In this fast-paced digital age, reaching out to the desires of consumers is more important than ever, particularly when your business is centered online and at their fingertips. In e-commerce, competitors are only a few clicks away, and just around the corner social media platforms provide an uncensored soapbox where customers can voice their dissatisfaction. Companies that get customers on their side see soaring profits, while others get crushed under a seething mass of keyboard-smashing, multi-exclamation-point-wielding rage.
Research shows that a social customer will tell an average of 42 people about a good customer experience, whereas that same customer will tell an average of 53 people about a bad experience! In order to build business loyalty and to turn scathing complaints into glowing recommendations, take some advice from seasoned business and e-commerce leaders:
1. “There are so many new ways to serve customers. Technology, data, and information are opening new doors for us to lead through. Our purpose of saving people money will always be relevant, but we’ll do it in new ways.” –Doug McMillon (CEO, Walmart; via NY Times)
Customer needs are the guide to your decision-making. Intelligent, self-learning automated customer service can make a great addition to your customer service, allowing you to provide swift, efficient, round-the-clock service to your customers without compromising quality. These systems have the ability to learn, remember, and collect and analyze data so the next time that a similar question will appear, the answer will be much more satisfying to the customer. Also, based on the analyzed data, you can always change the information that appears on the product page and improve the information you provide your costumers based on their own questions and requests.
2. “Customer service shouldn’t just be a department; it should be the entire company.” –Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos; from his book Delivering Happiness)
Every cent you earn depends on serving your customer, so your entire business should be set up to serve your customers efficiently. No matter what a given department title may be, customer service must be a priority and an end goal. From top management to entry-level positions, everyone working for your company should live and breathe customer satisfaction. If flawless customer service becomes the definitive incentive of your employees and the motivation of their every action stems from the understanding that it will ultimately reach your consumers, you will guarantee increased success by way of reverse engineering.
3. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” –Bill Gates (Founder, Microsoft; via Shopify)
Like many intelligent individuals, Gates has always been renowned for his ability to make lemonade out of lemons. We all love to be told what a good job we’re doing, but real development actually comes from the complaints that companies receive. When you fail to reach customer satisfaction, aim to delve into their claims rather than disregard them as useless complaints. More often than not, the process of learning from your business mistakes can indeed prevent future disputes. Most importantly, archiving this data and flagging down reoccurring incidents can improve your service while creating a far more pleasant workplace. The results are irrefutable: sustainability, scalability, and success.
4. “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.” –Jeff Bezos (Founder and CEO, Amazon; via Econsultancy)
Customer satisfaction is more important today than ever. 140-character tweets reach many more people than word-of-mouth ever could. That’s why it’s worth taking extra time to make your customer experience as pleasurable as possible. Never allow momentary success go to your head – remember that for every handful of happy customers who don’t have time to write a positive review, there is one enraged customer looking to share his irritations with the world, and it will spread like wildfire. Avoid modeling your customer support on ancient physical world manners and learn to assimilate to the best practices of the dynamic nature of the Internet. This means training employees to be professionally responsive to forums, talk-backs, reviews, and comments and to take a proactive role in preventing unhappy customers from bad-mouthing your company.
5. “We build automated systems that look for occasions when we’ve provided a customer experience that isn’t up to our standards, and those systems then proactively refund customers.” –Jeff Bezos (Founder and CEO, Amazon; via FastCompany)
Amazon keeps its customers coming back by implementing automated systems that work to improve customer experience. By going that extra mile with a top-end automated system like intelliresponse or nanorep, your customers get the help and support they need more quickly, as well as detailed, actionable answers to any queries, at any time. It can be difficult to provide uncompromising customer service at the speed and rate that your users are looking for these days. Automated systems provide a knowledgebase that can make today’s problems tomorrow’s solutions, and increase the accessibility of your products and services to your clients on a 24/7 basis. In cases of questions that require more sophisticated responses, the system can transport the customer to a human service representative.
6. “Forget about your competitors, just focus on your customers.” –Jack Ma (Founder, Alibaba Group; via StartupQuote)
It’s tough out there. The Internet is flooded with companies that threaten to do it bigger, better, or stronger than you. No matter what the product or service may be, the only chance you have to succeed above the rest is to ensure that you are in constant touch with the needs and concerns of your driving force – your clientele. As the experts at nanorep explain, “Your customers want to be understood on their own terms and have personalized customer service experiences.” Do your research, understand the behavior and preferences of your consumers, and gain their unconditional support. Place your focus on pleasing your customers rather than just keeping up with competitors.
Ultimately, if you prioritize client experience, they’ll respond by placing more orders.
For more insight on the customer experience, see How Customer-Centric Omnichannel Leaders Extend Their Advantage.