How do you know your customers are satisfied?
Is it because they are not complaining? No news is good news? Or is it because you receive a good review online occasionally? It can be tricky to really know for sure, but as businesses we ought to be finding out. Without doubt, customer satisfaction is the key to growth.
It’s a fact that people buy experiences not products. Whether you work B2B or B2C, you need to make your customers and prospects feel energised about your products or services. But how?
In 2018 Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen talked about this topic at the Adobe Summit 2018.
He said: ‘companies are competing for the hearts and minds of all customers and should aim to exceed their expectations during every point of the journey’
Later in his speech he also said: ‘companies need to design for brilliance, rewire the entire organization for intelligence, and create an architecture for action.’
Let’s stop there.
Rewiring your whole organisation? That’s an important long-term goal. But for now, we are going to focus on what changes can you implement immediately that have a huge impact on how you can make your customers feel.
And let’s not forget, if you are making your customers feel good, you will feel good, and more energised to pass that feeling on…to more customers!
Here are four small (and free) changes you can implement across your teams:
1. Check in with your customers
You work hard for your customers. You put a lot of effort into keeping them happy, but how do you know all your efforts are going in the right directio
n? You do not want to spend time on the wrong tasks and overlook those that are truly going to delight and excite. It is not enough to assume that your customers are happy. The simplest way to find out is to ask them.
Regularly set aside a small amount of time each week, or month, when you can gather information from your customers and analyse what they tell you.
This may take the form of emailing out customer questionnaires or adding them to your online spaces where customers interact with your business.
Contact your customers direct. Make a habit to regularly choose a customer from your database and ask to schedule a call so you can find out how you can be of more help to them. You can use this information to put together a case study to help market your business.
Or if you interact daily with customers on the shop floor, plan targeted questions to ask so you can get straight the valuable information: What is your customer’s pain? Who are they? Why do they do what they do?
And if you work on long term projects, always update your customers regularly on your progress. Customers tend to assume no news means no work and it automatically breeds bad feelings.
Hubspot have amazing tips for getting the most out of your customer surveys and a free CRM tool to get you started.
2. Measure success for your customer, and then exceed it!
Make a point of clearly outlining what success looks like for your customer before they buy a service or product from your company. You make them a promise and then you over deliver on that
promise, surprising your customer with extra that they weren’t expecting.
If you have targets you need to meet, clearly state them before you begin work, or if you are delivering products for example, be clear on what time you will deliver by. This way your customer will be satisfied knowing that they have received good service.
Over delivering could look like:
- A follow-up call after they have received a product they have purchased just to check if there are any problems
- Providing updates to your customer at different stages of a project
- Exceeding targets
- A free gift or discount of some kind as a reward for loyalty
Incorporating what you have learnt from your customer surveys will help you understand exactly what makes for great customer satisfaction.
3. Do what you said you would do
One thing that’s certain in business is you must foresee the unforeseen. This means that when things go wrong, you must be willing to do the extra work necessary to satisfy a customer promise, even when everything is going against you. We never know what delivering on a promise may mean to an individual.
At Time Critical Transport we had an incident recently when one of our vans broke down in Scotland because of horrific wet weather conditions. It was a Thursday and our drivers had been on their way to the Wirral to deliver a bed for the next day. They knew the customer was extremely anxious to receive her order so they phoned her and told her the bed would be on its way as soon as the van was fixed. Despite the weather, the remoteness of where they had broken down and the huge setback to their schedule, they carried on and eventually arrived late on Friday night.
They then stayed and built the bed so the customer could sleep that night in her bedroom. When they were finished, she broke down in tears and told them that because she was terminally ill, she had just come out of hospital and hadn’t slept in her bedroom in months. That first night in her own room with her new bed meant so much to her and she was so grateful that they made the effort to reach her that night, despite their setbacks. She even called the bed company the next day to praise the drivers again.
In those moments when you want to say ‘It’s past my work time’ or ‘It’s not my job’ you never know who you could be letting down or in what way.
Also, if you oversee staff, think about how much independence you give them to make their own decisions in the moment for the good of your customers. Are your procedures so inflexible that you can’t bend to individual cases?
Seth Godin sums up this idea nicely:
When a clerk tells the consumer ‘That’s all I can do, that’s our policy’ he’s creating a negative interaction. But when a human being works with the consumer and takes independent action on her behalf, something changes.
4. Treat everyone as an equal
Are you or your staff secret snobs?!
This question may make you jump back in horror, but whether we like it or not we are always judging other people. The thing is to be aware of it and to make a conscious effort to treat all your customers the same. You just never know who you might be dealing with.
Word of mouth is priceless when it is positive, but conversely, when it is negative it can do a lot of harm. Basically, just be nice to everyone!
One of our drivers told us a humorous story that emphasises this point…
He took a job to deliver a mattress to a very well-off individual in Monaco, and he arranged delivery at an expensive hotel where the client was staying.
Our driver arrived at the hotel and attempted to explain to the concierge who he was delivering for and what he needed. The concierge took one look at him and dismissed our driver immediately down to the basement; he was just a delivery driver after all.
Our driver then phoned the client to tell him where he was. The concierge was immediately horrified when he saw who the client was, and that he had inadvertently made him come down to the basement to do business, instead of in more luxurious surroundings above ground!
Everything stems from your customers. When we ignore the very people we are doing business for, selling our services or products can turn into a thankless up-hill struggle.
The four points above are simple ways you can improve your customer satisfaction without having to invest time and money in complex systems. Not only will they make an impact on your customers’ experiences as they interact with your business, but it should also make doing business much more fun for you. The more you shift your focus towards the customer and take time to understand them, the more you will see your processes becoming more efficient in a much more natural way.
If you are looking for a delivery company and you want to be sure of receiving superb customer service, head over to our contact form so that we can get in touch right away to discuss your needs!