it’s brings the human element back into the signup. It has traditionally been thought that SAAS products need to automate, a/b test and optimize the onboarding with fancy buttons, changes in text and more. Unfortunately with this approach, you neglect the customer experience and miss out in an opportunity to WOW your customer with and personalized human touch.
This more personalized approach has helped Client Heartbeat not only increase customer satisfaction, but directly helped us increase signups and activation’s. It has also helped create happier customers who have turned into raving advocates.
What are you doing to WOW customers?
Improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue
Revenue is the driving factor for many small, medium and big businesses. Improving customer satisfaction will help you keep customers happy, stats don’t lie. Happy customers are retained customers with high customer lifetime values and the potential to becoming advocates that send business referrals. All this adds up to an increased bottom line and more revenue in your pocket.
More highly recommended blog posts to help you improve satisfaction: