By Sujan Patel, Inc.
Happy customers are something that no business should ever take for granted, yet few companies make this metric a priority. If you want great business results in 2015, you can’t focus on things like revenue and conversion rates alone — you need to be proactive about keeping your customers happy. Here are seven ways to do it:
1. Learn How to Measure Customer Satisfaction
You can’t improve something you can’t measure, so your first step should be learning to measure customer satisfaction. There are several ways to understand how customers feel about your company and service. For example, you could implement a telephone survey at the end of every service call, monitor online feedback or create a Web-based customer satisfaction survey to send to all of your clients. Keep in mind, though, that only those with strong opinions will take the time to answer, so you’ll want to account for potential bias in the responses you receive.
2. Be the Expert
Your customers need your help — that’s why they hired you or purchased your product. So take the time to position yourself as the expert in your chosen field. This does NOT mean spending all your time telling customers how amazing you are — it means honestly educating and empowering your customers to understand your industry in a new way. If you come across as an expert they can trust, your customers will be thrilled to work with you.
3. Use Live Chat to Offer Excellent Customer Support
Customers hate phone trees. It’s a fact of business, and offering an alternate way to contact you can make a big difference in the level of customer happiness you see in 2015. One of the best ways to offer real-time customer support is to offer online chat straight from your website. This allows a customer to bypass all the button pushing and get directly to an agent who can help them. If you don't already offer live chat, put it on your agenda for 2015.
4. Make Sure Your Entire Team is Managing Customer Satisfaction
It’s a mistake to think that only the customer service department impacts customer happiness. Everyone on your team — from the accounting department to HR to sales — plays a role in making sure the customers are happy. Remind your staff of this frequently, and make sure all of them understand their role in boosting customer satisfaction in 2015.
5. Keep Employees Engaged
Keeping your employees engaged and inspired is the only way you can count on them to do the same for your customers. A recent Gallup study demonstrated that workgroups with higher levels of employee engagement had a higher number of highly satisfied and loyal customers. In the federal agency studied, this equated to $1 million in additional revenue. Never forget that your team is the heartbeat of your organization — and if they aren’t happy, they won’t give great service to your customers.
6. Build Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Around Customer Satisfaction
One way to keep your team focused on your mission to make customers happy is to tie their goals to it in a tangible way. This can be done with “a stick” — that is, with punishment for poor results. However, you may find that your employees respond better to “a carrot,” or a reward for meeting a customer satisfaction goal. Whether it’s a financial bonus, a special parking place or some other treat, find a way to reward employees who have excellent customer satisfaction results. Doing so will encourage others to strive for greatness as well.
7. Follow Up on Customer Satisfaction Measures Often
If you identify issues from your customer calls, satisfaction surveys or online reviews that you want to address, take the time to follow up and make sure that customers are satisfied with the changes you’ve implemented as a result. Measuring and responding to the key drivers of customer satisfaction is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
If you want to boost customer happiness in 2015, you’ll have to take purposeful action. Determine how you want to measure customer satisfaction, be the expert, offer live chat, get your team on board and keep them engaged and accountable. In the end, remember that the pursuit of customer satisfaction is a process. As long as you implement a plan and stay the course, you should see consistent improvements in your brand’s reputation.