If you want more customers and also satisfied customers, then these are 4 steps you should consider:
- Simplify the process, make contact easy
- Be involved and help your client
- Provide clear and good information
- Share the experiences of others
1 – Simplify the process, make contact easy
We are all in a hurry and take little time to sit down for something. That means that you as a customer want a quick answer to questions that bother you. Fortunately we have Google and with that we can search if someone else has already found a solution for our question. Not that it always helps, you sometimes come across too much information or the wrong answers. Then you will not get out right away.
Asking a person instead of figuring it out yoruself may work better. Check with someone in your network, or call a company for more information. The latter is sometimes a consideration; you do not want to be stalked by sellers by announcing that you are looking for something. Or you hate those phone menu options that you have to go through. Maybe you’d rather ask the company a question via chat, then you still decide what you do.
Good – so far about the customer who is looking, and now let’s focus on you: as a marketer or seller you try to get customers enthusiastic for your services. And yes, now the customer wants to know more. This customer who is still looking for product information, you are happy to help. You ensure that you have the answers online to most questions that are asked. Through clear information on your website: what your products do you have, what can you do with it, you show examples of customer cases, or what you are good at, and you provide sufficient background information. FAQ’s and manuals can also make a difference, so that it is clear how to use the product in practice and how you support the customer.
Well then there is always the great moment that the customer is really interested and looking for contact. Therefore, make sure that you are reachable via e-mail, telephone, or chat – when the customer is looking for you. Are you a car salesman – yes, unfortunately, you will also have to answer that chat or mail in the evening. That is the moment that customer wants to know more or book a test drive. After all, he or she most likely has to work during the day.
If you work for a larger organization, it is nice if the customer can make an appointment at the first contact. Make sure your colleagues who take the call can see when they can schedule that appointment for you. Very useful if the customer can even schedule an appointment online. Saves time and is so easy.
From our own research we see that to say this simply you have two extremes in the type of customers: The “goal-driven person” who wants to make a quick decision, looks at the supplier’s reputation and estimates that he will be helped well. And the “well-considered choice person” who first wants to know and sort everything out and consults with more people before a choice is made. You will have to make the process easy for both personas, online and in personal contact. So a quick click path on your website for is good for one, but also sufficient facts and product information are needed for the other.
2 – Be involved and help your client
But finally there he is – the customer comes to you. Not every purchase or decision is equally obvious. The business customer will often have to justify the investment in your product or service. That means (1) that there must be a real reason (business pain) to look for a solution. And (2) that several people in the organization recognize that and are behind it to do something about it. And (3) then there is often the choice with which product or which party do we work with. And oh yes, (4) wrong decisions will impact my career. Your customer has to be sure to choose the right solution and have covered risks.
For consumers, the emotion, the moment or similar behavior of others will often play a role in the purchasing decision. It is also about own money and not about accountability to the employer.
The more involved you as a provider are in understanding the question and advising on possible solutions, the better the customer experience. After all, you help to make the question concrete and you provide a suitable solution and you help to reduce risks. By clarifying and emphasizing the purchase arguments you help the customer to rationalize the choice.
When we do customer interviews for our clients, we always ask what the initial need was, why they chose this product or service and how it solved their needs. By doing this, you get a better look at how they came to the choice and what contributes to a good or less good customer experience.
In the case of personal advice or a one-off purchase, the match with the person who gives the advice and his or her expertise is often of crucial importance. In addition, the final result always determines satisfaction. Good communication and making clear in advance what your product or service contributes to the solution makes the difference in the decision phase. Then it’s mainly about delivery and service – does it do what I expected and will you help me if it doesn’t work?
You can make conscious choices about how to respond to the customer experience and demonstrate your involvement. You can read more about this in 4 levels of customer experience.
3 – Provide clear and good information
Reputation and reliability are the foundation for a long-term customer relationship. This means that you must properly inform the potential customer in advance and you often have a certain obligation to ask questions in advance.
We all bought something on a whim, which is not used afterwards. Just look in the attic or in the shed, then you know what I mean. If you as a company provide services or products, then you must clearly describe what the specifications are and ask what the customer will use the product for. In some industries you even have a duty to investigate before you work with someone. So make sure you ask those questions and provide the correct information in the sales process. Or indicate in which situations your product fits best and why. You also see this more and more often in web shops, to prevent choice stress. The best choice, or most sold, is then highlighted.
On quotations, contracts and purchasing conditions, a good description of product and service comes a little more precisely, so make sure that they are correct.
Timing is also a choice. We investigate this with our Proposition Validation: checking why and when the customer chooses you. What we come across, for example, is that companies are late in the sales process with relevant information. The customer is then in the orientation phase making a choice from suppliers (shortlist) and is looking for decisive information about your product, organization or reputation. If you only communicate those unique selling points or position claims at the quotation stage, then you are too late. Often showing customer cases is already a good addition to show who you are and how you do it. By doing customer research you often discover the actual decision criteria of your customers. You then give it a recognizable place in your communication.
4 – Share the experiences of others
More than 50% of new customers often choose based on recommendations from others. That means that in the orientation phase, customers check how others experience your products. What they like about it and what is possibly less fantastic about your service. That can be done through online reviews, or simply by asking acquaintances or business relations – “how did they do the job? Who did you call in and what did that bring you? ” So make sure you ask about your customers’ experience and make them available to others (testimonials, customer cases) with their permission, or ask them to respond to your website or Google business (reviews). You can tell how good you are, when someone else tells you it is much more powerful.
It is also good to know that a satisfied customer makes repeat purchases more often. Based on good experiences and loyalty. And a satisfied customer ultimately costs you less:
- As a result, the percentage of complaints is lower, and there is less contact with customer service
- A satisfied customer is more willing to use new forms of service and communication
- A satisfied customer forgives easier if simple mistakes happen
Where to start?
We have given you 4 steps with which you can work on more and satisfied customers. Our advice is to start with one of the four and see what you learn from it. Before you make that choice, go for a quick business trip with your team! Visit 2-3 customers who have been doing business with you for a year and ask them about their experiences. See how you contribute to their business. Then you hear fairly quickly which of these four topics requires the most attention and where the opportunities lie.