Jerry Gregoire, CIO of Dell Computers was quoted as saying, “The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.”
In a business world where customer acquisition costs are sky-rocketing, small and medium businesses must focus on building a customer experience to increase customer satisfaction.
Here are nine game-changing ideas to help you on your way:
1. Treat your customers like they are your boss
Jeffery Gitomer speaks about how your customer is your paycheck. With no customers, there’s nobody to pay you! By taking this approach to every customer interaction you can naturally flip the angle on customer service.
Picture yourself as the boss… if your employee treated every customer the way they treated you, how good would the service be!
Here are some of the approaches I recommend businesses use:
- Thank all your customers for their business
- Go out your way to help customers
- Try to impress your customers as if you want a pay raise
- Think about your paycheck every time you talk to a customer
- Keep your promises and integrity
Read more: 5 ways to treat customers like the boss
2. Focus on measuring customer satisfaction
Did you know that 91% of your unhappy customers will never purchase services from you again? Measuring customer satisfaction can help you reduce the number of unhappy customers.
So how do you measure customer satisfaction?
- Use one of these four Online Survey Tools
- Focus on these Customer Satisfaction Metrics
- Use customer support tools with ticket systems (Zendesk, Desk.com or Helpscout)
Read more: 3 ways to measure customer satisfaction
3. Build customer loyalty to increase customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.
– Jeffrey Gitomer
Jeffery talks strongly about customer loyalty and it’s relationship with customer satisfaction in his book, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. He believes that businesses should be focuses their efforts on creating loyal customers, that sticky and not easily influenced by competitors.
I agree with Jeffery and have included my five favorite ways to build customer loyalty to increase customer satisfaction:
- Remember special occasions like birthdays
- Strive to empower and educate customers
- Invest in a self-service support channel
- Top level managers must lead from the front with customer service
- Talk to your customers, tap into what they want and deliver
Read more: 18 ways to build customer loyalty
4. Avoid making these customer retention mistakes
No business is immune to unhappy customers. In fact, even companies with the best customer service in the world will still lose up to 9% of their customers to competitors.
The good news is you can do something to stop customers defecting. Here are three common customer retention mistakes that are killing your customer satisfaction:
- You are ignoring customer feedback
- You are taking customer feedback to personally
- You are using long, boring customer feedback surveys
5. Set customer expectations early
Setting expectations too high is a common mistake a lot of businesses (and salespeople) make when bringing on new business. How many times has your sales guy made ridiculous promises to push a deal over the line?
If you’re like most businesses, you’ve probably had the odd wild over promising salesperson.
For those who still have these wild ones, my advice – get them in line! They are killing your customer satisfaction by setting expectations too high!
Gordon Tan, Director of Client Heartbeat, recommends under promising and over delivering.
There’s no better feeling than as a customer to have your expectations exceeded.
Read more: How to set and meet customer expectations
6. Learn how to survey your customers the right way
A customer feedback survey is the best way to find out how satisfied your customers are, find ways to improve your product or service, and identify customer advocates who really love your product.
Gregory Ciotti, Marketing Strategist at Help Scout recommends using a customer feedback survey that asks participants to rank (1-10) how likely they are to recommend you. I agree with Gregory and also recommend keeping your survey to under 10 questions. A quick and relevant survey will help increase survey response rates.
7. Email is the best channel to increase customer satisfaction
59% of B2B marketers believe email marketing is still the most effective channel in generating revenue.
If it’s so good for marketers, why don’t we use it more to increase customer satisfaction?
That’s a good question, and I want to touch on three quick practical examples of companies who are using email to increase customer satisfaction.
- Mixpanel uses email to stay in contact with customers by sending through follow up emails with links to resources, webinars and support sites.
- Proflowers uses email to send personalized special offers to specific groups of customers.
- R&G Technologies uses email to send customer feedback surveys and track customer satisfaction.
8. Tap into social media to track and monitor customer satisfaction so you can keep your customers happy
It costs a company $234 every time they lose a customer. Can you afford to not be monitoring and tracking customer satisfaction?
With your customers now using their mobile phones up to 150 times per day, it’s important to recognize that they will turn to social media to leave their customer complaints.
Your job is to make sure you use social media monitoring tools to keep track of positive and negative feedback, and resolve them accordingly.
In fact, social media provides a great opportunity to actually increase customer satisfaction.
Here’s how you can do just that:
- Use social media to monitor brand mentions and sentiment
- Use social media as a customer support channel
- Use social media to hold Q&A sessions with customers
9. Stats don’t lie, understand the importance of customer satisfaction
If my first eight ideas weren’t already enough, it’s worth reading about why I think customer service is the new marketing.
Here are three mind-blowing facts that should motivate you to start focusing on increasing customer satisfaction.
- According to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%.
- Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
- Lee Resource Inc. found that attracting new customers will cost your company five times more than keeping an existing customer.
Increase customer satisfaction by focusing on the customer experience
The customer experience is where business is won and lost. Whether it be through email, social media, customer surveys or good old face to face, as a business in 2014, you need to focus the on customer experience.
Remember, in a reality where your customers pay your paychecks, to increase customer satisfaction – you must treat customers as if they were your boss.
Interested to learn more? I recommend these blog posts: