How to Gain Clients for a Lifetime

Kyra Deprez

What does the customer experience mean to you?  I want you to think of this not only from the standpoint of a business owner, or a start-up but as a consumer.  Have you ever ordered from Amazon and gotten your package the SAME DAY?  Or how about ordering Pizza Hut? You got your pizza 2 hours later, when you are hungry, cranky, and to top it off it is cold?  There is a stark difference between these two scenarios.  #1 your expectations were exceeded, #2 ultimate fail.  Is there really a question of which you would prefer as a consumer, doubtful.  So which customer experience do you provide?

Let’s take a look at a few important factors that drive a consumer’s choices.

In a report by Walker, Customers 2020, there is a clear indication that the customer experience is gaining momentum as a key differentiator. While price and product will always remain a factor it will become increasingly important for companies to take a customer-centric approach. While 2020 sounds like science fiction it is literally right around the corner.  If you have not already started to use your existing data to provide a personalized experience, now is the time.

In a research study conducted by Zendesk these three factors were found to have the highest impact on customer satisfaction rate: speed of response, speed of resolution and staff friendliness.  Delivering an on-time response to questions as well as problems will indeed increase customer satisfaction.

In 2013 66% of consumers globally switched their service providers due to inadequate customer service. Click To Tweet

Wow, I can say that being in a small business, if we lost 66% of our clientele at any given time, we would be in big trouble.  The numbers presented are based on large enterprise companies from a Global Consumer Pulse Survey report by Accenture. Regardless of the where the numbers are coming from they still should not be ignored.  Delivering exceptional customer service is the key to customer retention.

It costs 6 to 7 times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. Click To Tweet

I think that one is common sense.  We are all fully aware that every business thrives on their existing customer base, these are the people that keep the lights 0n.  We need to always put an effort into building and maintaining relationships with our current customers.  We do not want to chase new customers at the expense of our existing clientele.

We’re passionate about always doing the right thing for our clients, our people and our communities, even if it isn’t easy. – Bain & Company

So let’s take a look at just a few ways that we can ensure that exceptional customer service practices are followed through in every part of your organization.

First, we must understand whether or not everyone within the company understands the importance of customer service.  For most, this is simply common sense, but it does no harm to emphasize just how important it is. Creating an employee culture to instill customer satisfaction is key.  Having policies in place to deliver exceptional service from the first point of contact, as well as for any and all incoming complaints and mishaps. You can see more detail about how we handle our mishaps here:  Customer Mishaps and What to do About Them

Next, let’s take a look at your communications and how you store your customer information. The more you know about a client the better and faster you will be able to service them. If you are still heavily relying on a paper system, this can be incredibly time-consuming.  Chances are you won’t find what you are looking for if your information is more than a week old.

Having all your client's information in one repository is key. #CustomerService Click To Tweet

This way, you can track all of your interactions in order to provide a highly personalized service.  Not all of us have memories like elephants and what if another employee needs the information?   So, the more information that you can access quickly, the better.  This is also always for better more accurate communication within the

This way, you can track all of your interactions in order to provide a highly personalized service.  Not all of us have memories like elephants and what if another employee needs the information?   So, the more information that you can access quickly, the better.  This is also always for better more accurate communication within the company, and keeps everyone in the loop in regards to client preferences.

customer lifecylce
Source: Accenture

Communication is key.  Give your clients multiple ways to get in touch with you.  They should have access to a phone number(s) that are always responded to during business hours.  And any calls that roll to voicemail should, at least, be returned within 1 hour.  Online chat is an excellent communication tool.  Yup, even small businesses use this and busy folks love this app. Questions are answered quickly and efficiently by the same person that generally picks up the phone.  E-mail (no-brainer). Online forms: both to request information as well as provide feedback.  Then, of course, we have social media, but that is a whole other ball game.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 9.42.04 AM
Source: Accenture
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