By Joanna Swash, Group CEO of Moneypenny
Customer satisfaction and loyalty is a business factor that should never be underestimated. Full stop. But in this ever more digital world it will prove ever more critical to business success. And what this means, is that we have to work even harder at keeping our customers satisfied and loyal to our brand, winning hearts and creating brand ambassadors.
The very definition of the digital world means that we are not just taking about people interacting with people, but also people interacting with machines, and even machines interacting with each other. Instead of shying away from the digital world, welcome the new technologies to your business and allow your people to be even better at what they do. Ask the question, “how can we help you do more?” not only to your people but to your clients.
Choose the channel.
There are so many channels available to us today, choosing the right one to effectively deliver the message is crucial. And more are on the horizon as technological innovations come into their own.
Fundamental this, however, is using your data to answer the question, “how does your customer like to receive the information?”. There may not be just one answer to this, and it may not be the same answer for different queries or times of the day. But you should provide for this by offering options, from phone and email to Live Chat and self-screening health bots.
What’s more, it is not enough to simply offer the channel; you also need to make it as easy for your customer as possible. Get rid of the complications, those niggling issues that will irritate your customer. And consider, in this digital world, the factors of online and around the clock.
Today, customers want to know how your business is run. They want to know your story, and not just the corporate literature. They want to see that you are doing what you say you are. It is no longer simply about the product but about trusting an organisation to be what it says it will be.
Get to know your customers. Properly. The only way to get to know your customers is to communicate with them. True business partnerships are a two-way street and engaging with them, listening and learning is the key. Regular reviews of a customer’s service are a must, but they mean nothing if you don’t take any notice. Use them for the good of your business, to evolve and work together.
Ask them how you can help, what do they need from you and then facilitate the solution. This may mean innovations from you, reminding them of a complementary service you also offer or speaking with a trusted partner. Either way, their business is your business. At its most practical it is in your business interest but at its most efficient it is part of your purpose and values.
More than a number.
Customer service is all about making customers feel valuable and important and all customers deserve your full attention and a positive attitude. Do not treat them as a number or a one-off transaction. Put your customers at the centre of all that you do, making customer experience part of the DNA of your business, truly integrating it throughout every element. It is about more than simply serving them.
Now that the digital world offers customers so much more control and choice as well as ease of switching, the viewpoint of the customer is king. Walk in their shoes and, if in doubt, just ask.
It’s the little things.
Finally remember not to break your promises or forget your basic manners – if you say you will call back in an hour, do it; smile; say please and thank you. It doesn’t go unnoticed. The little things matter. Not only is it good business it is good PR, and that goes a long way.
It is a busy world out there and standing out from the crowd is becoming increasingly more difficult. Yet the voices of the satisfied customer ring out ever louder.
In a time when the business sphere is reimagining itself in a post-pandemic world, it is critical that we focus on the fundamentals and build agile capabilities for the future. However, in focusing on the applications of this, the new protocols surrounding hybrid working, maintaining innovation in the new ways of operating and building resilience in your culture, for example, it is critical not to get caught up in the functions and forget what is important, your customers.
Agility is the buzzword and those business who can truly adapt and give customers what they want, when they want it will be those who thrive in the future. It is about more than offering the cheapest price, it is about building loyalty and advocacy. Loyal customers are advocates for your brand, and that is far more powerful than any strategy and marketing campaign. So, take the time to look after your customers.
Without them you have no business. With them as ambassadors, advocates of your business, you will not only create a relationship of trust and loyalty, but also a connection, a loyalty that will strengthen your business. And, in doing so, reinforce your preparations to do business in an ever-changing business world.