Your customers are invaluable, not just because of what they mean to your livelihood, but because of how hard they are to replace. It can cost as much as five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing customer, and yet 44% of companies focus more on acquisition than retention.
The bottom line is that your current customers are incredibly important to your business’s sustainability and growth. High turnover and the need to constantly replace them with new business can be time consuming, costly, and it can hinder future growth.
Keeping current customers goes beyond retention levels, though. Most of your new clients will come from referrals, and social proof in the form of testimonials from your current clients increases the likelihood that new visitors will convert on your website.
Simply put, happy customers help you get new business.
For both reasons, it’s more important than ever to invest in a customer engagement strategy that allows you to build a strong, long term relationship that can have a direct impact on your long-term growth opportunities.
Gathering Feedback from your Customers
The first step to engaging with customers and building stronger relationships is to know what they think. Feedback is one of the most valuable resources you have at your disposal – a clear idea of what you are doing that works, what doesn’t work, and how you can improve your service quality.
Good feedback can be gathered in several ways, including:
- Using Support Tickets and Email Signatures – Offer a persistent option for customers to provide feedback, automatically following up via support tickets when a thread is closed and including a link in all employee signatures.
- Sending Quarterly Surveys – Quarterly surveys allow you to frequently re-engage customers and ask about their current happiness level. Include a Net Promoter Score question, “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend?” to determine who your promoters, passives, and detractors are. This will help to identify at-risk and promoter customers.
- Making the Process Fun and Easy to Encourage Participation – Let’s be honest. Surveys are boring, and most people won’t respond, so do everything in your power to increase the likelihood of engagement. This is a bit of a balancing act at times. You need to gather enough information so that it’s valuable and worth everyone’s time, but not so much that it’s intimidating and time consuming for the people completing the survey. Drawings for gift cards, contests, or fun survey questions can all help with this.
When structuring your surveys and feedback requests, make sure they are structured and written in such a way that you gain valuable insights. Knowing if someone is happy or unhappy is useful, but it’s much better if your survey determines why. Do they find you unreliable? Unresponsive? Unhelpful on the phone?
Find out where the issues are so you can address them directly.
Analyzing and Using Feedback Once Gathered
Feedback is pure gold for a service-oriented business. It is a tool you can use to identify areas for improvement. But in its raw form, it is more anecdote than data. To make truly lasting and impactful changes, you need to analyze and use the feedback in smart ways.
This starts by identifying general trends and areas for improvement based on a high-level overview of customer feedback, before building a plan on how to execute your changes. The truth is that only 4% of your unhappy clients will complain, so when you can elicit concern, you need a system in place to better utilize that data. The RATER framework helps do this by dividing service issues into five dimensions:
Developed by psychologists in 1988 to measure the difference between customer expectations and actual service provided, questionnaires designed to reflect these five factors can better help to identify issues and how they impact the overall experience. Learn more about the RATER framework and how to use it in your questionnaires here.
Once you have a clear sense of what these common issues look like, get a process in place. Any process for review and improvement is better than nothing. Somebody needs to be responsible for making these changes and they need a way to manage it. This includes:
- Clear Organization – Create a Trello board to organize incoming customer feedback and set reminders for when to send out surveys, follow-ups, and how to engage with people both internally and externally when negative feedback is received.
- Identifying At-Risk Clients – Using your survey, identify red flags that indicate an at-risk client. Low Net Promoter Score is a good starting point but look for other common questions that might indicate concerns.
- Identifying Promoters – At the same time, don’t ignore your promoters – those people with Net Promoters Scores of 9 or 10 and glowing overall feedback who love everything you do.
- Using Positive Testimonials and Case Studies – When you know your promoters, you can request permission to use their testimonials and feedback to populate your website and craft case studies that will help to drive business in the future.
With a clearly defined, easy to follow process in place and someone in charge of executing on it, you can make changes that will have a lasting change on your business.
Right now, you might be thinking “I know this is important, but I already send surveys to my clients and I don’t get many responses.” Maybe your website’s testimonials are out of date or you don’t have any at all.
You know how important all of this is and you want to act to identify at-risk clients, engage more with your top promoters, and collect customer satisfaction data that you can use to improve your business, but you don’t have the time.
Introducing One-Click CSAT Surveys from SimpleSat
At Pronto, we’ve always been fanatical about different aspects of customer service. We’ve tried a number of different survey tools out there, but were never completely happy with any one. So, we decided to build our own!
SimpleSat is a one-click CSAT survey and testimonial generating engine that helps you get the feedback you need quickly. Unlike other solutions, it’s designed to be turnkey simple – connecting to your website and PSA software, with support for third party tools like Brightgauge and Zapier.
Most importantly, SimpleSat addresses the biggest issue with customer satisfaction surveys – they are boring. With more fun, easy to use interfaces, colorful survey options to engage customers, and real-time testimonial publishing that reduces the time it takes to collect and publish that information, you can get more out of your surveys much faster.
The Next Step
Whether you decide to use SimpleSat or another solution, the most important thing you can do is to build a plan to engage with your clients as soon as possible. Create a process so that you are continuously gathering feedback, identifying those at-risk clients and working closely with happy clients to engage with prospects and improve your website. Doing this will increase overall satisfaction, improve your retention rate, and get you more referrals, ultimately driving long term growth and a healthier business.