There are many benefits of world-class customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers stay with you longer and spend more with your company.
80% of a company’s future revenue will come from 20% of its existing customers, so keeping them satisfied is imperative.
Plus, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
So, let’s get down to brass tacks. How do you delight customers and maintain world-class levels of customer satisfaction? Here are 31 best practices that will generate satisfied customers, boost your reputation as a company that satisfies, and have prospects knocking down your door:
1. Be responsive
Respond to customers rapidly when they need your help. If they need customer support, be sure to reply as quickly as possible. And if you’re not able to do that, hire more support reps.
Have sales agents respond quickly to sales questions. If responses are slow, your customers and prospects lose faith in your ability to serve them.
2. Have a robust customer support presence
It’s critically important that customers can reach you and receive excellent customer support. You will lose customers if your team is not able to solve problems quickly and help customers be successful in using your product.
3. Offer multi-channel support
Provide multiple ways for customers to reach you when they need support. Use live chat functionality on your website. Provide email and telephone support. Respond to support questions on social media. Ensure your customers can reach you on the communication channel they prefer.
4. Hire top talent
Your ability to deliver a great customer experience depends on who is delivering it. Look for and hire top talent. Don’t look for the cheapest employees. Pay more for the best, and they will deliver a customer experience that keeps customers satisfied.
5. Survey customers and implement changes
Use an all-in-one CRM that includes online survey features. Send surveys after each support call to gather feedback. Also, send an annual survey asking customers what you can improve with your product and your support.
Always make a point to implement changes or enhancements based on that feedback and share those changes with your customers, so they know you’re listening to them and are taking their best interests to heart.
6. Reach out to check in
Have someone reach out to each customer on a routine basis to check in, see how things are going, and ask what they might need to get better use out of your product or service. Have account reps reach out. Or, have an executive reach out personally if you want to wow your customers.
7. Send an email newsletter
Use your marketing automation solution to send a recurring email newsletter. New information is always available, and your customers deserve to be kept in the loop. Notify them about new content that will help them, product enhancements, bug fixes, changes in top management, etc.
8. Provide education on best practices
Create blogs, eBooks, and other content that educates your customers on emerging industry trends and best practices. Help them solve common problems. Show them that you will lead them to success by educating them and ensuring they can work smarter and better.
9. Create a knowledge base
Add a knowledge base to your website. Include as many self-help articles as you can. Customer satisfaction will grow if they can easily find answers to their own questions without wasting 30 minutes on a support call.
10. Implement a knowledge base feedback channel
Include the ability for customers to provide feedback on the content in your knowledge base. Send them an email asking them to navigate there and chime in. They can request improvements to existing content or ask for missing content to fill the gaps.
11. Deliver user guides
Your customers need to know how to use every feature of your product or service to the fullest. Otherwise, they won’t receive the maximum ROI and are likely to leave you for a competitor. Create user guides on every feature or aspect of your product, complete with images to guide them.
12. Provide robust onboarding to new customers
Don’t sign up new customers and then forget about them. Put in place a robust onboarding program that prepares them to use your product effectively. This will give them confidence in using your product.
Give them a dedicated customer success rep who runs their entire onboarding program. Check out what a highly effective onboarding program looks like.
13. Offer free training
User guides are great when someone needs to reference a specific feature of your product. But deeper dive training courses take it a step further. Offer live virtual training classes on a variety of topics. Record them and make them available on your website.
14. Engage customers on social media
People will comment on your social media posts, regardless of which social channels you use. Use social listening tools to alert you when someone mentions your brand.
It’s important to respond to their comments and engage with them. It shows them that you are listening to their needs and interests. Provide helpful feedback if they have questions. Thank them if they compliment you. Customer satisfaction will get a boost if customers feel you are hearing them.
15. Use a CRM to get to know your customers
Using an all-in-one CRM lets you gather and store great amounts of personal and professional data about your customers. Use that data to get to know your customers. Understand their interests, pain points, products used, past buying behavior, and more. In this way, you can have personalized interactions with them that make them feel like you know them and care about their success.
16. Treat customers like partners
Your business wouldn’t exist without customers. Your relationship with them is a mutually-beneficial partnership. Treat them like partners rather than just someone who pays you. Ask for their opinions. Find out what they need to be successful. They will be delighted if they feel like a partner and not a nameless money machine.
17. Increase first contact resolution rate
First contact resolution (FCR) rate is the percentage of support cases that you resolve on the first attempt. It means not having to escalate an issue and engage in an extensive back and forth. It tells them that you value their time. And 77% of customers say that is the most important thing you can do to deliver excellent service.
18. Use dedicated help desk groups
Dedicated help desk groups are teams of support reps that specialize in a particular product or service. They are your reps who are best equipped to solve support cases around those products or services. Segment customers into groups that use those products or services. When they call, they get routed to someone in that dedicated support group who can resolve their issue faster and more effectively.
19. Ensure all employees know the product in and out
Every employee should be able to explain your product end to end. They need to receive advanced training on your product and how to use it. They are the face of your company. If they can’t answer customers’ questions about your product, it will make your company look amateur.
20. Solve problems before they arise
Pay close attention to how successfully your customers are using your product. Take the time to identify potential issues they may be facing. Then proactively solve those problems before they arise.
This will surprise your customers and leave them delighted and impressed with your company. Taking this type of initiative will make customer satisfaction skyrocket.
21. Fix bugs or defects rapidly
Every product will eventually have a bug or other defect that you will need to address. Put a system in place to identify them. Make it a top priority to resolve them as rapidly as possible. A buggy product can frustrate customers beyond belief. If you fix issues quickly, customer satisfaction will remain high.
22. Keep customers in the loop
Do you have a new product release or update coming up? Are you changing your pricing and billing structure? Have you moved your office to a new location or changed any of your contact info?
Tell customers about these developments. You can do so either by email or via social media—or preferably both.
23. Reward loyal customers and brand advocates
Customers who have been with you for multiple years are exhibiting brand loyalty. Reward them for sticking with you. Give them a discount or other type of offer to show them you value their partnership with you. Do the same with brand advocates.
24. Use service level agreements and never break them
Service level agreements (SLAs) are contracts between you and your customers. They define the service that customers can expect from you. Signing an SLA means that you are committing to delivering that level of service. They give customers peace of mind and build trust.
The old adage, “under promise and over deliver” applies here. Don’t promise something you can’t deliver. Never break your SLAs. Instead, always over deliver and you’ll maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
25. Maintain satisfied employees
Maintaining high levels of employee satisfaction is key to customer satisfaction. Happier employees have higher morale, work harder, and care more about your customers.
Execute employee surveys to see what is working and what is not in the workplace. Implement their suggestions. You can also run employee engagement initiatives like employee volunteer or employee giving programs. Doing so will illustrate that you care about the community. Increasingly, job candidates take a company’s corporate social responsibility presence into their decision to work for a company.
26. Study online reviews and take action
It’s a bummer when you see a severely negative review of your company online. But you can’t please everyone. Rather than getting angry or defensive, think critically about how you can improve the areas that customers are unhappy with. Routinely check for reviews on social media, Google My Business, Glassdoor, and other review sites.
27. Always reply to blog comments
Writing a blog is a great way to educate your customers and attract new ones. If someone takes the time to read your blog and submit a comment, publish their comment as quickly as possible. If it’s highly negative, you can choose not to publish it.
If it’s a compliment, take the time to respond and tell them how much you appreciate their feedback. It’s a great way to engage customers and demonstrate that you’re paying attention to them. It also results in greater brand loyalty. Plus, ignoring comments from customers is just plain rude.
28. Show your customers that you work for them
As mentioned above, your company wouldn’t exist without customers. Essentially, they are your boss, not vice versa. Treat them like that. Be very attentive to their concerns. Go out of your way to address their requests. If they feel they have some control over the relationship, customer satisfaction will rise.
As Sam Walton, founder or supermarket giant Walmart said: “There is only one boss – the customer.”
29. Provide a channel for product enhancement suggestions
Your product should be built and enhanced based on what customers need and want. Adding new features that you think are cool but have not been validated by customers makes no sense.
Provide a channel—such as a closed forum only accessible to customers—where they can request product enhancements. Allow other customers to like and comment on those requests. A request that only one customer wants shouldn’t go into the product. If various customers validate the request by saying they also want it, make plans to include it in a future update.
30. Host free user groups
User groups are sessions where customers come together to learn new product info and discuss their usage of your product. You can gain great insight into their mindset by allowing them to engage in dialogue.
Plus, it enables customers to form a community among themselves. They can then reach out to each other for tips and for help in solving problems. You can host user groups virtually via a webinar or online conferencing solution. Or, you can hold them at a physical location, like your office. But virtual user groups are more likely to generate higher attendance.
31. Measure customer support performance
How are your customer support agents performing? You can use CRM metrics to track performance. Measure things like:
- First contact resolution rate
- Average response times
- Ticket backlog
- Adherence to SLAs
- Customer support survey results
- Knowledge base article rankings
With this deep insight, you can identify areas in need of improvement. This lets you continually elevate the quality of your customer support. And an excellent customer support experience is directly tied to high levels of customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction is key to growing your business. Don’t underestimate the importance of customer satisfaction surveys. There are many types of customer satisfaction surveys, such as CSAT, NPS, and CES. Use those to gauge how you are doing. Follow the tips above, and you’ll maintain world-class customer satisfaction levels that will drive serious growth for your business.