There’s a good reason they call your business a start-up, and that’s usually because you’ve just started to accumulate the employees or customers you want. Everyone with a fledgling business wants it to grow, but getting bigger also means there’s more potential for problems with the customer service chain.
That’s why a robust customer service policy needs to be one of the foundations of any company. Striving for customer satisfaction starts when your enterprise is budding and should continue while it blooms.
Remember that you’re not going to succeed just because you’ve had a great idea, developed it, found a target market and started marketing to them. There’s lots of competition. The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) reports that around 540,000 new businesses get started every month. Seven out of ten of these firms survive for two years, half last for five years and only a quarter stay in business for fifteen years or more.
Here are a few customer service signposts you should visit on the road to success.
Make Things Personal – A happy customer feels connected
Think about the last time you met anyone more than once. If they passed by the second or third time without knowing your name, you felt that maybe they didn’t care to and there was no connection between you.
One of the first rules of business is making that connection with your customers, and it goes beyond just knowing their first and last name if you want a lasting relationship. Asking about their vacations, families and any new additions to their family helps to create a bond, so they are more open to buying what you have to sell.
That personal touch.
Although modern technology like email and texting makes it easy to get in touch with more customers over a wider swath of a target market, you want to maintain that personal touch. Finding the right balance helps and an online appointment calendar can often be just the right technology to build that bridge.
The people at Appointment-Plus have a product that allows customers to add themselves to waiting lists and even pay while booking appointments. They even offer your customers the ability to book through a tab on your website or social media page to give them a sense of power that builds on that personal connection.
There’s always things that you can do to help build up revenues although it might not seem like some of these suggestions have anything to do with profits. Find ways to make sure your customers never forget you. Here are a few ways to help your clients remember you:
- Let them know you’re working for them. There’s no better feeling than being fussed over and thought about, and a quick phone call or newsletter telling your clients about improvements and innovations at your end works wonders.
- Follow up. If you see someone at a business-related function, following up with a nice electronic or handwritten note keeps your company and services fresh in their mind.
- Special occasions. Showing your customers that you care is part of keeping them happy. These days, you can set reminders on your computer or phone to let you know when their anniversaries or birthdays are coming up.
- Gifts certificates. If you can tie these into your business, all the better. If not, writing to let them know you’d like to see them sometimes either online or in person adds a personal touch.
There’s a whole army of number crunchers out there intent on studying why and how customer satisfaction is good for business. Their fascination gives up some excellent insights. Consider:
- Almost 90% of customers will stop doing business with any company after they’ve experienced bad customer service.
- 45% of those same folks will click off a website where their concerns are not addressed quickly.
- 45% of SMBs that offer mobile or web-based services report an increase in site traffic and reduced phone queries. Industry leading appointment calendar sites like Appointment-Plus even offer a drop and drag functionality for quick appointment changes.
Make customer satisfaction a team effort!
Teaching your staff some simple phrases and corresponding attitudes can make a big difference when it comes to excellent customer support. There is no doubt that most of the people who work for you will want to make sure your customers leave satisfied, but with a bit of training you can put together an efficient uniformed approach.
Teaching your staff some of the following phrases will pay off handsomely:
- “I’m not sure, but I’ll find out.” Building trust between the client and your company is the first and most important step in making a sale. One of the quickest ways to ruin your credibility is to fumble around trying to answer a question you don’t know the answer to. Honesty is the best policy here.
- “ Let me keep you in the loop on that.” Whether your business is online or still a brick-and-mortar enterprise, scheduling is an important part of the operation. There is more than likely a few things that need to come together, like shipping and packaging in some situations. Keep your clients apprised of the situation; this tells them you respect their business.
- “Tomorrow means tomorrow.” Regardless of the business you’re in, delivering on time every time stands out and always increases your bottom line. If you’re committed to making sure your business is successful this important part of customer service means you’ll ignore holidays and everything else to make sure you hit deadlines.
More motivational numbers
Did you know there’s even research that says that it takes up to twelve positive experiences to make up for one negative experience? How about the fact that 55% of people polled for a Defaqto study said they would even pay more for an excellent customer experience?
All good reasons to keep reading and make sure you adopt some of the tools that we’re putting forth that make for a happy customer.
Some things need to be set in stone.
Your customer service policy
Have everything in writing. Being able to refer to this will make a big difference. If you’re the owner, the principles need to come from your desk. However, that doesn’t mean that every person on your roster shouldn’t have a say in what goes into the policy.
Customer complaints and comments
If you want your clients to become loyal, you should allow them to interact and feel like they have a say in the direction your product or service takes. Here’s a systematic way to put this information together by adding:
- Customer contact info
- Nature of comment or complaint
Creating surveys and focus groups is another way to get your clients involved in producing an efficient customer service policy. Developing the right kinds of questions is crucial. It’s worth your time to hire a professional survey group or at least research out the correct questions to ask online.
Social media can play a significant role too. Gathering information for an accurate customer service policy can come from having somebody monitor posts and tweets about your products and services.
How To Make Your Customers Happy With Your Knowledge
One of the most important things you can do to get and keep a happy customer is know everything you can about your goods and services. Credibility is one of the deciding factors that help to make any sale. The more customer questions you can answer with authority, the better for your bottom line.
Here are a few great ways to increase and maintain this all-important body of knowledge.
Starting from the bottom and working your way up is important when you are a start-up and looking to establish your brand value. Answering the basic questions and making sure everyone who works for you can do the same is essential.
- What purpose does your product or service cover for the customer? Identifying the need and filling that whole is a central part of making your customers satisfied so they will return.
- It’s best to make sure the benefits are highlighted. When everybody understands all of the advantages of your product and services, they will feel comfortable and confident interacting with customers.
- Understanding how customers can access what you make is important too. Everyone on staff should understand how the product is manufactured and delivered.
- Finally, everyone needs to know how much it costs and the conditions under which it can be used.
Keep in mind there is a difference between listing the features and stressing the benefits. Every client will want to know exactly how your product will make their life better. Highlighting the advantages gives customers at first-hand look at what your goods can do for them.
Let’s recap everything that we’ve covered and all the different tools you can use to attain customer satisfaction.
Make them feel connected with modern technology and other tools
Learning your customer’s first and last names is always a great starting point. Finding out their hobbies and interests will help to cement a relationship. Don’t forget to make use of all the modern technology that’s available like an online appointment calendar (or online scheduling software or appointment software).
Appointment-Plus is one of the industry leaders in this space that offers several different plans to choose from. As far as making an environment for a happy customer, it’s very important that you adequately train your staff so that everybody is on the same page.
Everyone from the top down should understand how to deal with difficult situations and answer questions honestly and openly. This comes from having an excellent library of product knowledge.
Customer Satisfaction: It’s an ongoing effort!
In conclusion, having excellent customer satisfaction means that your start-up business will continue to grow. With a carefully planned out and executed customer service policy to act as a text for all of your employees and management staff, you’ll have an excellent foundation.
Statistics tell the story. A client is four times more likely to buy from your competitor if they have a problem with customer service. Consumers are twice as likely to tell others about a bad customer service experience over a positive one. It all points in the same direction if you are trying to make your customers happy.
The motivation for this important part of business needs to come from several directions at once. At heart is a desire for each and every person you employ to do their part. Clear communication skills and being able to listen to clients are important arrows that you need to have in the quiver.
The ability to use positive language and always be thinking about the benefits of your goods and services is essential. Time management skills are critical.
In a very real way, you’ll need to teach your staff they need to act to be effective when it comes to customer service. They’ll need to learn all of the catchphrases and attitudes that will help them steer people toward becoming loyal clientele.
Learning How To Make Your Customers Happy Pays Off
Whether you’re a brand-new start-up or have established yourself already, it pays to learn how to keep customers happy. Adaptability is one of the cornerstones of any success here. Customers are always changing, and you need to be flexible to meet their demands especially in the online world.
Learning to market yourself and your organization in an efficient manner will make all the difference to your bottom line. Remember the numbers don’t lie, and a full 70% of people who were recently polled by McKinsey say that customer service was one of the largest deciding factors in whether they made a purchase or not.