This is a guest post from Sam Makad, an experienced writer and marketing consultant. His expertise lies in marketing and advertising. He helps small and medium enterprises to grow their business and overall ROI.
When it comes to success in a crowded, competitive technology landscape, businesses are developing a customer-centric mindset and customer satisfaction is no longer a rarity. You must strike the right chord in your customers.
According to a Gartner Survey, 89% of companies compete on the basis of customer experience. Consumers don’t just buy from businesses who offer the best products, but those who go the extra mile to make their experience delightful. The same product offered by multiple brands could meet a certain consumer need, but a bespoke customer experience from one brand may not be replicable by others.
The question is, how can you thrill your customers? Let's look at the four core tenets of providing remarkable customer service.
Your customers are already working hard enough. The last thing they need is complex processes and requirements. In fact, in a Customer Contact Council Study by Harvard Business Review, 75,000 consumers revealed that reducing their work in getting their problems solved was the most important factor that increased their loyalty.
You meet the basic standard of good customer service when you explain to customers how to resolve issues they are experiencing. Every business tries to attain this height in their customer interactions. But sometimes, after all the explanations, customers are still unable to make headway. Why? They don’t have the expertise that you have neither do they know the technicalities of your business as well as you do. This is one edge proactive businesses have over others. They take it upon themselves to resolve customer problems. For instance, take co-browsing, a method for accessing the customer’s web page on your own computer, and literally helping them do something. It goes beyond screen sharing and is a hands-on method for providing assistance.
Every business strives to stand out in their market. Consumers want the same thing too – they want to stand out from the crowd. Treat each of them as the main subject, and not an afterthought. When you walk into your favorite coffee shop, and an attendant offers you "the usual" without asking, it makes you feel known, doesn’t it?
A State of the Connected Customer Report found that 66% of customers would switch brands if they felt they were treated like a statistic and not an individual. The wave of digital technology has swept through different facets of our lives including business transactions. Consumers crave for personal attention. They want to have a relationship with brands that make the effort to know them, beyond a desire to make money from them.
Getting to know thousands of customers personally may not be feasible solely by human efforts. There’s only so much the human brain can remember. Businesses are leveraging artificial intelligence technologies like chatbots to build personal relationships with their customers. This is visible in the personalized services they offer. Bots collect customers’ online history and make use of the information in subsequent transactions. From the records, they streamline information presented to customers, ensuring that only suitable items get to them. With this deliberate action, the customer no longer feels like a stranger, but one who’s understood by the brand in question.
No one likes to be kept waiting. The waiting gets longer when you are in distress. Customers hardly call to tell businesses about the positive time they are having using their product. When they are calling or texting, be rest assured that something is amiss. And the faster the issue is resolved, the better.
A HubSpot Survey found that consumers demand a timely response. 90% of them expected an immediate response to their customer service inquiries. Customers are accustomed to the spontaneity digital technology avails, and they expect no less in their interactions with businesses. In other words, they expect you to leverage the many technologies available; failure to do this makes you incompetent.
Speed is a major determinant of consumer loyalty. Businesses are focused on acquiring new customers without properly nurturing the existing ones. As their customer-base increases, they find it hard to cater to their customers, making previously hidden lapses visible. Elizabeth Yin, cofounder of LaunchBit recounted how they were able to retain their customers by stepping up their service delivery speed. As their business began to pickup, they were overwhelmed by the number of inquiries they were receiving. They sort help by leveraging customer service tools to cater to their customers.
The place of good quality in business is valuable. But according to a Customer Experience Survey, consumers rank a timely response higher than efficiency. If you are going to take all day to resolve their concerns, they’d rather check somewhere else where they’ll get a faster response. They get what they want in both cases, but the latter places more value on their time.
How do you feel when you are appreciated? Your customers feel the same way too when you appreciate them. With a continuous determination to generate leads and increase sales, organizations are often focused on acquiring new customers, neglecting the ones they already have.
Harvard Business Review reports that acquiring a new customer is between five to twenty-five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. And with returning customers spending 67 times more than first-time customers, it’s prudent to appreciate your current customers.
Say “thank you” to your customers for every effort made. Action speaks louder than words. Don’t stop at saying it; show them that you mean it by going the extra mile to make them comfortable. Give them good discounts. Offer referral bonuses. Give them first access to your latest products.
Happy customers are the biggest ambassadors any company can have. They spread the word about your business willingly without any incentives. According to a Nielsen Study, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family. With this in place, you don’t need to spend so much money on advertising to be successful.
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