Raving fans – create a marketing staff that will cost you nothing
With Coach Jeff Earlywine
Most companies say they believe in great customer service, but few set up a system to ensure that they provide it and achieve customer satisfaction (Raving Fans). Delivering great customer service takes both:
An understanding of what your customers want and
A way to see that they receive it.
It’s widely accepted that it is at least five times more profitable to sell to an existing customer than to find a new customer. More important, the difference between regular customers and Raving Fan customers can make a big difference in repeat business and your profits.
There are several ways to gather input from customers. The simplest way to find out how customers feel and what they want is to just ask them. If your customer base is small (less than 100) you can talk to each one personally. The advantage of this approach is that you’ll get a personal “feel” for each customer.
If your customer base is much larger then getting usable feedback is even harder. Customer surveys with “just a few” targeted survey questions will ensure that you will collect the same type information from everyone. Keep in mind that statistics tell us that very few of your customers will be interested in “filling out a questionnaire”. But by launching a customer survey as an attempt to find out “how we can serve you better” — your customers will be more open to responding because there is something in it for them. Offering them a financial or product incentive will also increase the numbers too.
Here are a few of the possible dimensions you could ask/measure:
Quality of service
Speed of service
Complaints or problems and the time to settle the issue
The closeness of the relationship with staff in your business
Types of other services needed
In a business world where customer acquisition costs are skyrocketing, small and medium businesses must focus on building a customer experience to increase customer satisfaction.
Here are five game-changing ideas to help you on your way:
Treat your customers like they are your boss. With no customers, there is nobody to pay you!
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.
Build customer loyalty to increase customer satisfaction. Here are five ways to do just that:
Remember special occasions like birthdays
Strive to empower and educate customers
Invest in a self-service process, but never forget to help them when they need it.
Top level managers must lead from the front with customer service
Constantly talk to your customers, tap into what they want and deliver
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.
Here are three common customer retention mistakes that could be killing your customer retention:
Are you ignoring customer feedback?
Are you taking customer feedback to personally?
Are you using long and boring customer feedback surveys?
5. Set customer expectations early – under promise and over deliver. 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 staff made ridiculous promises to push a deal over the line? There is no better feeling to a customer than to have their expectations exceeded.
By getting your current customers to tell their friends, family and associates about your business is like getting a totally free sales staff. And all you have to do is keep servicing them with the steps above.