We’ve all made New Year resolutions. New Year is a time for self-reflection and identifying areas for improvement that can make us better individuals. Well, the same goes for small businesses. As your small business grows its customer base and expands its brand presence, it’s smart to consider ways that you can evolve and new tactics that you can embrace to aid in that growth. Here are nine suggestions for New Year resolutions that will help you keep your customers happy, generate new leads, and continue to expand.
- Focus on customer satisfaction
Often, small businesses focus too heavily on acquiring new customers, and too little on satisfying and retaining existing customers. This can be quite damaging to sustainable business success, as customer satisfaction affects revenue in profound ways.
Every part of the customer experience contributes to satisfaction levels. It’s no longer enough just to have a good product or service. According to Walker Info, by 2020, customer experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator.
Many believe that losing customers is no big deal, as long as they are acquiring new ones. However, consider these statistics:
- It costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. (Source: Invesp)
- Existing customers will spend 67% more on a given company than new ones. (Source: Business.com
- Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% will increase profits by anywhere from 25% to 95%. (Source: Bain & Company)
In 2018, keep your eye trained on tactics that will delight your customers, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the impact that has on your bottom line.
Don’t rely on anecdotal evidence from individual customer interactions to determine whether customers are satisfied. It’s all too easy to let yourself develop a false sense of security based on a few positive interactions. We suggest using at least two of these tried and true metrics, in tandem, to accurately gauge satisfaction:
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): CSAT is based on a scale of 1 to 5. It is used to gauge customer satisfaction with a particular topic or product, with the customer rating their satisfaction as: 1) very unsatisfied, 2) unsatisfied, 3) neutral, 4) satisfied, and 5) very satisfied. It’s best used to measure short-term satisfaction.
Net Promoter Score (NPS): While the CSAT score can be used to measure short-term satisfaction, NPS is better used to measure long-term satisfaction, and thus customer loyalty. NPS was introduced in 2003, and is now considered the most reliable measure of customer satisfaction. It relies on a single question: How likely would you be to recommend our product or service to a friend or a colleague. Learn more about NPS.
Customer Effort Score (CES): CES measures the amount of effort a customer had to put into a specific interaction with your business. Higher levels of customer satisfaction largely depend on reducing the effort a customer must put forth when interacting with your business because it reflects how much you value your customers’ time. According to Forrester Research, 77% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.
- Adopt sales gamification
Human beings are, by nature, competitive creatures. We love to win, and we particularly love playing the game itself. This is why gamification of sales is such an ingenious idea. Sales reps compete against each other in categories like revenue generated, deals in the pipeline, prospecting calls placed, and more. A leaderboard shows where everyone stands against the competition, which is incredibly strong motivation for competitive people—seeing their name at the bottom of the list, below their colleagues, will motivate any sales rep to step it up. Users can also be rewarded for mentoring new employees and for collaboration with their colleagues, meaning that sales gamification not only motivates reps to produce better results but also to work together as a team in the process.
- Start a blog
A blog is a great way to display to your customers and prospects that you are an authority in your space. It is a core element of a robust inbound marketing presence. If your blog delivers helpful tips, best practices, analyzes industry trends, and solves common problems for your readers, they will begin to look to your blog for advice. The goal of an effective small business blog is to provide insights that make life easier for your readers. If you can do that, people will begin to share your blog content with their friends and colleagues, which generates excellent brand recognition.
- Give back to the community
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 64% of CEOs worldwide are increasing their investment in corporate social responsibility programs. Consumers today are much more aware of the need for social justice, environmental, and other altruistic programs—and they are increasingly looking to businesses to help fulfil that need. According to GivingSpring, 89% of Americans are likely to switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality. That’s eye-opening, to be sure. How do you become active in the community?
- Start an employee volunteer program. Give employees a few paid days off a year to volunteer for a cause. Organize events, track results, and take photos to share later on.
- Develop a workplace giving a program. Match employees’ donations to charities of their choice. Organize disaster relief donation drives when disaster strikes.
- Sharee your results. Keep track of how many hours your team volunteered each year, and how much you collectively donated. Then share that information with the community and your constituents through blog posts, emails, and social media.
- Leverage online appointment scheduling
Online appointment scheduling software automates the manual aspects of appointment scheduling. You select the time slots when you are available, then post your calendar online, and share the link so that customers and prospects can book those time slots themselves, at their convenience. Here are a few of the benefits that online scheduling provides to small businesses:
- Saves you time in the scheduling process: You can then spend that time on higher value tasks.
- Deceases no-shows: Customers and prospects are more likely to show up if you let them drive the scheduling process.
- Makes you more available: Customers can book a meeting on their own terms, rather than having to engage in a back-and-forth to find a time that works for you both, which can last days.
- Helps with lead generation: You can post your calendar link on your website, on social media or in your email signature, meaning that interested leads can easily find and book time with you.
Check out this article to learn more about the benefits of online appointment scheduling.
Live chat is an effective way to ease the burden on your customers. When they arrive on your website, a chat pop-up appears, giving them the ability to ask questions or create a customer support case right in that moment. Customers get the answers they need immediately and can carry on with their day, without having to wait around for a response. Millennials often prefer communicating via text messages and chat, over speaking on the telephone. And because millennials represent an increasingly large portion of consumers, adopting live chat on your website will help you better engage them.
- Develop an email newsletter
An email newsletter is a highly effective way to communicate important information to your customers and prospects. You can use a newsletter to share valuable content, provide updates on new product or service offerings, communicate important industry trends, and relay any other kind of pertinent information to your constituents. It’s important to keep your content in the newsletter itself brief, and link to blog articles and other content in its entirety so that the reader can quickly skim the email and navigate to the information that is most relevant to them. Another tip: decide on your email newsletter cadence and stick to it, so that readers know when to expect your newsletter in their inboxes.
- Subscribe to this blog
If you want to stay up-to-date on emerging industry trends that affect small businesses, this blog is the perfect place to do so. Our objective is to provide analysis, best practices, tips and tricks that help you work more effectively and efficiently so that you can grow your small business in a sustainable way. We try to help you stay ahead of the curve, so if you’d like to benefit from the insights shared here, subscribe to our blog on the right-hand side of this page.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of what your New Year’s resolution is, simply making one in the first place is a great step towards growing your small business. But, why just make one? Dedicate yourself to various New Year’s resolutions so that you’ll be sure to achieve some of them. After all, we all know how easy it is to let go of your resolution after a few weeks into the new year. What New Year’s resolution will you make? Let us know in the comments section below… And, happy New Year!