Client Communication Tips for Attorneys

Human communication is layered with non-verbal messages and read-between-the-lines language that require a high level of emotional intelligence to navigate. In the legal field, picking up on these signals can help an attorney establish and build trust with potential and current clients alike. For attorneys who excel in their practice but perhaps struggle with interpersonal communication, we’ve put together a few quick tips to help you meet the needs of your clients.

Listen Well

“Active listening” and “good communication” are buzzwords we’ve all used during an interview or around the office, regardless of our industry. From law firms to contractors to hair stylists, professionals recognize the role of effective communication—which might explain why most adults fancy themselves expert listeners.

While active listening is typically associated with head nods, the occasional “mhmm”, and an accurate regurgitation of a speaker’s main points, the Harvard Business Review contends that these actions just barely scratch the surface. Skilled listeners will first create an environment in which a person feels comfortable speaking. For attorneys, this means eliminating distractions. Desk and cell phones, a smartwatch, or any other electronics that threaten to divert attention away from a client should be tucked away. From here, your own body language, the questions, and insights you offer, and your ability to pick up on nonverbal cues (and acknowledge them) not only deepens your understanding of a client’s unique circumstance, but also establishes a foundation of trust.

Break it Down

A benefit of honing your listening skills is gaining a clear understanding of a client’s motivation around specific litigation. Becoming familiar with their goals empowers you to provide information in the context of their aspirations. Give clients insight as to why information matters to them and reinforce a positive perception of your firm. Frame information in a way that connects with your clients to let them know you’re listening, and again, you’ll earn their trust.

In addition to context, remember to steer away from legal jargon. Avoid inaccessible language that can further confuseand potentially frustrateyour clients. Be sure to break down terminology in a way that aligns with each individual client’s needs. And remember to always loop back to why the information you are giving them is relevant!

Follow Up

What might be the biggest challenge of running your own practice? Following up with client communication in a timely manner in the midst of meetings, casework, and court dates. While the clients who have you face-to-face appreciate your undivided attention, your focus there will inevitably result in unanswered client (or potential client) phone calls. Virtual receptionists are a great solution to a ringing phone. Clients are able to connect with a real, live human ready and trained to help them, while you remain focused on the task at hand. Even if a receptionist is answering your calls, be sure to set aside time to follow up with clients. Keep them updated and check in to reassure them that their needs haven’t been forgotten to maintain valuable positive client relationships.

Bottom line: Eliminate distractions in your environment, seek to understand client goals, and avoid legal jargon to meet clients where they are. Better communication means an elevated client experience, which translates into wider profit margins for your firm. 

TimeSolv is a comprehensive project management and legal billing software that has been helping lawyers and other professionals increase billable time and get paid faster since 1999. TimeSolv is compatible with PCs and Macs, iPad and other tablets, iPhones and Android App. If you’re interested in automating your law practice with TimeSolv, click here now to start your no-obligation 30-day free trial!

Live Chat: A Valuable Tool for Customer Acquisition

Right now, at this second, dozens of people want to get in touch with your business. Fortunately, you don’t need to do much to connect with them. If you have an online presence, such as a website or Facebook page, you’re probably halfway there.

But you already knew that. If your organization is like most, you’re already focused on digital marketing and website development. Perhaps you’ve invested in search engine optimization, content, advertising, or any number of the myriad strategies businesses use to stand out online.

So why aren’t you connecting with as many customers as you could be? Two words:

Live chat.

What Is Live Chat?

Live chat is a form of online communication in which people send messages to each other in real time. Think of it like texting, but over an internet connection rather than a telephone network.

You’re probably familiar with live chat, even if you don’t know it. If you’ve ever typed a word into Slack, WhatsApp, Apple Messages, Facebook Messenger, Google Talk, AOL Instant Messenger, or Skype, you’ve engaged in live chat. And if you’ve ever visited a website and were greeted by a pop-up box encouraging you to “chat now” with a support agent, you’ve seen a company’s live chat tool in action.

These tools aren’t merely for show—they can transform a business’s customer acquisition numbers practically overnight.

Why Does Live Chat Matter?

Consider the following:

  • 42% of all customers prefer chat over other communication channels, such as email (23%) and social media outreach (6%). [source]
  • 73% of consumers are satisfied with their experiences on live chat—that’s the highest level of all customer service channels. [source]
  • Compared to other prospects, live chat prospects are 4.6 times more likely to convert into customers. [source]

Given these kinds of statistics, you’d think service-oriented businesses would be zeroed in on live chat. And yet, approximately only 14% of companies use it. That means 86% of businesses—likely including your competitors—either undervalue chat or don’t know about it at all.

Sounds like a major opportunity for you to differentiate.

But that’s only one of the many benefits live chat can offer. With a simple, unobtrusive chat window, your site can…

  • meet customer demand 24/7,
  • take sales and support pressure off of your team,
  • generate new leads for your business,
  • help you overcome common customer objections as they arise,
  • answer visitors’ frequently asked questions,
  • gather a broader and more accurate set of customer data,
  • and much more.

That said, effective chat is about more than installing a widget on your website. To see real results, you need to do things right. Bots, forms, and outsourcing simply don’t work. In fact, shortcuts can actually turn would-be customers away.


Discover the ROI of live chat with our live chat calculator


Live Chat Insights and Best Practices

So, how do you do chat the right way? Download our new ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Chat, to find out!

Inside this free resource, you’ll find detailed, data-backed insights, with chapters covering…

  • The expectations of the digital customer
  • The difference between an AI and live chat experience
  • How live chat can boost your bottom line
  • What to consider when choosing the best live chat solution for your business

Discover how you can use chat to transform your business and start generating leads from your website daily.

 

Get Your eBook

 

Your Complete Guide to the Virtual Office

Do you know how I like to spend a day at the office?

Sipping on a cappuccino at a favorite coffee shop. Preferably, one that’s located sea-side with a view.

Or cuddling with my cats, wrapped in blankets, being productive and cozy, while drinking ever more coffee.

Sound dreamy? It sure is.

It’s also possible. Working remotely doesn’t come with the constraints you might image. The vital person-to-person interactions that keep most businesses alive and thriving are still possible from the comfort of…wherever.

Read on for a complete picture of how you can bring the virtual office dream to life.

What is a virtual office?

Remember the days of being shackled to a desk by landline and typewriter?

Me either.

But, what I do remember, is the need to report to the same location to be able to successfully collaborate with my team, and accomplish 90% of my work.

Times have changed.

Now, in all of its on-the-go, work-from-wherever glory, the virtual office is the modern-day business solution to traditional bricks and mortar. According to our friends at Wikipedia, a virtual office is:

“The operational domain of any business or organization whose workforce includes a significant proportion of workers using technology to perform their work at home.”

In other words, a virtual office primarily exists in cyberspace i.e., without a designated physical location. Employees can work from virtually (heh) anywhere with an internet connection.

What do I stand to gain with a virtual office?

In addition to your freedom, there are financial gains to be made from going virtual.

The overhead of buying, leasing, and maintaining a physical location can be a daunting expense for many businesses. The virtual office frees up more capital to reinvest in your company.

Then, there’s the flexibility factor. You and your team can work where and when you work best, which translates to less stress, better work, and happier employees.

How much happier? 82% of telecommuters reported lower stress levels than when traveling to an office. This coupled with reduced turnover and the ability to broaden your talent pool outside of your geographic location (get the cream of the crop!) puts the virtual office in a favorable light.

So what about accountability?

Great question.

Working remotely requires a particular mindset. You need go-get-’em employees who are motivated and self-directed.

That said, virtual works! In a study by SurePayroll, 86% of respondents say they hit maximum productivity when working alone. Their managers agreed; two-thirds reported workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts.

Not to mention, the promise of working how you want can be a powerful motivator. Equip yourself with the proper tools and checking in with (and up on) your team is easy peasy.

How do I do it?

If you’re using productivity or project management apps in your business, you’re already halfway there. These apps will become the lifeblood of your new virtual office.

Now, you can be anywhere, with anyone, at any time. Video conferencing with tools like Zoom makes an online meeting super simple. Collaboration tools like Slack offers a space for individuals and whole teams to interact. The faces, voices, and input of your team are always but a click away.

Besides the human factor, project management tools like TeamWork, Asana, Trello, or Basecamp keep everyone on the same page, even if they’re on different points of the map.  

Look to sites or apps like Harvest or TimeCamp to generate activity reports and invoices from one location.

If there’s a function you aren’t managing online yet, there’s an app for that. Do some online research, ask around, capitalize on free trials, and get yourself equipped with the right technology mix.

What about my clients?

“But what about our customers? Won’t it be weird for them to engage with us? How do they call us without a desk phone?”

So glad you asked.

Let’s talk customer contact.

In addition to video conferencing tools like Skype and Zoom, there are offices you can rent by the hour when you need a place outside of the home office that is not buzzing with espresso machines.

When it comes to appearing less piecemeal and more official, relying on virtual receptionist and online chat services can be your best move.

Enter Ruby.

Our virtual receptionist services + live chat service + your virtual office= Virtual Love.

We are in the business of representing over 10,000 companies—virtually. From our offices (yes, we have physical locations for quality assurance), we establish relationships and a professional appearance for over 10,000 companies nationwide.

So, I suppose you could say it takes one to know one.

Here is how Ruby can help your virtual office feel like home:

  • Present a professional, unified front. Your callers will likely assume that Ruby’s receptionists work right in your office. We answer how you want us to with a highly customizable service designed to fit the unique needs of your business. From 100% live call-answering and transferring, taking messaging, making outbound calls, scheduling, and more, you receive all of the skills you’d want from an in-house receptionist without having to actually hire one.
  • One number to rule them all. Still taking business calls on your personal cell phone? We can help with that. Whether you’re a one-human show or a team of ten, having one central number for your customers to call eliminates potential confusion between both you and your customers, as well as between you and your teammates. Port your local number over to Ruby (or we can give you one), and we’ll handle the rest. You’ll be able to make calls (and text!) on your business number from your cell phone. Same convenience, more privacy, better customer experience!
  • Live chat for your bottom line. We also have a live chat solution fit for meeting your customers (and prospects) where they are, 24/7. This means that you don’t have to expend virtual people-power on tasks like constantly monitoring the chat box on your website, while still resting assured that someone is. People can interact with your business on their terms, while you continue to work on yours.
  • Keep it human. You could opt for phonetrees and chat-bots, but there is nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to press “0” until their thumb falls off or meeting a dead-end with a chatbot incapable of answering their contextual q’s. Create a customer service experience that makes you and your business feel accessible to your clients, no matter where you might actually be!

Whether you’re looking for a better way to run your business or simply needing a little extra wiggle room in how you work, going virtual is probably a lot more viable than you would have expected.

Where would YOU go if there wasn’t an office-bound desk holding you back?

Dream big.

Interested in learning more about how a virtual receptionist service can help you grow?

Check out our (free) ebook to get the inside scoop.

Let’s Go

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.


Not sure what the ROI of real personal connections truly is? Discover the return on a virtual receptionist service for your business with our ROI calculator


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

Four Tips for Using Virtual Talent in Your Practice

A virtual legal assistant sounds great on paper𑁋they lower costs, increase your billable hours, widen your profit margins, help you strike a work/life balance, and improve your client relationships. Ideal for the small firm or solo attorney, virtual talent is great in theory, but how do you actually make it work?

A reasonable query, one that I answer in quick four tips. Here are a few protips for incorporating virtual talent into your practice:

1. Identify and plan for your needs.

Running your practice is like working any case, it requires a goal and an understanding of all moving parts. With these in mind, you’re able to build a strategy and an action plan to reach your next milestone.

But let’s talk about your needs for a second. Are you honest with yourself about them? What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? What tasks do you hate doing? Outsourcing is an excellent way to help you focus on what’s profitable while shifting what you either don’t enjoy or don’t have time for to someone else’s plate.  Find a virtual attorney whose strengths are your weaknesses, virtual legal assistants who thrive on those tedious tasks you dislike, and virtual receptionists and legal tech for areas where you are losing money on office management.

In delegating tasks to virtual talent, you regain billable hours for your firm. Attorney and paralegal time can be billed to the client at a reasonable profit margin and you don’t need to cover their overhead as you would a body in your office.

2. Establish clear and proactive communication.

Communication is the key to virtual success. It enables delegation, builds trust, powers efficiency, improves integration, and creates a productive environment. All of which combine to reduce stress and increase efficacy and responsiveness.  Clear and proactive communication also reduces the likelihood of errors, conflicts in communication styles, and the oft-raised concern about assistants ‘disappearing’ along with your tasks (aka ghosting).

Good communication involves being direct about expectations, awareness of skills, and realistic time frames; it requires solid procedures and transparent processes.  Regularly scheduled calls and virtual meetings, the use of cloud-based technology and/or practice management software all give rise to clear communication.

3. Delegate effectively.

Doing everything yourself results in a self-perpetuating cycle of being overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed. As your to-do list grows, you become more inefficient and less profitable. Delegate tasks where you can to remain productive and in control of your quality of life. 

Mindful planning coupled with effective communication is key to feeling confident that all delegated tasks will be completed. You have a plan, you know your weaknesses; you know you can bill paralegal time, and that by freeing up hours in your day you can focus on the work that generates revenue.

4. Use virtual talent to capitalize on specialties.

You’re a small or solo practice, and sure, while the law is the law there are some nuances to each practice area. You can’t possibly know everything about every specialty, so you inevitably reduce your practice area to focus your work.

So, as an estate planner, what do you do when you discover your client has a patent that is being infringed?  How do you handle an immigration case involves human trafficking?  You want to give your client the best service possible, so you study and familiarize yourself with the associated nuances.  But what’s even better? Hiring a freelance specialist to join your team. A virtual attorney and/or virtual legal assistant who supplements and compliments your own expertise is incredibly helpful.  Their knowledge is a significant benefit to your practice, as well as your individual clients.

Master these four tips to integrate virtual talent into your practice, and magic will happen!

Where do you go to learn more about virtual receptionists?

HERE

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.


Discover How You Can Earn Referrals One Happy Customer at a Time

Free ebook: Grow Your Business 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.

Get the ROI of Personal Connections

 

 

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 shortlist 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 head-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 an 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.”

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