But it's not just about getting new customers. You also need to make sure that you retain them in order for your business to thrive, and when you keep your current customers happy, there's a high chance that they'll refer your company to friends and family. The question is, do you know how to make your customers happy?
Learning more about your customers
It’s easy to assume that you know all about what your customers want and/or need when it comes to products and services. They are your customers, after all. However, just because they bought from you, it doesn’t mean that everything is a-ok.
In order for your business to thrive, you need to make sure that your customers aren’t just buying your products or services. They should be more than satisfied with their experience. When customer satisfaction is high, they’re going to spread the word about your product and your brand.
If you want to provide the best customer experience possible, you need to delve deep into who your customers are, what they require, what they expect from you and how they perceive you. You need to learn the Voice of the Customer.
What is the Voice of the Customer (VOC)?
The VOC is a research process or method that helps you understand what your customers want, need, expect, and dislike about your business. It helps you identify any gaps between their expectations and actual experience. This method can enable companies to improve their interactions to create a better customer experience.
There are different techniques that you can use to learn more about your customers. You can collect customer feedback through surveys, focus groups, social media comments, online reviews and customer service calls.
Build trustworthy relationships
According to a Wunderman Study, 79% of consumers only buy from brands that prove they understand and care about their customers. This means that building strong customer relationships is key to taking your business to the next level. So, how does a business build trustworthy relationships with their customers? Below are four tips that can help.
1. Offer superior customer service
One of the best ways to build long-lasting relationships with customers is to always provide superior customer service. Below are some examples:
- Real-time support: Offer assistance to your customers 24/7 through live chat. Not only will this enhance the customer experience, it will also provide you with a better understanding of your customers needs and preferences.
- Make them feel special: Go beyond what is expected. Let your customers know that they matter. Send a thank you email to your customers. Acknowledging them can have a positive impact on your brand and create customer loyalty.
- Do follow-ups: Give updates when it’s taking longer than usual to solve a customer's problem. Even if there hasn't been much progress, letting your customers know that you're still working on the issue and giving them an idea of what the next steps are will help them feel that you are making their concern a priority.
2. Put your customers first
Putting your customer first means that all decisions that you make in your business revolves around them - how it will impact their experience. There are several ways to practice a "customer-first" strategy. Creating a customer persona is one. When you have a clear idea of who your customers are, you can create strategies, plans and policies that will cater to them specifically.
3. Integrate clear messaging
How can your customers learn to trust you and your brand if they can't comprehend what you're saying? With clear messaging, potential customers can easily understand what your company is all about as well as what products and/or services you’re offering. Clear messaging can also improve your customer's experience on your website.
4. Be transparent
Transparency in business leads to trust. If you’re open and straightforward with your customers, you gain their loyalty. In fact, one study showed that 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that practices transparency. One way to be transparent to your customers is to provide them with all the information they want to know about your product - what’s inside your product, where you sourced the materials, where it’s made and how it’s made. Admitting mistakes and correcting them is another way your business can be transparent and earn customer loyalty.
Address the issues properly
In any business, it’s inevitable that some of the customers will encounter issues. Customer complaints need to be resolved as soon as possible. The longer an issue remains unsolved, the more they are likely to never return again. In fact, according to the Getting To Know Your Customers Report, 79% of consumers surveyed want a quick response when they contact a brand.
In addition, 65% of customers stated that they switched to a different brand because of a poor experience. Based on Qualtrics XM Institute's ROI of Customer Experience 2020, only 15% of consumers will forgive a company who gave them a "very poor" customer experience. Around 75% will forgive a company for a bad experience if they rated the customer service as "very good." To ensure that issues get resolved as soon as possible, below are some tips that can help.
Identify the root of their complaint
Find out what is the source of the issue by asking the right questions to your customers:
- Could you provide an example?
- What did you mean by...?
- Could you expand on that point further?
You should also ask yourself questions such as:
- What other information do I need?
- How important is this complaint and why?
- What are my assumptions?
Come up with a solution
Figuring out the root of their complaint can help you find a solution. Make sure you explain the actions you're going to take to solve the issue. By doing so, the customer will feel that you valued their feedback. Just make sure that you don't make promises that you can't keep.
Provide reasonable compensation
Apologizing for your customer's poor experience with the company is the first step towards turning the complaint into a positive experience. According to a study conducted by The Nottingham School of Economics, 45% of customers will withdraw their negative review after receiving an apology.
If possible, you should also consider giving reasonable compensation for their poor experience. This could mean a gift card that incentivizes your customer to come back and make a future purchase. Of course, this doesn't guarantee that they won't leave with a negative impression of your business. But it makes it possible for them to have a positive experience in the future. According to Ruby Newell-Legner’s "Understanding Customers," it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.
Get regular feedback
Collecting feedback is one of the ways you can gain insights on your customers' needs, expectations and preferences. It can also help you identify pain points, common customer complaints and suggestions for improvement. There are several ways to gather feedback. You can conduct surveys, customer interviews and create focus groups. You can also collect feedback based on customers' posts on social media. Make sure to give your customers multiple opportunities to submit feedback.
Simply put, VOC is about listening to your customers, each and every one of them. It's about showing them that you heard what they're saying AND doing something about it. VOC can help you improve your product and provide your customers with a better experience, earning their loyalty.