Are your customers satisfied with your company? Or are they very happy with your company? There is a difference here. Satisfied isn’t enough to hold on to them. They can easily switch if they notice problems with the product or service, or something better comes along.
The 2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey from Parature has found that 65 percent of the respondents stopped using a company’s products or services because of poor customer service experience. After receiving bad customer service experience, 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer [pdf] from Ebiquity has found that 95 percent of customers talk about it.
Here’s good news from the Ebiquity research: Three out of four customers say they’ve spent more with a company because of positive customer service experiences. And consumers are more likely to try a new company based on positive word of mouth from a friend or family member.
Not only does providing great customer service improve customer retention, but it also turns them into lifelong customers who will talk up your business whenever and wherever they can. Here are three simple ways to get you on that path.
1. Apply the under-promise, over-deliver (UPOD) method
In How to Turn Customers into Loyal, Raving Fans, Mike Michalowicz writes “… there’s actually a simple shortcut to knocking their socks off every single time — and it won’t cost you a dime. It’s the ‘under-promise, over-deliver’ (UPOD) method.” He explains why and how companies need to shoot for more than just having satisfied customers. Remember to solve their problems.
How can you put UPOD to work? Start by telling customers what to expect. Figure out when you can deliver your product or service without any problems. However, don’t give them that date. Add a few days to that number. And give them that one.
If you can deliver it on Monday, tell the customer to expect it on Friday. Things happen and you need breathing room for the unexpected. Better to be on time than late. Come Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, your customer will be surprised to hear the order is ready. To use UPOD, all you need to do is create a solid promise you can fulfill.
2. Send survey to clients
No news is not good news. John Goodman, author of Strategic Customer Service, says 50 percent of customers don’t complain and 25 percent of B2B clients don’t complain. They just leave. You can do something about it.
Scott Stratten, author of Unmarketing, suggests distributing a “Stop Start Continue” survey to see where you stand with your customers.
He recommends the following three questions:
- What should we stop doing?
- What should we start doing?
- What do you think we should continue doing to ensure we not only meet but exceed your expectations?
The nice thing about these open-ended questions is flexibility. Clients can write as much or as little as they want. You’re not asking them questions that would take a long time to answer, but you get more information than a yes / no question would provide.
The survey questions also open dialogue between you and your clients. You’ll follow up with them after they respond … ASAP. Simply acknowledge them by thanking them for responding. Then, after you’ve had a chance to analyze their responses, follow up again to discuss their responses.
If you don’t yet have an answer to a problem, don’t wait to update the client. Let the client know you’re working on it and will provide updates when you’ve made progress.
3. Review business priorities
Marketing, chasing payments, bookkeeping, and your core business tasks fill your entire day and then some. Doing a survey and following up with clients feels like you’re adding on to an already overflowing plate. However, these can help prevent losing customers.
Imagine how much more marketing you’ll need to do if you start losing customers. It’s easier and cheaper to retain current clients and keep them as happy as possible. On top of that, your current clients are your best advertisement. Still not convinced? Have you figured out how much your customer is worth?
Based on these facts, is it worth finding 30 to 60 minutes per week to check in with your clients? Have you considered outsourcing tasks that aren’t core to your business? What about delegating some of your tasks to others and, at the same time, empowering them?
What other ways can you free up more time to spend more time with clients?
Every minute you spend with clients brings you a step closer to turning them into loyal fans.
Image source: Jon Candy