It’s easy to assume that your customers are well taken care of and content with their experience using your product. It can be hard to take a good, long look at your customer service strategy to find out the truth: is your company really as customer-centric as you believe?
It’s never fun to face harsh realities, but if customer satisfaction isn’t a priority, bad things can happen. Really ugly things: according to Bain & Company, a customer is four times more likely to ditch you for a competitor if the issue is service related rather than product related. Worried your customers are leaving because of your pricing? Not likely. The Accenture Global Customer Satisfaction Report stated that “customer churn” is not affected by price, but rather poor customer service.
Considering your customers’ overall satisfaction is a step in the right direction, but where do you start in being customer-centric? We’ve put together a list of five questions to help you assess where your service stands on the scale of ‘I’m Outta Here’ to ‘This Company Is My Fave.’
1: Are the customers being taken care of in a timely manner?
Timeliness is key when it comes to creating a happy customer base. In the digital age, it’s easy for emails or voicemails to get lost in the shuffle. Sadly, a lot of customers don’t expect they will hear back from a business. Taking the time to interact with your customers as quickly as possible just shows how important they are to your business. Need some help choosing guidelines? Check out this article on creating a customer response time standard for your entire organization.
2: Do we allow our customers to choose their preferences for communication with us?
In the old days, you could call someone on their home phone to get in touch. Now, people are more mobile and most don’t even have a landline anymore. It’s imperative that you capture your customers’ preferences for being contacted. Do they want email only? Text messages? Web chats? Calls directly to their cell phone? Do they want to Facetime with you? There are so many options. Use customer surveys or send an email to all of your customers that includes a form with communication options. Know how your customers want to hear from you to optimize your connection to them.
3: Are we taking the time to make the customer feel special or appreciated?
It’s never good when a customer feels as if the hard-earned dollars they chose to spend on a service were all for naught. Are you taking the time to make your customers feel appreciated? Customer loyalty programs are a great start. For example, you could use an app that tracks every time a customer checks in on social media to your business and those customers can build up points toward discounts. Here are some additional ideas for getting started with a customer loyalty program. You can also go so far as to create handwritten thank you cards or even personalized emails. Shout it from the rooftops with posts to social media. You can even do customer highlights on your blog. The small things add up, especially when it comes to customer appreciation.
4: Are they telling their friends and family about us? If so, is it good?
Your marketing department does a great deal to generate and retain your customers, but are those customers talking to their friends about you? If your answer is no, it’s time to do a thorough evaluation of the entire customer life cycle. Word of mouth marketing costs you pennies compared to a giant ad campaign and can be easily measured using the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Need some tips for measuring offline and online word of mouth marketing? Check out this post on Entrepreneur.com.
5: Are we exceeding our customers’ expectations?
Keeping your customers content is one thing. It’s another thing altogether when you exceed their expectations. How is that done? Make your services as personal as possible. Go a step further than your competition to deliver the best service. Anything that makes the overall experience for the customer easy and pleasant is a win. Want some more tips? Check out this post from HubSpot.
To ensure that your business is customer-centric, you have to ask yourself some difficult questions and take a hard look at the service you provide. There are plenty of companies that glaze over the issue and assume that customer disenchantment has more to do with the customer than the company’s service.
Don’t be one of those companies. Be proactive in your customers’ happiness; it’s good karma. It’s also really good for your bottom line. How do you decide if you’re customer-centric or not?