Customer satisfaction is one of the most powerful ways to improve your company’s sales. Did you know that when a company offers great customer service, 86% of people will pay more, with loyal customers worth up to 10 times more than the amount they initially spend. With this in mind, what ways can you use to improve sales with great customer service? Find out here! (Guest Post)
Show you have the right processes in place
A great way to start is to ensure you have the right processes in place within your organisation to ensure your customers’ needs are met. Many organisations around the world do this by implementing a quality management system, allowing even the smallest of businesses to drive down costs and boost customer satisfaction. The result is that with a quality management system, your business is more likely to successfully meet customers’ needs consistently, improving their satisfaction as a result.
Gaining certification for a quality management system can also provide a direct benefit to your sales, particularly if you sell to other businesses and have only recently been established. The ISO 9001 quality management system essentially shows that your company is as efficient and well-run as any other with the same certification, building your credibility as a reputable supplier and helping you close deals as well as delivering a good service.
Building your customer retention
It’s widely known that retaining a customer is cheaper than acquiring a new one, with significant costs related to losing customers, yet not all businesses focus on improving retention rates. Common reasons for customers leaving can be because they’re unhappy with their service, unhappy with the product, or decide to use a competitor. So how can you build retention rates and increase customer satisfaction? The key is to under promise and over deliver, by managing customer expectations.
For example, when agreeing the completion date of a project, be sure to ask why a client wants that date. They may need a project completed in time for a specific event, so understanding the reasons for any deadlines means you can ensure any slips have no knock-on effects that can sour the relationship. Similarly, it’s always best to specify a completion date giving you extra time, then delivering the project before this date.
The result of setting expectations like this at the outset of a project is that you regain control over what you need to do to keep your client happy, setting your own KPIs around these pre-agreed expectations ensuring you continuously over deliver.
Train and incentivise frontline staff to provide great customer service
Not receiving appropriate customer service from a receptionist, sales person or other frontline member of staff can really put off a new potential customer. This might include not receiving a call back as promised, the sales person not listening closely enough and not suggesting a solution that fits the client’s needs, or unhelpful staff passing the buck between different departments.
So how do you ensure your frontline staff work towards delivering great customer service? The first step is to measure how you’re currently performing, which can be done via a survey. Next, define what makes a great customer service, which might be to answer all new email leads within 30 minutes, or to ensure all leads are given a call back within 24 hours if no one is available to take their call.
The next step is to train staff on how to achieve these objectives, and finally tie their compensation to customer service. This might include a department-wide bonus if all new email leads are picked up within the set time, or to run quarterly customer service surveys, providing a bonus to staff if service has improved.
Run a customer reward scheme
Loyalty schemes are common in businesses that sell to consumers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work for those that sell to businesses too. Loyal customers love being rewarded, which in turn increases their likelihood for staying with you as a provider. There are a range of benefits you could offer, even at a B2B business. For example, a discount on monthly fees for every referral they send your way that turns into new business, or give discounts on certain services for customers who have been with you for some time.
Running a customer reward scheme alongside other efforts to improve customer service can be a very powerful combination to increase retention rates, making for more profitable customers and reduced customer acquisition costs as a result.
Improving customer service for new leads and existing customers can really make a difference to your bottom line, helping you to close more deals as well as making each of your customers worth more to your business by extending their lifespan and increasing spend. Have you seen improvements to your sales through better customer service? Let us know in the comments below!
This infographic was produced by sage.co.uk