These days, you're not the only lemonade stand in town – in fact, you might not even be the only lemonade stand on the block. To stand out, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition any way possible. How do you do that? By improving customer satisfaction! You don't need to reinvent the wheel (last cliché, I promise!), but when it comes to customer retention, you may need to give it a spin every now and then to make sure it's still working.
What customers appreciate even more than a great product, is proactive customer service. If you're constantly looking for ways to increase satisfaction for your product, it won't go unnoticed. What can you implement, today, to improve customer satisfaction and keep customers happy and loyal?
Here are 5 techniques.
1. Add Value to Your Brand
Everyone loves free stuff – think Starbucks; how much do you love that free cup of coffee on your birthday? Or, when you’ve finally earned enough Star Rewards to cash in on a venti mocha whatchamacallit. The opportunities for your brand to add value through small rewards are endless. Start by determining the appropriate offerings for your customer base. If you’re a tech company, think about some fun merchandise you could send to customers; e.g. stress balls, screen cleaners, mouse pads, or other tech related gear – branded with your logo and taglines, of course. Or, instead of giving something away for free, create a bulk or term discount. Offer a reduction on price after an individual purchases a large quantity of your product or service, or offer a reduction on total payment if you pay by X date. These may seem simple but they go a long way and your customers will reward you for this by remaining loyal for a longer period.
2. Renegotiate with High Valued Customers
It can be tough, the last thing a business wants to do is offer more without taking a larger profit. The risk, however, is worth the reward. If you provide your customers with a promotion that could include higher quality service, alternative payment plans or other simple contract changes, this can help you retain those customers who are on the fence, and for those that aren’t – further solidify your relationship.
Take Time Warner Cable for instance: have you ever had a near-cancellation experience? You might have already made up your mind, and decided to pull the plug but just when you thought you would be making your final phone call, the company offers you a new customer discount that will reduce your rate. And what do you do? The same thing anyone would in your predicament -- you continue your service instead of cancelling. It’s a strategy that has existed since the dawn of time, and there’s a reason why telecommunications companies, media companies, and even exes are still using it (“please don’t leave me. I promise to do the dishes”). Renegotiation works! Plain and simple. No need to create brand new programs here either; if you have new customer programs, simply extend those to those customers who you deem most valuable, or those who have invested a significant amount of time into your product or service.
3. Apprise Customers of New Product and Service Offerings.
This is an easy one and it doesn’t require a whole lot other than promoting what you’re already doing for the customer. The question here is, “how?” There are plenty of ways to do this. Here are a few quick and easy ideas to get started:
- Utilize your website. Your own website is a great place to update customers on new offerings. If your customers log-in regularly, you can add news about updates right within the login portal or offer a banner on the home page as they’re navigating to sign-in.
- Email your contacts. There’s no better tool for delivering updates than email. If you keep great records of your customer’s contact information, then this is a perfect channel to use. If not, add a simple opt-in form on your website where customers can sign-up for your regular product updates.
- Connect on social media. Ask your customers to connect with you on your social media channels. This is a great way to share quick information with your customers on product and service additions, exciting news, and other relevant information.
4. Upsell Your Customers
Tread lightly here. There is an opportune moment to upsell a customer on new additions or added services. See our recent blog, The Relationship Between Service & Upsell Opportunities to learn more about this topic. However, if you’re doing it correctly – upselling a customer can lead to a more satisfied customer. Keeping them in the loop on new product offerings will keep your product fresh and ensure that you’re keeping up with the competition.
5. Be Proactive
An unhappy customer isn’t always easy to spot and neither is a happy one. Above are some ways you can remind your customers you are thinking of them, and that you have their best interests at heart. This list isn’t all-encompassing and it won’t solve all your customer retention problems. You need to take note of issues as they arise and begin compiling solutions that you can roll out to all your customers. A consistent focus on superb customer service will allow your company to increase retention. Ensure that your team is in the loop in determining improvements and optimizing the customer experience from new customers to long-term. Don’t forget, a proactive approach is much better than a reactive approach.
There are many ways to boost customer satisfaction of your product or service. Spend a little time determining what areas you can improve. If you want to retain the customers you have, there’s no better time to start than right now.