Business owners want repeat customers. You want your customers to leave your business happy and satisfied with their purchase so that they come back again (and again) to buy what you’re selling. You want them to be so happy they leave positive reviews online and tell all their friends and family members about the excellent service they got in your establishment, further building your positive reputation and customer base.
Reputation matters. In our modern world of business, you are looking at multiple fronts to please your customers. You need to make them happy in the shop. You need to be sure they are satisfied with online orders. And you certainly want to keep them sated with your online branding and social media presence.
It’s a tall order, and sometimes businesses run amiss of their customers. The reviews on social media, Google, and websites like PissedConsumer point to some of the errors business owners make along the way. While it’s hard to be perfect, the negative reviews and complaints made online should certainly make you want to try.
The modern world of customer satisfaction
Online reviews share statistics immediately with would-be customers. Savvy business owners know this and focus on exceptional customer service. But what makes exceptional customer service? Looking through the customer reviews online, it’s easy to see what customers are looking for.
If you are looking for happy customers, start by focusing on these key aspects of your customer service experience.
The keys to happy customers
In a modern, service-oriented business, customer satisfaction reigns supreme. Are you looking to enhance the customer experience in your company? Consider a few new strategies.
One of the biggest keys to customer success is to create a customised customer experience. Consumers may know that they are one of the thousands, or even millions, of people buying products and services from you, but they don’t want to feel that way.
Customising experiences can be as simple as greeting customers by name when they call in with questions or concerns. You can use software to create personalised suggestions through email or in their online accounts.
The more you allow customers to tailor their experiences with your company, the more welcomed they will feel. Your shop isn’t a one-size-fits-all sort of establishment, so show your customers how much they mean to you by giving them some choices and a bit of respect in the buying and customer service process.
Customers want to have conversations with companies about questions, issues, and concerns. There are many ways to create pathways for conversation within your customer support, but one of the easiest may be through social media accounts.
Social media accounts interact with the public by their nature. You can create an even stronger presence by monitoring your accounts and interacting with comments and questions that show up on the page. Some companies go so far as to send company representatives into associated online communities to be the voice of the company in that space.
Consider how powerful it might be if you sell a particular type of boat and you are also a very active member of several different boating groups on Facebook or you post frequently on Reddit or Quora. Those with questions will gravitate to the source of the knowledge, which may very well be your company representative.
Multiple contact channels
Speaking of communication, it’s important to establish multiple communication channels to make all your customers comfortable in the feedback and communication process. Some of your customers will prefer to make a phone call.
Many others, however, dislike speaking on the phone and might prefer a chat feature or even private messages through social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Having multiple options available, like email, live-chat, phones, and social media for contacting your company will reach consumers where they are and let them easily reach out with concerns.
Being accessible to customers in multiple points of contact is all well and good, of course, if you are actively manning those options. That doesn’t mean you have to be online twenty-four hours a day but try to expand your contact options into evening and weekend hours to accommodate schedules.
And when you say you’re manning the phones and chat lines, have them manned. Nothing makes a customer angrier than sitting on hold for a long stretch of time after being told you are ready and waiting to take their call.
Solicit customer feedback
We all know how scary online reviews can be for a business owner. If something goes wrong, it can go very, very wrong and in a very, very public way. But while a negative review can be frustrating, it can also be hugely educational.
Companies often ask clients to submit positive reviews online, but we should also be open to getting information from customers that may not be all thumbs up. Give customers a chance to share their concerns in a way that is comfortable for them and in a manner that indicates you’re going to do something about it.
A follow-up email is a good start. A phone call from a service manager might be a great option to answer any new questions that the customer might have and a chance to solicit useful feedback for future sales. At the very least, go online and read the reviews and comments that customers are having about your service and products.
Customers track and notice when companies pay attention to their feedback. If customers are commiserating about an issue with your products online, interact with those customers in the forum or social media platform.
Solicit feedback publicly. Gather information and make changes. You can even have the unhappy customers beta test the new design and update their reviews based on your improved performance. Two-way communication and personalised experiences, right?
Create a friendly brand
Finally, your brand is still everything online. Every interaction you make with the public is another opportunity to create your brand, and the brand you likely want is one that is open and friendly with customers.
A friendly brand doesn’t get offended when customers offer tips to improve the next version of your merchandise. It engages in conversations with customers in the public’s eye and participates and fun online activities like making videos or making witty banter with other companies.
Consumers feel secure engaging with a friendly brand, and they don’t need to feel anxious about how they will be treated if there is a problem. When you’ve created a strong brand based on openness, friendliness and trust, it’s not just a brand for customers, it’s the basis of a strong customer-business relationship.
In a modern world of customer service, the line between business and customer is often blurred. Our customers are our best sources of feedback and information about what we are creating and how well it works.
Consumers want to be part of your business model and they enjoy contributing meaningfully to your product brand and decisions. Encourage this by being open to customers, treating them like friends or family, and creating as many avenues for quality feedback as possible. Your customers will respond in kind.