Customer satisfaction and how sales plays a role in it.
A Walker study found that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
I moved to a new house recently and among other basic amenities I looked for an internet provider in the area. My existing service provider didn’t serve the new location. First scenario: I promptly applied for a new connection with a local vendor. They promised that their connection would be available everywhere within 24 hours.
Strangely, I didn’t get the connection for the next 3 days. I received no calls and no follow-ups, and my calls were sent to customer support (who weren’t very supportive after all). When I called them, they couldn’t even track the status of my request and I ended up placing several calls, each one a new ticket.
Second scenario: My search still on, I got approached by another local vendor who somehow found out that I could be a potential customer. They offer me a free and quick installation and got things running within 24 hours. I’m glad I found them and am quite happy with their service.
Third scenario: Even after my initial happiness, I jumped at the chance of changing my service provider, after a few months of service. A new service provider was in town that made me offers related to the location. I swiftly changed over to them. A few months into the service they curated a personalized package with my data usage in mind.
In the next few months I faced some connectivity issues which they solved promptly. Not only that, they gave me special privileges like an upgrade for being a loyal customer.
I stayed with this provider for the rest of my stay in that house. When I move to a new location, the first thing I check is whether they are available in my new area.
Now let’s analyze my customer journey:
In the first scenario, it was just bad service. The company didn’t follow up on their word and ended up losing a potential customer.
That relationship was pretty straightforward. It ended right where it started.
The second scenario is a bit more complicated.
I was happy with their service. It was prompt and gave me what I wanted. It made me happy, but I still wanted more value.
So in the third scenario, as soon as the next vendor approached me with a relevant, value-added service, which they had anticipated and served at the right time, I took the plunge.
Then they continued to keep me satisfied with their service, because as a customer I’ll always be looking for more value for my money.
Customer satisfaction is when your customer’s needs are getting met every time. The offer has to fit the customer profile right. In my case, that meant adapting to geographical location, personalized data packs.
Customer success is no guarantee of customer loyalty, because it’s a one-time thing. Even happy customers churn. On the other hand, satisfied customers complain, but they stay.
Satisfaction in service is a continuous process, not an one-time thing. Every success adds up to satisfaction, long term satisfaction added with extra perks adds up to long term happiness.
People who complain are the ones who still believe in your ability to make it right. That’s why they are not silently leaving.
“91% of unhappy customers who are non-complainers simply leave.” (HuffingtonPost)
Recipe for customer satisfaction:
“Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
Customer satisfaction is what builds loyalty.
Customer satisfaction is built upon a history of good service and successful transactions. So if there is a glitch in the service at any point, a satisfied customer would rather give you a chance to improve and correct the mistake than abandon you.
Remember the first service provider I spoke about? If only they had come up with a valid reason for delay with a follow-up email or call. Communication like that would have motivated me to give them another chance rather than switching to the next vendor at the first chance.
This is where a good CRM is essential. By keeping track of customer interactions and automating follow-up communication, sales people can ensure that customers are always updated and that they stay with the brand.
Even after the sales process is done, it is important to make customers feel like a part of the process. Sending out birthday or anniversary mailers will make them feel more connected to your brand.
When a potential client reaches out to you, you bend over backwards with claims of having their needs met. When the client bites the bait, whoosh! There’s nothing that you promised.
In the case of the first service provider, it may be that their service really is available within a day in different areas, but not where I live. However, from my perspective their claims were clearly inconsistent with what actually happened. Even if a peer told me that their service is actually good, it might not convince me because I have witnessed their inconsistency firsthand. Customers remember your consistency. Brand image is built over time.
Take the example of their customer service: when I called them up asking about an update, they couldn’t give me one.
Even after I got a new connection I kept getting calls from the previous vendor insisting on their service. People who were calling me had no clue why I didn’t opt for them in the first place. At first I gave them feedback. From the second time onward it was just annoying to explain to them their mistake.
With a CRM which allows salespeople to look at previous customer interactions, the scenario would have been different. From the very first time I called them about a connection, my interactions with them would have been recorded. So, no matter whom I spoke to afterwards (sales or customer service), they would have had a fair idea of what I was talking about. They would have been able to pick up from where they left off.
What customers want from sales people:
Be dependable: When you are convincing a prospect to buy your product, you are also taking on a huge responsibility to follow through. So, if you promise them something, make sure you can provide it. As a sales person you represent your brand. If a customer reaches out to you in a time of need, just showing them the way to customer service isn’t going to make you look dependable. Remember it was your words that they trusted when the purchase happened. Be empathetic, listen to what happened and what they need.
Don’t be pushy: Since I had reached out to a few internet providers in my area, I keep getting these promotional mails from them all the time. Most of them are irrelevant to me. It almost seems like their motto is “let’s flood their inboxes!” Imagine what kind of reputation they are building here. Even without knowing their service, I perceive them as irritating. It’s best to do relevant research before reaching out. If the customer is not in need of your product, then don’t go around pestering them.
Don’t go back on your word: You said you would give them free internet for a month, then you didn’t. You may come up with seven different reasons why, but in the end your brand image suffers. When you are not sure about deliverability, don’t promise. It’s crucial to stay updated about your products and services across the whole company. Using a CRM that established collaboration between teams and unifies enterprise-wide communication is the key to stay updated. The more you educate yourself about your product, the more you can tell your clients about it. Make sure you’re not making any claims that don’t align with your product features or company offers. This will not only make you a liar, it will also directly impact the company’s reputation.
Curiosity: There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to customers. Generic thinking does not cultivate customer happiness or satisfaction. Working to understand the uniqueness of each customer and providing solutions will set you apart from the competition.
Your customers are your cheerleaders, loyal customers are your biggest advertisement. Providing them with a seamless customer journey and keeping them satisfied with your product in the long run will insure uninterrupted revenue flow. Investing in a good CRM makes sales and marketing processes efficient, leading to better customer interactions and a satisfying customer journey. From following up with customers to sending the right promotional mail at the right time, sales and marketing automation saves time and manual effort. It decreases the number of missed opportunities by recording customer interactions and keeping track of your leads and potentials.
How do you ensure customer satisfaction? Let us know in the comments.