Quiz Yourself: Are You Up-to-Date with Evolving Customer Service Expectations?

Asking the right questions in a customer survey

Do you have a sneaking suspicion your business isn’t delivering on customer service expectations? Well, I hate to break it to you, but you might right. 

The fact is that most companies are out of sync with the people they intend to serve. Customer expectations have evolved incredibly quickly over the past two decades, and organizations have struggled to keep up. Many don’t even recognize that they need to keep up. 

Are you aware of how customer expectations have changed? Is your business doing everything it can to provide the best possible customer service? Take our true/false quiz to find out.

 

True or false: Most customers expect service within an hour. 

 

True. When reaching out to a business, over 80% of customers expect a response within an hour. Actually, most aren’t even willing to wait that long—75% of customers expect help within five minutes.

 

True or false: One bad experience is all it takes to lose a customer.

 

False. Although a significant number of people (26% to be exact) will switch to a competitor after a single bad experience with a business, most are willing to give the company another chance. That said, it doesn’t take much after that initial slip-up to lose a customer forever, as 92% of consumers will walk away after the third negative interaction, if not earlier.

 

True or false: Customers appreciate the convenience of automated technology.

 

False. For customers, artificial intelligence (AI) and other automated technologies don’t compare to human-to-human interactions. Gladly reports that despite advances in interactive voice response tech, “IVR remains a wildly unpopular choice amongst consumers, with 98% admitting they try to bypass companies IVR systems to get straight to a human service agent.” 

Chat-based AI doesn’t fare much better: two out of three consumers say chatbots are only “somewhat effective” or “not effective at all” in resolving their issues.

 

True or False: The phone call is dead.

 

False. Even in today’s digital-centric, omnichannel business environment, phone calls remain the dominant medium for customer service. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of people say they prefer to contact businesses by phone. Contrast that with the mere 24% who would rather fill out and submit an online form.

 

True or false: Customers will pay more for better service.

 

True. Believe it or not, satisfactory customer services are experiences are so rare that most people are willing to sacrifice upfront savings for them. Recent research by Salesforce reveals that 67% of customers will pay more for great customer service. That number is even higher (74%) among business-to-business customers.

 

True or false: Customers will tell you when they’re unhappy.

 

False. You can’t rely on customer feedback alone to measure your customer service performance. An estimated 91% of people who are unhappy with a company’s customer service will simply stop doing business with the company without ever raising a complaint. 

These customers aren’t entirely silent, however. According to a White House Office of Consumer Affairs report, “dissatisfied customers typically tell 9 to 15 other people about their experience; some tell 20 or more.”

 

How did you do? However many of these facts are new to you, one thing should be clear: customer expectations have grown and, in many senses, they’re higher than ever. Today’s customers demand speed, responsiveness, and personalized service. If they don’t get the experience they’re looking for from your company, they’ll go elsewhere—and likely take their friends, family, and colleagues with them.

This isn’t necessarily an unfavorable development for businesses. Higher expectations are a force for good. Deliver on these demands and you’ll cultivate an exceptional reputation, a loyal audience, and extraordinary word of mouth. 

We’re talking about creating genuine, longer-lasting connections with your customers—but you have to do things right.

 

Find 5 essential tips in our recent article for Hyken.com, “Connect With Your Customers & Watch Your Business Grow.”

Connect With Your Customers and Watch Your Business Grow

Are you looking for ways to grow your business and stand out from the crowd? Read this article by Ruby’s CMO, Molly Moore, on Shep Hyken’s Customer Service blog to learn about the immediate opportunities simply answering your phone and having online chat on your website can bring. These actions alone can help differentiate your brand in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Get the full story here!

Customer Engagement: Funnels & The Flywheel

Getting new customers in the door may be a top priority for your company, perhaps the top. Concern about how you will keep your phones ringing and sales pipeline full might just be the bumps that keep you up at night.

You certainly wouldn’t be the first or last business owner to worry about profit margins. But, does a sales-centered approach to growth always ensure success?

Maybe at first.

While acquiring a new customer feels great and is undeniably good for business, a narrow focus on customer acquisition can leave your buyers feeling undervalued or disenchanted with your service post-sale. And if they aren’t getting the attention they need after that initial buy, what would keep them coming back to you when your competitors are also opening doors, rolling out red carpets, and making some pretty sweet promises?

Here’s a hint: There is no finish line when it comes to customer satisfaction.

A Lifetime Value

Sure, landing a new client is an accomplishment. Perhaps a checkpoint of sorts, but it should never mark the end of your desire to woo them. Once you’ve done the hard work of winning their business, it’s time to focus on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

CLV is a calculation of how much revenue you can gain from just one loyal, returning customer over time. In some cases, you may have a specific product that a customer purchases monthly for the duration of their time in a certain age demographic.

So what’s the key to a “lifetime” customer? Simple. It’s an ongoing, unwavering commitment to nurturing an impeccable relationship, at every touch point.

A Farewell to the Funnel

You are probably familiar with the “sales funnel” concept. First, your customer finds you through an article or some form of marketing collateral, then they visit your office or contact you via the phone or your website, and the interaction results in a sale.

Voila, a marketing job well-done.

Where many companies miss the mark is leaving the relationship there. The customer journey is less of a funnel and more of a flywheel, according to a recent article in HubSpot. Writer Jon Dick states, “Funnels lose the energy you put into them once you reach the bottom, but flywheels are remarkable at storing and releasing energy.”

The more power you generate with your wheel (via frequent, personal contact with your customers) the more energy a customer returns to keep the momentum rolling. This replaces the “bottom” of the funnel with an ongoing, ever-growing dance of engagement. And engagement leads to a customer for life.  

When Customers Become Advocates

Now, it’s time to evolve. Fastidious and fabulous customer service can seem like a lost art. People know it when they encounter it, but generally don’t expect it. In fact, while 80% of companies believe they provide excellent customer service, only 8% of customers agree. With stats like that, it is easy to see why customer experience is quickly becoming the lead differentiator among brands.

When your customer service offering stands apart from the competition, you create a loyal customer base…who may just end up being your best source of marketing. Happy customers become advocates and produce more business, one referral at a time!  

Your Game Plan

Widening your focus from a sales-funnel view to that of the flywheel increases customer satisfaction and helps you win more customers. So, the question is, what steps can you take to improve your customer service offering? From the first interaction someone has with your business to the touchpoints that come after you’ve made the sale?

Here are a few places to start:

  • Be accessible. When your customers need you, don’t rely on bots or automated phone trees to do the work for you. Consider live chat or virtual receptionists to level-up your ability to respond quickly and with a human touch (without compromising your productivity!).
  • Be delightful. Focus on delivering warm, authentic interactions that create opportunities for making meaningful connections with customers. Never underestimate the power of a friendly tone or kind words in business.  
  • Be curious. Show ongoing interest in your customers’ experiences and success. Ask questions and seek feedback to better your service.
  • Be grateful! Let customers know that their business matters. Saying “thank you” with your words and actions can move your product or service from a commodity to an experience with which your customers have an emotional connection…which makes your business more valuable and not-so replaceable.

Looking to dig a little deeper on customer engagement? Download our guide, The ROI of Personal Connections, today to learn about the benefits of adding a little humanity to your business.  

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Focusing on the Customer: A Playbook by B2SMB

 

Ruby recently got to share our guidance on small business scalability.

The result is the newly published B2SMB Institute Playbook, Keeping Focus on the SMB Mindset as Your B2SMB Business Scales.

It’s almost hard to believe there’s so much history in our young company–and that we’ve paced ourselves to the tune of making Oregon Business Magazine’s “Fastest Growing Private 100 Companies” list 11 years in a row.

Phew. That’s a lot of momentum to wrap the arms around. It’s also scores of relationships to build and maintain.

The B2SMB Institute is a hub of resources for Business-to-Small-Business professionals who help other small- and medium-sized businesses succeed. That’s why we felt this opportunity was a perfect fit.

Stay Close While You Grow

Our purpose at Ruby is to help small businesses make real, meaningful relationships with their customers. Even as their companies grow.

Cultivating customer love is our own internal Priority One. And we believe the only way to achieve it is for each of our employees to know–and feel–what it’s like to own, run, and work in a small business.


Is keeping customers close key for your company?

CHECK OUT THE PLAYBOOK


We’ve done the big reveal on our recipes for walking the walk. These include our “WOW Moments” client-gifting program and our year-long, internal “In Our Customer’s Shoes” campaign.

Our empathy-building activities raised both our NPS and CSAT scores, and brought our employees closer to our customers and our mission. (Plus, they were really fun.)

Phone Skills that Boost Your Bottom Line

It’s easy to assume email is the way business gets done these days. But in fact, people will make an estimated 140 billion calls from mobile click-to-call alone in 2019. That’s about 20 billion more than in 2018 and an additional 30 billion are projected on top of that for 2020.*

The result of all this click-to-call action? The phone call will influence more than a trillion dollars in spending this year.

So, with the ways in which people can contact a business constantly proliferating, why is calling still so popular? The answer is simple: people buy from people. And the phone call is an opportunity to connect with a real, live human being.

When you treat phone calls as a golden opportunity to build relationships and add value beyond your product, every ring could yield a customer for life. We’ve put together a list of easy-to-learn phone skills that will help you convert more callers into loyal clients:

Play the Name Game

There’s data to support the warm psychological response to hearing one’s name. Asking for a name is a simple practice you can work to your advantage.

When a new customer identifies their name at the outset of a call, ask them to confirm spelling (yes, even if the spelling seems obvious).

Then, repeating it during the call need not be awkward. Looking up records or taking down an action item create the opportunity (e.g., “Okay, I’ve got the details, John. Now, let’s talk next steps.”) to address them by name and establish familiarity.

In taking the time to learn a customer’s name and perhaps offering your own, you’re developing a rapport and allowing space for an organic connection. Make customers feel at home with your business from the very first interaction and reap the benefits. 

Stay Warm

Never underestimate the power of a warm, pleasant greeting in building a relationship with callers. Develop a solid, simple introduction that lets callers know they have reached the right place, and that you are ready and willing to help!

From here, promptly respond to a customer’s needs, especially if they seem frustrated.

How a customer feels they’re being treated can be as impactful as any action taken to alleviate their frustration. Start by listening and responding to what a customer is saying. There’s great power in validating a customer’s feelings with empathy and accountability.

Simple verbiage like, “I totally understand” or “wow, that must be incredibly frustrating,” can completely turn a call around before you even get down to solving the problem.

Pro tip: Always avoid “I don’t know” as a response to any customer inquiry. It isn’t helpful and detracts from the trust you are trying to build. If you’re stumped by a customer’s question, focus on what you can do, rather than what you cannot.

Ex: “That’s a great question! Jane would be the best person to help you with that. I would be happy to try her line for you.”

Provide Relief

When you speak with a customer by phone, you’re sharing much more than information: you’re providing relief by anticipating and fulfilling their needs.

In addition to phoning in to make a purchase, people call a business when they are seeking a solution to a problem and require a quick response. When something is not working that needs to be fixed or they can’t find an answer to a question, you have the opportunity to really flex your customer service skills.

Go the extra mile to make sure you meet the needs of your customers. Have other customers faced a similar issue? What proved helpful to them? How can you set up a customer now to avoid problems in the future?

In other words…

Be Prepared

Why start from scratch when you can develop a system that works? Brainstorm the top reasons customers contact you by phone. Then, outline best-practices for each scenario.

  • Write down the most common 4 – 5 questions or challenges
  • Note a handful of common answers/solutions for each (especially those you’d need time to otherwise investigate).
  • Create a step-by-step outline for any related procedures. You can even make a checklist to use on each call, ticking off items as you go.
  • Also, note the most helpful follow-up questions. Sometimes, the initial issue isn’t the root of a problem. Asking questions can uncover hidden customer satisfaction issues.
  • Outline potential next steps for situations that may not be resolved with one call and be sure to share those with the customer.

Strengthen customer relationships by demonstrating your investment in their success. Proactive solution-seeking can pave the way for higher customer retention and word-of-mouth referrals.

Pick Up When They Come to Call

There is value in seeing this statement as figurative, but today, we mean this quite literally. Answer the phone! While this may sound like common sense, business owners on the hustle often (understandably) struggle to meet this very basic customer service expectation.

Anyone who has had to press “0” until their thumb goes numb to dodge a phone tree and connect with a real human understands the disparity between what customers need and what they receive. Within this gap, however, lies an opportunity for businesses to stand out from the competition.

Ruby Receptionists is here to help you turn more callers into clients when your business=busyness. Over ten thousand business owners have trusted our live, virtual receptionists to elevate their customer service experience, and capture prospects before losing them to voicemail.

Curious as to how Ruby can help you grow your business? Check out our super free, super helpful ebook to get the full scoop!

DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK

*Invoca 2018 Report

6 Ways to Sharpen Your Customer Service Skills

what is a virtual receptionist

If you’re drawn to a career in customer service, you likely have a natural inclination for compassion and a desire to make a positive impact on others. Stellar service requires balanced, adaptable energy, plus the ability to bring your best self to work every day. It also requires you to keep cool in the face of unpredictable or challenging situations and personalities.

Maintaining your genuine desire to give–without burning out–means cultivating both professional development opportunities and self-care practices. Following are a few tricks to sharpen your skills on the job…and find more personal fulfillment in the process.

1. Understand Your Customer

Empathy allows you to create a genuine connection with your customer. It enables you to serve with a palpable sense of enthusiasm and dedication.

The dictionary definition of empathy embodies the basics of establishing any great relationship: understanding, sensitivity, like-mindedness. Even the word “chemistry” gets a shout-out. So, keep in mind that empathy is well within anyone’s grasp.

Have you ever had to wait on-hold forever? Or stood in line for what felt like hours, ultimately feeling twice as impatient about your issue as when you arrived? Probably. You can draw on this simple awareness to relate to your customer’s frustration and better position yourself as their advocate.

A solid understanding of your company’s offerings also helps you better empathize with customer needs. You can better speak their language and relate (as well as problem-solve) at a deeper level. At Ruby, we’ve built our business on the principle that meaningful connections are number one when it comes to a high-touch customer service experience.

2. Add to Your Toolbox

Whether you’re looking for ways to enhance your listening skills, new conversation starters, or tips on how to turn a tough call around, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

To keep your skills fresh and your energy creative, continually make time to learn. Spend a weekend at a professional development class or seminar. Watch a video online. Read a book or an article. There are hundreds of resources on customer service topics that may open you up to a new way of doing things. YouTube, Udemy, Lynda or your local library are just a few places to start.

Before you begin, ask yourself: In what areas of my work/role would I like to grow? What are situations that challenge me or expose my opportunities for growth?

Once you’re clear on your goals, the perfect resources are practically guaranteed to jump in your lap. It’s exciting to find fresh ways to surprise, delight, and support your customer, while keeping your own passion ignited, too.

3. Get Out of the Office…and Out of Your Comfort Zone

We are creatures of habit, repeating patterns day after day. While the comfortable is cozy, it often blocks our ability to receive inspiration. Your work environment is a major component of your mood and mindset. Change up the scenery during your workday. Enjoy lunch away from your desk. Take a walk outside. Check out a mid-day yoga class.

Trying new things in your personal life can also yield transformative results in your work. When we expand beyond our routine, we’re challenged to get over fears, let go of limiting beliefs, and tap into our potential. When’s the last time you did something for the first time?

Maybe it’s an improv or dance class, rehabbing a vintage guitar, getting artistic with a pottery project or cooking an exotic recipe. Living on the edge of your comfort zone helps you to think on your feet.

4. Discover Ways Keep Your Cool

If you’re not in the flow, it’s tough to be a rock for every customer who needs your support. But how do you stay positive when your day consists of dealing with person after person, and problem after problem?

One solution is to develop the right tools. Maybe it’s a breath exercise. Perhaps it’s a five-minute meditation practice, a brisk jaunt down the stairs and back, or a relaxation app or game on your phone that gets you back into your zone.



Find the thing(s) that work for you. Make sure they are specific. Then practice them, daily, until they become a habit. It may surprise you how these rituals help you regain your calm and re-energize your workday.

5. Find a Mentor and Expand Your Network

A mentor can be a game changer in opening you up to new ideas and possibilities. Having someone in your life with experience that differs from your own is invaluable to growth.

Maybe they’ve achieved certain goals you aspire to or you admire their communication skills. Invite them to coffee. You’ll be surprised how many people want to help you when you’re open to asking.

Networking is also a powerful way to elevate your skills. Engaging in a community–both within your profession and in other industries–gives you new insight, knowledge and a more holistic view.

6. Remember Your ‘Why’

A good practice for clarity about your relationship with work is asking, “What’s my ‘why’?” What motivates you to do the work that you do? What drives you to get out of bed and into the world every morning? What’s your superpower?

If you’re drawn to customer service because you enjoy connecting with people and making their lives better, try keeping a Happiness (or Gratitude) Journal. Journaling has caught on like wildfire, and with good reason. Numerous scientific studies have shown the benefits, which range from when you bring awareness to what you appreciate, your mind and body both take note and prime you to attract more of the same.

Once you move away from customer service as a chore or a transaction, you’ll tap into that place within you that innately desires positivity and meaningful purpose. When you remain tuned in to that vibe, happy and satisfied customers are sure to come along for the ride.

If you want to provide an exceptional customer experience but are a little preoccupied running a business…Ruby can help with that. Check out this ebook to learn how we can turn your callers into clients.

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The Top 10 Ways to Destroy Customer Retention

Getting to know your customers

Customer retention is the fine art of keeping your customer base delighted by your service and loyal to your product. While customer retention is on the radar for most business owners, it may get lost amidst the day-to-day tasks that keep a business moving. Taking existing customer relationships for granted is rarely intentional, but it can feel surprisingly natural to ease off courting your customers once you get them through the door.

Continuing to charm buyers long after that first sale does require a plan and commitment, but the benefits of keeping them around are well worth the effort.

We’ve put together a list of 10 common mistakes businesses make that wind up losing them their most valuable asset: their customers. 

10. Under-Educating Your Base

Many companies overlook one of the best possible outcomes of doing business: the empowerment and gratitude people feel when you open their eyes to all the ways you can make their lives easier.

When it comes to your product or service, don’t be tempted to leave education up to “the Internet.” Take time to help them understand your product benefits; make sure they understand the latest features and updates. Highlight the differences among various product options, so they can easily and confidently make the best choice. They’ll appreciate the saved time, frustration, confusion, and the valuable decision-making power you’re providing them.

As you educate the customer about your products, take time to educate them about your company and your brand, as well. What’s your company’s story? Your values? Specialities or expertise that lend credibility to both you and your products? Make sure your customers know.

Establish yourself as the trusted go-to expert in your field, with just the tools they need, and customers will keep coming back for more.

9. Breaking Promises

The crutch of exceptional customer service is doing what you say you’ll do.  Failure to deliver on the promise of your good is a recipe for dissatisfaction, prompting your customers to walk away with the impression that you cannot meet their needs.

Yikes.

Take time to review the performance or quality claims touted in your marketing materials.  Are they accurate? Do you deliver? Think also about the kind of expectations your customers have about the experience they want when they buy from you.

Here’s your opportunity to take the lead: Set expectations from your side–then meet or exceed them. Be crystal clear about deadlines, the time required to rectify issues, the potential add-on-costs, and similar factors. Being up-front can help you better understand the needs of your customer and reduce the risk of mutual frustration.

8. Failing to Follow Up

One common misstep is not following up with your customers. Is your product hitting the mark for them? Did your project perform as expected?  Even if the answer is no, you’ve opened the door for a new conversation and an opportunity to learn how to improve your offering.

Following up can be as simple as an automated email or as personal as a call from the business owner. Find the practice that works best for you and your customers, and you may be surprised to see a spike in retention and active brand evangelists alike!

7. Forgetting to Ask for Repeat Business

A slight variation on the follow-up is the direct ask. Chances are, if your customers have a good experience, they’ll purchase from you again.

Or perhaps they’ll point you in the direction of another prospective customer.

Consider offering your first-time clients a next-purchase or next-project discount. If you’re completing a big project, be proactive about a follow-up proposal that showcases your abilities as an ongoing strategic partner.


Earn Referrals One Happy Customer at a Time

With Ruby

 


6. Failing to Reward Loyalty

Customer loyalty can be recognized financially, such as offering “frequent-flier”-type rewards. Or, you can opt for something a little more thoughtful, like sending a unique gift or hand-written notecard for an added personal touch.

Loyalty can be built or broken at every touchpoint in the customer lifecycle. Does your customer-facing staff greet repeat customers in a warm, professional way? Does your team retain knowledge about your client over time so that working with you never feels like a “do over”?

Customers like doing business with companies that make them feel like they’re more than just a number. Explore new ways of thanking customers for their business and acknowledging where you’ve been together and where you’re going.

5. Being (Only) a Commodity

If you don’t add value to your customers—or fail to create a personal rapport for that matter, you risk being seen as a commodity. Your offering becomes a service chosen based on price and features, making you an easily-replaceable part of the pack.

So how do you avoid being seen as a commodity? Demonstrate your value by creating meaningful connections.

Get to know your client’s favorite sports team or reach out when you hear about a big accomplishment in their professional or personal life. Connecting with your customer base humanizes your company, making customers more “sticky” and can validate their decision to buy from you – even at a premium price point.

4. Ignoring the Chatter 

There are many platforms today where customers can tell others about their good and bad experiences. It pays to monitor review sites on an ongoing basis and really listen to what people say, the bad and the good.

Negative reviews pose an opportunity for you to make things right with disgruntled customers in a public forum—flex your customer service muscles here and let people see you for the customer-centric business that you are.

3. Being Non-Analytical

It can be tempting to rely on anecdotes or “gut sense” when evaluating your product and customer service experience. But doing so opens you up to missing some truly valuable information and insight. Back up that intuition with a little hard data and you’re off to the races.

Make sure your data analysis extends beyond measuring operational expenses and ROI. Ask questions to gain insights, such as:

What percentage of your current customers are first-timers? How many have been with you for a year or more? Is there something bringing your customers back? And how can you create an even more effective strategy based on the customer lifecycle?

Evaluate the data and share the insights with your customer service reps, sales, and marketing teams to create content, experiences, and product enhancements that will further benefit your current customers.

2. Missing the Heart Connection

It’s easy to assume that people make business decisions based on rational criteria, yet studies show quite the opposite. Some 90% of customer decision-making is emotional, regardless of your industry. That’s why world-leading brands like Coca Cola, Apple, Nike and others spend millions of marketing and advertising dollars annually. They’re investing in emotional connections to draw like-minded (or like-hearted) people to their brands.

You have an opportunity to stand for something that your customers care about. Whether that’s a social cause, a set of beliefs or even a shared sense of humor—take the time to understand the connection between you, your product or service, and your ideal customers.

1. Not Having a Plan

The absolute fastest way to destroy customer retention is to leave it to chance. If you want to keep your customers coming back time and again, you need a plan. Make it simple. Include some measurable data-points, so you know what success looks like. Put it in action, then watch your sales and customer retention metrics blossom.

 

Looking for ways to satisfy your customers? We’ve got an ebook for that.

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Why You Should be Measuring Customer Satisfaction


There’s a familiar saying about assumptions. It’s not one we’re going to repeat here verbatim, but we’ll paraphrase the takeaway: Assumptions are guesswork.

Customer satisfaction is one of the most critical aspects of running a profitable and successful business. Yet, many companies lack a process for measuring customers’ perception of their brand and service. It’s easy to assume you and your staff are taking great care of your customers. But if there are flaws in the system, you may not know there’s a problem until it’s too late.

Luckily, the power is in your hands. Implementing one or more of the following strategies helps you to be proactive in creating happy customers.

Conduct a Survey


The survey is an obvious go-to strategy for measuring customer service success–and with good reason. There are many tried-and-true methodologies you can leverage to test your customer touch points.

You may think “big money” when you consider doing a survey, but it’s easier than ever for a small business to develop a do-it-yourself poll. Write up a small handful of key questions, then use a free or low-cost resource such as Survey Monkey to send it out to your email list. The set-up is a breeze, and dynamite analytics are built right into the software.

You don’t need a huge customer list for your survey project to be a home run. Qualitative surveys can flood you with useful insight about your customers’ experience and attitudes.

Pro Tip:

There’s a wealth of information online about popular customer satisfaction surveys, how to structure them, and what questions to ask. You may want to consider:

  • The CSAT (to measure overall customer satisfaction)
  • The Net Promoter Score (NPS) (to gauge how likely customers are to recommend your brand to others)
  • The Customer Effort Score (to assess customer ease-of-use with your product or service)

Worried customers won’t take the time to fill out your survey? Offer an incentive. The information they’ll provide is pure gold and well worth a small gift or discount.


Impress Callers to Win Business

With Ruby

 


Be an Active Listener


Another massive advantage to being in business for yourself these days is the ability to hear the unvarnished truth from customers in the form of reviews and social media sites. It’s taken the business world a while to get comfortable with this reality. After all, these forums allow your customers to rave about the good but also shout about the bad.

But guess what? You can work both scenarios to your advantage.

First, your customers may sing your praises in ways you didn’t imagine. This positive feedback allows you to re-evaluate your own messaging in a whole new light. It also provides insight into what your customers REALLY find important.

Second, the truth is there are no “bad” reviews. Complaints can magnify negative trends you didn’t know existed. Even better, you can engage with the customer online and work with them toward a solution.

Resolving an issue can generate greater customer loyalty than never having had a problem in the first place. Better yet, other potential customers monitoring the conversation will see you’re willing to go the extra mile to ensure customer happiness.

Pro Tip:

A listening program can be as simple as identifying a few key sites or platforms, then assigning one or more of your staff to listen in. If you want to go bigger, a variety of apps and agencies are ready to help you tap technology for robust monitoring campaigns.\

 

Just Ask


A slight riff on the survey is a brief Q&A script for your customer-facing staff. Develop a short list of queries that Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) or account managers can interject into the course of a business conversation.

Does your customer feel their issue was resolved during the call or visit? If not, were they provided with a clear plan of action? Was the process quick and easy or did the customer experience friction? What could your CSR do better next time?

Often just asking the question will put you heads-and-shoulders above your competition. Also, it eliminates guesswork about whether the customer got the help they needed.

Pro Tip:

Don’t send your people in cold. Roll out your new Q&A program as a formalized process and acknowledge you’re asking for a behavior change. Highlight that ending a call on a positive note is a benefit for your staff as well as the customer. And consider rewards you might offer for CSRs who go above and beyond.

Now, plot your course.


Once you have data in hand, it may feel like your job is done, but it’s really just begun. Now, it’s time to make your Customer Satisfaction Plan.

Initiatives can range from rolling out a new set of company values to implementing training for your customer-facing staff to introducing a gamified program that engages your team and provides incentive for top achievers. It could even include bringing in a pro to outline a formal strategy for continual improvement.

Even one exceptionally positive experience can create a customer for life.  Launch a customer success strategy to measure and improve your customer relationships, help you win new business, and retain your existing customers.

Looking for more customer experience tips?

We recommend starting from the moment you say “hello.”

Learn how to turn callers into clients with our free ebook!

 

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