Importance of Customers: The Different Types of Customers and Their Expectations When Calling In
Customers are the lifeline of a business. Without any customers (or enough of them), there is no business. If you want a long-lasting successful business, you must focus on your current customers‘ experience and satisfaction with your brand.
When it comes to churning, customer service is essential as 89% of consumers move their business to a competitor after a poor customer service experience. After all, customers are willing to pay more to brands that offer better customer service.
Competition is high for most businesses. Consumers call the shots and choose who they do business with. If your business fails at meeting (or exceeding) your customers’ expectations, there’s a good chance they won’t return to buy again.
Let’s dig into the importance of customer satisfaction, the different types of customers, and how to meet their expectations when calling in.
You spend your valuable marketing dollars to create and deploy catchy advertisements that attract new prospects. You draw them in by offering great products or services for a reasonable price.
Only a percentage of those prospects will make a purchase, though. For the others, you may have to put in additional marketing efforts to get them interested enough to buy. But still, only a small percentage will turn into customers.
When you turn a prospect into a customer, it may seem like a huge victory. All your hard work finally paid off.
What you do next is what separates the super successful companies from the average ones.
An unhappy customer has a decent amount of power over a brand’s reputation, as modern buyers actively search for unfiltered reviews before making their purchasing decisions. After all the time, money, and effort you spent drawing the prospect in and convincing them to buy from your company, you can’t afford to lose them after one poor customer support experience.
To get a steady flow of revenue and improve your bottom line, you want your customers returning to repurchase time and time. How do you do that? You blow them away with outstanding service that exceeds their expectations.
When a new customer calls in, they want a live person to speak with to help them understand your business, products, or services. This customer service representative may be the only human interaction the customer gets with your brand, so it must go well.
One interaction with a company can make or break the relationship with the customer. A friendly, helpful agent who listens to and understands the customers’ needs will help build affinity for your brand and turn a one-time buyer into customer loyalty.
On the other hand, if a new customer calls into your company for help and gets a voicemail instead of a live representative, it may cause frustration for them.
Even worse, if they call in and get poor service from a customer service representative, you might as well just kiss them goodbye as they will likely not return, and may go as far as to write you a negative review or two while deterring friends and family from trying you.
A customer that is returning to your business to purchase again is an achievement. That means you did well the first time around, but now is just as important because they have expectations you need to meet consistently.
A returning customer calling in wants to feel valued, appreciated, and connected to your brand. After all, you probably didn’t have to spend any marketing dollars to get them to purchase again, so customer lifetime value and the ROI on your initial efforts will rise.
But, a returning customer has expectations. They want the same excellent service you provided the first time around. They expect a friendly, helpful customer service agent to help them when they need it, day or night.
Remember, you are still competing for their business, so you must meet their expectations to retain them.
The Importance of Customer Retention
Profit, ROI, revenue, and bottom line are all terms on top of most business leaders’ minds while making business decisions. Sharp business leaders know that an easy way to increase revenue and improve their bottom line without spending a fortune on marketing is to focus on retaining their existing customers.
A customer database is a gold mine that many businesses forget to nurture. Customers not only close at a much higher rate, but they also spend on average 67 percent more than a first-time customer.
You spend less time convincing them your business is the best and they should buy from you, and the customer happily forks over more dough towards your products and services since they were satisfied in the past and trust your company.
Understanding the importance of customer service and having a great experience with your brand to retain more repeat customers should be a top priority.
Even if all you do is focus on customer experience and satisfaction, you will organically grow your revenue through repeat business, referrals, and word of mouth.
Referrals are the best thing since sliced bread. No, really. Your customer was so satisfied with your products or services that they told their friends or family about your business. Awesome, right?
Now, it’s your job to ensure you meet their expectations by providing the same excellent service they’ve heard so much about.
Turning this referral into a customer is the easy part. Ensuring you provide top-notch service to gain their trust and loyalty is critical. This referral may also be a referral source in the future for your business, so treat them like gold.
On the flip side, if the referral prospect receives poor service, they are likely to tell the person that referred them about their bad experience with your brand. And you can be sure neither will refer anyone to you again, one out of bad taste and one out of embarrassment.
Every customer is a potential referral source for your business. Satisfied customers will tell others about their positive experiences. They may go online to write reviews, letting thousands of people know about their love for your brand.
Don’t forget the old saying, ask and you shall receive. Ask your customers for referrals and to write a review online about your business.
Make it easy for them – send them a link to the exact place you want them to write the review. Make it beneficial for them, too – offer them a coupon for every person they refer that places an order or takes the time to write a review.
The truth is, a loyal customer has the potential to be a brand advocate and do quite a bit of marketing for your business without you even asking.
The subscription service is the newest and hottest retention method. You can sign up for a subscription to almost anything from clothes, to diapers, to wine. The possibilities are endless when it comes to subscription services today.
The beauty of a subscription business model is that it has customer retention built right in. Your customer signs up, and you lock them into repeat business. It’s an excellent way to bring in a steady stream of revenue and retain customers long-term with the simple toggle of a subscription option at checkout.
But the subscription business model isn’t always a walk in the park. You must ensure your subscription customers are satisfied and feel that they’re getting their money’s worth to retain them long-term.
You also must ensure the subscription process is seamless and minimal effort. When a subscriber calls in for help with an issue about their subscription, it’s critical to ensure you have customer support available to solve their needs quickly.
If not, they may cancel their subscription without you even knowing why, or even worse, your subscription may get a bad rep for being hard to manage, which will significantly deter future people from opting in for a regularly scheduled delivery of your product or service.
Your business could be satisfying them with the products, but poor service may cost you a subscriber. Ensuring your subscribers receive the service they need when they need it is vital for retaining them long-term.
The demand for exceptional personalized customer experience is growing, especially with millennials. This demand forces businesses to step up their game to provide the kick-ass service expected from their customers.
Without a doubt, customer service plays a significant role in which products and services a consumer uses and is loyal to.
Customer service may be one of the most challenging jobs within an organization. Dealing with people who have needs, issues, or are upset from the get-go is no easy task. It takes some training and expertise to know the best practices in customer service to win over every type of customer by the end of an interaction.
Consumers in today’s tech-savvy world expect customer service through multiple channels, too, including phone, SMS, social media, online chat, and email. Keep in mind that many consumers handle business after regular working hours, which means they expect your business to be available during that time.
Measuring Customer Satisfaction
The interaction between the service representative and the customer is critical for your success. Many relationships have gone sour after a poor customer service experience. Just one negative interaction can result in negative reviews and a bad rap for your business, which can sink your revenue.
Here’s a list of what modern consumers generally want from their experience with a customer service representative:
- Customers want you to listen.
- Customers want you to understand their needs quickly.
- Customers want service quickly.
- Customers want their needs met with a minimum amount of interactions, with one interaction per issue being the preference.
- Customers want service through the channel they choose at the time they need it.
- Customers desire a personalized experience.
- Customers want consistency.
- Customers prefer saving time over money.
- Customers expect you to be proactive.
- Customers love freebies and surprises, including upgrades.
Having customer service available when your customers need you is a huge advantage and could be the deal-breaker that separates your business from competitors.
Agents should be friendly and meet the customer’s needs quickly and efficiently while maintaining your brand image.
How To Meet (or Exceed) Customer’s Expectations
Meeting expectations for every customer sounds tough, right? Well, it can be a walk in the park to get it right every time if you set yourself (and your team) up for success. While there’s no foolproof plan to meet the needs of every customer, you can implement best practices to get closer to total customer satisfaction almost every time.
Here are some of the best practices for meeting customers’ expectations and leaving them feeling satisfied with your brand.
Build a Winning Company Culture
For sure, employees are the backbone of an organization. To build a winning team, you must hire correctly and build a winning company culture. A positive culture is proven to increase employee engagement, performance, and productivity.
When you hire awesome employees that are happy with their job, compensated fairly, and match the company culture, they are likely to be dedicated to the success of your business. A committed employee will go above and beyond to ensure your customers receive first-class services and leave satisfied.
Don’t assume new hires already know how to provide excellent customer service, even if they have past experience. Train them on how to best care for your customers in particular. Help them understand the importance of delivering exceptional customer service. Educate them on the steps they could take to achieve total customer satisfaction specific to your industry or product.
Rewarding employees who provide excellent customer service motivates them to keep it up and encourages others to follow suit. Make five-star customer service a company-wide goal. Include your mission statement and all that you do, reward work well done, and watch the trend grow like wildflowers throughout the office.
That being said, if you feel your company culture isn’t awesome, rewarding, and fun, take the necessary actions to turn it around before you lose your best employees and customers. Yes, it’s that important.
Understand Your Customer Persona
Different strokes for different folks. You wouldn’t speak to your 90-year-old grandmother the same way you would your friend. The same goes for communicating with your customers.
Knowing your customers’ demographics and interests will help you understand them better and provide personalized service. After all, personalized service is what consumers today expect.
To define your customer persona take a look at your top customers. Try to determine what characteristics they have in common and develop a customer persona, so it’s easier to understand what traits your customers want to see out of you when you serve them. Then you can customize your service to satisfy their needs and build closer relationships with your customers.
Get Customer Feedback
A good customer service team involved in managing feedback is essential. Getting customer feedback regularly is necessary to know if your customers’ needs are met and satisfied with your brand image. Sending surveys after a customer’s interaction with an agent will help you understand how your service satisfies their needs.
But gaining this valuable feedback is critical to attain total customer satisfaction and build a following of loyal brand advocates. Focusing on pleasing your customers is an excellent way to increase revenue and grow your business organically.
Develop an Awesome Customer Experience
So we’ve gone over the importance of customers, their expectations, and how to get feedback from them. Now it’s time to create a plan to deliver positive customer experiences and put it to action.
Look at all the touchpoints your customers have with your brand. Start with the ad that drew them in, the ease of ordering, the service provided, and the delivery. Are there any parts of your process that may be causing friction or lowering the customer affinity for your brand? Think of it this way: new customer, returning customer, referral, or subscriber, it should be easy and effortless to do business with your company.
Implement any changes you feel need improvement to wow your customers with an awesome experience. Sounds cliche, we know, but consumers today have higher expectations than they previously did, so a business must go above and beyond to stand out and gain a dedicated customer.
Remember, the incredible service you’re striving to provide your customers starts with your employees. They are the ones who interact directly with your customers. They can be seen as the face/voice of your company in the eyes of a customer.
Ensure your employees are happy with their job — this takes some effort. Acknowledging and rewarding your employees for excellent work will motivate them to continue. Create a company culture that is light and fun while working hard at reaching goals.
Make customer service a priority and ensure all employees understand the importance of it for the success of the company. Put it in your mission statement. Make getting five-star service surveys a game that all employees that interact with customers can play. And make the prizes something your team wants, so they do their best to attain it.
To Sum It Up
Customers are what makes a business thrive and succeed. It’s essential to understand your customers, the different types you have, and how to meet their expectations – every time.
Follow these steps to help implement the best practices to reach (almost) total customer satisfaction. You will retain more customers, get more referrals, and increase revenue with the correct processes and effort – all without spending a fortune on marketing and improving your bottom line.
Are you ready to wow your customers with totally excellent service? If so, contact Awesome CX today, and we’ll show you our way.
How To Make More Money Without Making More Sales | Forbes
How to Get Customer Referrals | Inc.com