The basics of getting customer care right in your business

Did you know that poor customer service leading to just one negative experience, will cause 51% of customers to never do business with that company again?

It’s important to never underestimate the importance of first-class customer care in your business – whether you’re a freelancer or an established company with multiple employees. It’s estimated that UK businesses lose as much as a combined £12 billion a year due to poor customer service.

Without customers you don’t have a business, and as I’ve discussed in a previous blog, it’s much easier to sell again to an existing customer than it is to attract new leads and convert them. The problem is that customer loyalty is at an all-time low right now. You probably shop around and switch companies for a better deal, right? Your customers are doing the same which means you need to keep on top of your customer care to make sure they’re not enticed away by the competition.

Your business reputation can easily be damaged

Your reputation is what you rely on to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Any damage to that caused by bad reviews, word of mouth or negative press can cause customers to go elsewhere.

When consumers were asked what impacts most on their level of trust with a company, the number one factor was excellent customer service. With a trusting relationship in place it’s easier to upsell, renew contracts and gain new clients through referrals and reviews.

It’s your good customers that will take you through the difficult times and keep your business cash flow healthy.

Take action to discover what your customers feel about you

Do you know what your customers really feel about you and the customer care you provide?

Implement a customer feedback survey that you can use to capture data at the end of a project, contract or even once a year if your customers are long term. This should be a simple form with just enough questions to get the information you need, such as:

  • helpfulness of staff, how polite they are, etc
  • satisfaction rating (use a system like 5 stars, or a scale of 10)
  • how long it takes for a phone call/email to be answered
  • how long it takes for a problem to be resolved
  • how reasonable the service/product is in terms of price (a happy customer will pay more!)

These questions are specific to you, your business and how you operate. A call centre will have a very different survey to a freelancer, so consider how you run your business and what your customers are likely to be expecting from you when planning your survey.

You also need to consider the best way to ask these questions. A freelancer may find it more beneficial to ask these questions directly at a face-to-face meeting or phone consultation, whereas a larger company may use an email survey or even outsource to a market research firm.

Evaluate the data to inform your next steps in providing better customer care

Picture of a notebook, phone and laptop ready to analyse customer feedback dataUse the data you’ve collected from the survey to establish what you’re doing right, any problems with customer care and what you can do to improve things moving forward.

If you repeat the survey, how has the data changed over time? Have the actions you’ve implemented made a difference and customer care is improved, or are things getting worse?

One of the best approaches for any sized business to take is to implement an account management process. Decide how often to review your client base, the contracts in place, the communication that’s taking place (if any) and how you can make the purchasing process easier for them. This might be as simple as sending a monthly newsletter with your latest news, services and special offers for existing clients.

For larger businesses, make sure you have a customer account manager in place. Their job should be to keep in touch with customers, ensure that any issues are resolved quickly and to the clients’ satisfaction and seek feedback on how to improve. Having a key person in place that your customers know to contact will make is easier for them to address any issues they may have before they affect your brand reputation.

Excellent customer care is crucial if your business is going to be a success. When loyal customers are 5 times more likely to repurchase, 4 times likely to refer, 7 times likely to try a new offering and 5 times likely to forgive, are you doing enough to keep your existing customers happy and loyal?

If you’d like an expert eye to evaluate what you’re doing and suggest ways that you can improve your customer experience, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me today.