What makes for happy customers? For those of us who’ve been on the receiving end of both excellent and atrocious customer service, this should be quite an easy question to answer. What do you need to have in place for your own purchasing experiences to walk away satisfied? On the other hand, what leaves you with a very bad taste in your mouth and the firm resolve never to step foot back into a certain business or shop again?

The answers to these questions are important because customer satisfaction equals increased revenue, reduced churn and an extended customer lifespan. Here are some tried-and-tested techniques for keeping happy smiles on your customers’ dials:

What other customer satisfaction stories have to teach us

From sending a very sick kid in hospital customised toys and gadgets to keep him smiling, to delivering food to an elderly customer snowed in at his home, this Help Scout blog describes 10 customer service examples that demonstrate the benefits of going the extra mile for customers to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.

What’s quite evident from the happy incidents detailed in this blog is that pulling out all the stops for customers is good for business and good for your brand. In all scenarios, grateful, touched and thrilled customers quickly took to social media to let others know about the quality of the services they’d received. One man’s story was even covered in an interview by CNN. The PR and marketing personnel in that company must’ve been giving each other some solid high fives after that.

While your business may never get the opportunity to do something for a customer that gets chins wagging on television, pleasing customers (for the most part) is as simple as follows:

Start before the sale

You can satisfy customers long before they walk through your door or make an online purchase.

    • – Make it easy for them to get in touch with you. This means having a live chat or email support service in place for quick responses to any queries they may have. You should have a dedicated staff member who’ll take charge of managing your social media channels and replying to any customer queries and comments you receive. Lastly, be sure to make it easy for customers to physically find you, by including store details and locators on your site – it only takes the smallest of challenges to put customers off entirely.

 

  • – Always respond in an informative, friendly and helpful manner. Whether this is in person, on the phone or via email, it’s very important to give customers a positive response to any queries they may have. If you don’t have a product in stock, offer to order it for them, or phone around to other stores (even if they’re not yours) to find it on their behalf – don’t just leave them hanging without giving them every opportunity to make a purchase.

 

  • – Move your bookings and orders online. Many customers don’t have the time (or inclination) to call in to make an appointment these days, which is why businesses are starting to move their appointment scheduling processes online. Prospective clients might never be able to visit your store in person, so including an e-commerce function on your website is one way to ensure they can effortlessly access, reserve and purchase your products or services.

Follow up after a sale and ask for feedback

Don’t be scared to ask customers what they think about your customer service. Phone them after a sale, or the delivery of a service, or give them a feedback form to fill out to rate your services on the spot. You can also include a feedback form on your website. Customers can use this to anonymously tell you what they think about your services and products. These insights can only help you improve your offerings and increase customer satisfaction levels.

Build and maintain customer loyalty

According to this All Business blog, each business has a core group of customers that regularly use the bulk of their services and products and keep production going. It’s crucial that you keep these customers happy. You can do this by frequently communicating with them (using personalised newsletters, cards and emails), paying close attention to any complaints or concerns they may have and maintaining a high level of integrity and professionalism in the services or products you provide them.

It’s also important to ensure that your employees stay motivated and happy, as their satisfaction levels will reflect in the way they interact with clients. Incentives also work well in enticing customers back for more. This could be in the form of loyalty cards, or special discounts to regular customers. Above all, never take this group for granted – if you continue doing well with them, you’ll have all you need in place to keep other customers equally happy.

Image Credit: Telefonica