6 customer relationship methods that will improve your business

6 customer relationship methods

Customer satisfaction at the core of your strategy

This concept might seem obvious, and yet! In today’s world, there are still too many companies only concerned with their income statement, and not with other indicators which share the same importance (maybe even more) regarding a company’s success. One indicator in particular must be examined: customer satisfaction.

Indeed, customer satisfaction must be at the heart of a company, website or brand’s strategy. Why? Simply because clients are at the heart of your activity! Without them, there are no sales, thus no income, and therefore a disastrous income statement. Every effort must be thought out and directed towards the consumer! Simply adopting this frame of mind enables you to make decisions steered towards the quality of the experience, and no longer solely towards profit.

Yes, but how? There are a number of possibilities to increase customer satisfaction: intuitive browsing, purchasing assistance services (click-to-chat, product recommendations, client opinions, etc.), free delivery or loyalty programs (exclusive discounts, a private sale, presents, etc.). This is a non-exhaustive list that helps generate customer satisfaction.

The final objective regarding customer satisfaction is to convert your visitors into buyers and to win the loyalty of your current and future clients. This is where a company’s objectives meet. Indeed, satisfied customers will be more inclined to purchase on the website, whether it be with a higher frequency or for higher cart sums (69% of satisfied customers purchase more) and earning their loyalty will be easier. The cost for winning a customer’s loyalty is 5 to 7 times cheaper than the cost to acquire new clients; therefore the economic implications are colossal.

Finally, by making customer satisfaction a priority, this will induce value creation! And in the end, the income statement also benefits from it.

Change your customer support methods

We stand in 2015, era of new technologies, hyper-connectivity and personalization… Well in theory that is! Indeed, to this day, actually reaching customer service is (too) often an agonizing endeavor, between the never-ending waiting time, voicemails, numerous interlocutors, etc. For a consumer, these are the type of things that are aggravating, but also nearly part of everyday life. What’s even worse is when you finally reach a client advisor and explain your problem, but he starts reading a script and gives you a completely ill-adapted response to your problem. It feels like you’re talking to a robot that isn’t even listening to you and that is merely reciting the text before him. This is clearly the type of experience that makes you want to run for the hills, or better yet, run to a competitor.

Therefore, it is crucial to essentially work on weaknesses like the difficulty to reach customer service, a predicament sometimes purposely carried out by the company, and the quality of customer assistance, still too often non-existent.

Here are a few tips to improve access to your customer service:

  • Make your contact information more visible (postal address, email, telephone, chat, etc)

  • Indicate your time of availability

  • Avoid voicemails

  • Set up a call-back system, so that the visitor is called back immediately

  • Be inventive and test your customer service as one of your consumers

 Of course, access to customer service is a very important step, but it’s the second step that will improve or damage the overall experience. The second step consists of an advisor assisting the customer. This is where the relationship needs to be of top quality as it is the moment awaited by the visitor and the time he is counting on to find a solution. The quality of the customer experience is the key to success.

Here are a few ideas to improve the quality of visitor-advisor relationships:

  • Utterly ban scripts! They are counter-productive and usually end up frustrating visitors, leading up to their discontent.

  • Listen to their needs and personalize their assistance. This objective strongly correlates with the removal of scripts. Indeed, by removing scripts, the visitor-advisor relationship will be more natural and will resemble a real conversation between a salesman and his customer. The consulting aspect must be fully present in a customer service!

  • Make sure that the solution provided solves the problem. If it isn’t the case, ask the visitor again what he needs. Showing interest in the visitor is a factor that generates customer satisfaction.

Methods for changing assistance to offer top quality to them is key to a successful strategy. Indeed, it is essential to favor quality over quantity. In the end, quantity will follow quality. The implications associated with customer relations are too important to not be taken into account.

Fight for your clients

Your advisors will encounter many discontented customers. The main reason for dissatisfaction is usually related to the gap between the consumer’s expectations and his perception of the experience he had with the company or product. It is therefore essential to understand the exact cause for dissatisfaction.

A majority of dissatisfied clients will contact you merely to obtain compensation for their discontent. Listen to them, understand the nature and consequences of their problems, and find a way to solve them. If you’re involved in their struggle, they should feel it and they will be more inclined to “forgive” you for the damage you caused. The position and attitude you adopt are as important as the resolution of the problem itself.

Another, more complex situation can occur: an irritated and aggressive client resents you for the damages he suffered “because” of you. It is crucial to handle properly this type of dissatisfied customer, because he could eventually share his discontent with friends and family, on social networks or customer notifications. In this scenario, your attitude will be vital to the resolution of the “conflict”. Empathy is your best bet. Indeed, put yourself in his shoes and try to understand the consequences of the incident before looking for the cause of the problem. Speak with a calm tone of voice, reassure the visitor by telling him that you understand his predicament and that together you will find the best solution.

As a consumer, I once had a customer experience of very poor quality with a French operator. The unpleasantness with this operator began on one of the very first days; my Internet box was not activated, yet I was billed for the time during which it was deactivated at the end of the month. After having made a first appointment with a technician to fix my Internet box, the latter didn’t show up to the said appointment. I made another appointment at a later time, and for the second time, he didn’t show up. After this bad experience, I was set on leaving this operator promptly, but first I wished to share with them my discontentment. As I called, I intended to end my contract with this operator, but I was pleasantly surprised to find an attentive customer advisor who tried to understand the consequences of my malfunction and who, in the end, managed to convince me that this type of thing shouldn’t happen and that he would find the best solution possible. The outcome of this conversation, which should have been a disengagement with my operator, wasn’t what I had expected. To this day, I am still with this same operator and it was that conversation with the customer advisor that made me stay.

You need to understand one thing: if a client calls you and asks for a compensation for his aggravation, he’s in fact giving you a teeny tiny chance to recover his loyalty. It is therefore crucial for you to fight to solve his problem, and to convert his dissatisfaction into satisfaction. The attitude of the customer advisor will determine the success in the “recovery” of a discontented client. Don’t forget, empathy and proactivity are grounds for successful customer relationships. Fight for your clients, they’re the ones sustaining the life of your company!

Personalization to ensure their commitment

We’ll never tire of saying it, a personalized customer experience is expected by the consumers, but it’s also a great opportunity for brands. Indeed, 69% of Internet users hope to live a personalized experience. And such an experience plainly requires a quality customer service. Using appropriate tools greatly facilitates the possibility of personalizing the experience. Tools like Customer Relationship Management or Click-to-Chat are insightful; they help you to know your clients better and to offer them a personalized customer experience and monitoring.

Of course, the final goal is to convert your visitors, to win their loyalty and to commit them to your brand. Their commitment will result from recurring purchases on your website, but also from the promotion of the brand by your own clients via mouth-to-mouth, social networks or customer opinions. Visitors’ commitment to your website is good proof of the efficiency of your customer relation strategy. Sure, consumers are increasingly demanding, but they also know to thank brands that strive to offer them a quality experience.

Employee motivation, a vital asset

This can seem surprising, and yet! The motivation and well-being of co-workers play a predominant role in the success of a customer relation strategy. Indeed, a happy co-worker, focused on the client and the objective to satisfy him, will turn out to be an excellent asset to offer a quality customer service.

You can see a smile, but you can also hear one! When you call customer service, you can immediately tell the difference between an involved and motivated advisor and a disinterested advisor in solving the problem.

Incidentally, Zappos understood this concept very well since the well-being of its employees is at the heart of its customer relation strategy, which happens to be the basis for its success. The following sentence sums up their state of mind: “Happy employees make for enchanted customers”. In the end, happiness is contagious on the Web!

Focus on clients

It’s an obvious factor, but unfortunately many firms still fail to remember it. The “power” of decision-making goes to consumers; and this power is intensified by new technologies and tools available to them for their consumption. Consumers no longer simply buy a product, they purchase an experience. And if it isn’t a good one, they change brands and head for a competitor. Competition is becoming increasingly harsh, and consumers are making the most of it: they are more and more demanding.

Looking at this analysis, it is easy to conclude that a company must consider and respond to their expectations. Given the stakes and the importance of customer satisfaction, it would be awfully dangerous to ignore your clients when defining your strategy. Stay focused on clients: listen, understand, adapt.

If you wish to learn from a brand that owes most of its success to its customer relationship strategy, take inspiration from Zappos. Its exceptional customer relationship strategy not only generated satisfaction, but it also brought massive media exposure. If you wish to get good ideas for your customer relations, Zappos is clearly the firm for you!