With all the ways to automate and scale your business, many business owners forget about customer satisfaction. It’s easy to build up a following with multiple companies that giving personalized service to each customer becomes an afterthought. Don’t make that mistake.
This article is my attempt to inspire you to see why you must focus on customer satisfaction first and foremost. In many ways, it’s more important than the product, despite the product being extremely important.
What I mean is in whatever place your business is, customer service is what will catapult your business to the next level. The reason is your clients will sell your product or service better than you can, no matter how greasy you make your sales pitch. They will go out of their way to write great reviews on Google My Business, or gladly get on the phone to swoon one of your prospects for you if you set the stage in the beginning as THE customer satisfaction guru.
The keys in the article are for you to implement immediately. Don’t waste time thinking about it, and remember customer satisfaction is about your effort. Nothing more, and enjoy it!
Social Media Engagement
The first place you should start to engage with your customers is on social media. It’s free and generally, your customers are already there. If they are reaching out to you, you should promptly respond and give thoughtful and actionable answers.
You should have a department that focuses solely on online public representation, i.e. your brand authenticity. Your online brand is everything these days, and if you take it for granted you’ll struggle to scale your business and survive on and offline if you don’t take care of how the “little man” thinks of your product and organization.
Just because your product is cool doesn’t mean you have a great company. Your customers could love your product but bash your sales reps on Yelp or slam your image with YouTube videos. These things and anything like this is terrible for your image. Be careful to not allow yourself to be the victim and nip these instances in the bud by taking action and rectifying negative press non-confrontationally.
Usually, unhappy customers will give you the opportunity to make, whatever their grievance is, right. They will comment on your forums, call your customer service line, or email you. The only way you can screw it up is to not monitor these channels and not take action. Your company should have a place for grievances. If your customers are getting on social media to find out answers to their issues, you know that you’re doing something wrong.
Google My Business
These days, Google My Business is essential for all businesses. It emulates a modern social media site but it functionally lacks feature-wise. However, given that Google controls the search-side of the internet, creating and maintaining this piece of your business is essential for customer satisfaction.
Google reminds you every 7 days to post content and a link to your website. Being consistent with Google is essential for your brand identity.
The most important part of Google My Business is the immediate access you get when a customer makes a comment about your business. If that’s the case, customer satisfaction mandates you to take action quickly. Google My Business makes is easily done on your phone, so one person can manage this.
When Should You Allow or Turn Off Comments?
Turning off the comments is the easy way to manage customer satisfaction, but it won’t allow you to learn about your audience and actually show the transparency that good companies do. I’m going to stress the importance of being transparent about who you are and what you’re all about to customers.
Telling them exactly what the truth is about your company and your products should do two things: 1. It puts pressure on your leaders to create the best product possible. 2. It gives your customers more trust in your organization.
The second one is the most important because a trusted staff makes everything easier. If your customers know that everything you create has the highest standard they will definitely pay top dollar and be more flexible when customer service issues arise.
Honest Case Studies
Before your customers enter the sales cycle, it’s estimated they will view 4-5 pieces of content. They do this to learn, of course, but they want to know how it feels to be a part of your organization.
They want to know if you’re trustworthy, and how easy it is to work with you. A difficult sales cycle or a glitchy website is one of the best ways to alienate potential buyers and ruin your online business. According to Salesforce, “74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult.”
This is why presenting a variety of content, like blogs, case studies, and video testimonials is a must for nearly every business. If you can add referral calls to the mix, you’re almost guaranteed a boost in business.
Customer service is such a deciding factor for most customers in today’s era. In fact, an article by Replyco, states that 90% or more of consumers use customer service to determine whether to do business with a company or not.
The bottom line is your customers are in search of a perfect “sniff test.” That means they want to know if there is anything fishy, or something that will dissuade their trust in your company.
Who Should Handle Customer Satisfaction?
Hiring a staff of dedicated individuals that make customer satisfaction their personal responsibility is a must. This may take time to find the right mixture of team members, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
Great organizations always have a team of customer service agents that clients can’t help but rave about. If you’re hearing customer praises regularly, you should know that you have a great staff, however, this could be an indication that your product is having major problems. Remember, the better the product, the less need there is for customer service.
If you do decide to outsource your customer satisfaction services to an international virtual assistant, then you should be very wary and watchful in the beginning.
International virtual assistance is not for every online business. You should have a good idea of who your customers are and how they respond to product issues before you risk keeping your customer service department away from home.
Start simple and small at first. Use a tight-knit customer service team that is dedicated to perfection, and then outsource after you’ve developed an appropriate training program that is repeatable overseas.
Do you remember the blunders of Dell, when they outsourced all of their customer service to India? They suffered a massive backlash for years from this customer satisfaction blunder. It’s not that there is anything wrong with India’s customer service. The problem was it shocked their customer base and wasn’t handled properly from the top down.
Last but not least are surveys. These are some of the most powerful tools when it comes to customer satisfaction. After each purchase or at least the first purchase, you should ask your customers if they would fill out a brief survey.
In the beginning, I recommend offering a set of questions to get them writing. If they share their beliefs on your process, you’ll get fantastic feedback. If you ask multiple choice questions and not allow them to share their personal experience, you’ll miss out on the fruits of the survey.
In some cases, it’s not necessary to get a significant amount of detail, but just know, if you’re going to take some of their time you should make it worthwhile on your part.
After the client has made a few purchases, it would be a great idea to ask the client two simple questions. Was this experience better or worse than your other experiences, and what can we do to improve our process. One of those questions is multiple choice and the other gets them sharing their experience.
If you’re doing your due diligence, you can have your staff analyze the bad comments especially and have them look for patterns in the short answer responses to the second questions of the ones that think they had a worse experience this time.
The key is getting information that you can work with.
Rule of Thumb with Customer Satisfaction
If you learn anything from the article, the one thing I hope you ascertain is the importance of treating all your customers with the highest level of respect. If you prioritize your customers based on how much they contribute to your business, you’ll suffer their wrath on Yelp, social media, and Google My Business. A new business needs to keep “its nose clean.”
Focus on making each customer a priority and try your very best to anticipate what your client needs before they need it. Playing catch-up will hurt your ability to handle large problems when they come up.
You need to find employees that are dedicated to customer satisfaction. Look for backgrounds in the service industry, like Country Clubs, high-end restaurants, and hotels. These employees usually go through rigorous training in customer service and are very professional in-person and over-the-phone.
Quality customer service people appreciate their jobs and actively look for solutions. They are selfless and team-oriented too. These qualities are a must, especially when the going gets tough, and it will get tough.
For more information on managing customer satisfaction for your online business read what you should not do with AI marketing. Abusing this amazing tool will kill your customer service scores. Stay vigilant when implementing any kind of customer service program that gets away from face-to-face customer service.