7 Tips to Ensure Happy Customers in 2021
The bottom line is always top of mind for CEOs. But this focus will be especially critical in 2021 as companies deal with financial hits from the COVID-19 pandemic yet also seek to rebound with potential new growth opportunities in 2021. Your company can generate new sales, annual renewals and referrals by ensuring customers remain happy.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos attributes Amazon’s phenomenal success to the company’s customer focus: “The number one thing that has made us successful by far is obsessive compulsive focus on the customer.”
Multiple studies show that customers often become disgruntled within three months after a purchase because they feel the company neglects them. Some are reticent to admit they need help with the product or service. Others complain about their frustrations, and some do so while angry.
Effective communications are key to delivering superior customer service. As CEO, you set the business policies toward customers that your customer service representatives must follow. Furthermore, you must make training and resources available that enable them to succeed in those positions.
Keep in mind the following perspectives when shaping your company’s policies regarding customer services.
As Bill Gates advises, never forget that “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Your customer service communications have two focuses: (a) find a solution that resolves the customer’s frustration and can help turn a first-time purchaser or a disgruntled customer into a loyal customer and (b) understand what caused the customer unhappiness so your product development team or services team can improve delivery for all customers.
No matter how difficult the customer complaint interaction is, remember that the customer’s feelings are valid. Perhaps the conflict arose because the promised benefits of your product or services did not happen. Or perhaps the customer expected something different. No matter how angry the person is, your customer service rep needs to listen with empathy to the person’s feelings. Customers want to know that your company cares about them, listens to them and considers their opinions valid.
When your customer service rep asks what is wrong and the customer responds with a laundry list of frustrations or is generally unhappy with everything about your company, your rep needs to maintain a positive attitude and get the customer to focus on a specific issue that can be resolved. Trying to work with an impossible-to-please customer on unspecific issues will not achieve a satisfactory outcome.
Offer multiple options for solutions that resolve the problem and let the customer choose the solution he or she prefers. This demonstrates caring and empathetic listening, and customers want to know where they stand with your company. When offering a range of solutions, the customer service rep should indicate the company’s preferred solution and explain why it is the preference.
In a global business, keep in mind that your customers come from different cultural backgrounds. They likely have different ways of expressing anger or dissatisfaction and different opinions as to what is value. Again, your customer service representatives must demonstrate that your company considers all customers’ opinions (no matter how conveyed) as valid.
Customer service reps need to confirm that the disgruntled customer is on board with a selected solution. Ask: “Does this solution work for you?” If the answer is no, the rep needs to probe further to determine what will lead to satisfaction. However, keep in mind that some customers may answer that question with “yes” but be curt in answering or sigh loudly or grumble while saying “yes.” Again, the customer service rep needs to probe further to determine that the resolution reached is satisfactory to the customer.
Never forget the final personal touch. Once your company reaches a resolution with the complaining customer, send the customer a gift – a small token such as a gift certificate that shows your company values that customer. Alternatively, send the customer a letter (by postal mail, not email) that thanks the individual for sharing opinions about your product or service; or include the letter with the small gift. It can help erase a bad memory of the original dissatisfaction. This personal touch reminds the customer your company cares, and that will go a long way in generating a loyal customer.
Happy sailing! 😊