How to improve customer satisfaction with digital marketing and service
Loyal customers are a result of satisfied customers, the research shows. But how can you create customers satisfaction in a digital economy?
Inbound method (see image) is a proven methodology for digital marketing, and consists of four phases: Attract, Convert, Sell and Delight.
The job is not over when the customer is in port – because you want satisfied customers, and any satisfied customers in social and analogue media can be your Advocates.
How important is it to have satisfied customers?
One thing is to get a customer – an entirely different thing it is to deliver the goods! And by that, I mean not only to deliver a product or service (something your competition also can do) but to give exceptional customer service.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, is quoted as follows: “Customer service should not only be a division. It should be the entire company.”
According to this report from ZenDesk, it tells us that 67% of people acknowledged that they are more impatient with customer service than they were five years ago!
Research has shown that companies can predict the growth and decline in turnover by measuring customer satisfaction and that this is directly linked to profitability.
The three pillars of customer satisfaction
The founder of HubSpot Academy, Mark Kilens, argues that there are three building blocks or pillars in customer satisfaction:
Innovation – change is better than status quo. You must innovate to ensure that you always serve your customers with the right products and services
Communication – be personalised, 1: 1. Communicate to help!
Education – Do your customers smarter consumers / users of your products / services through educating them
Organisations that build their culture on these pillars will build trust with their customers and make them happy ambassadors which in turn can create new business opportunities.
How to create customer satisfaction
Customer experience is composed of all the interactions they have with you. Ultimately it is the customer who defines whether you succeed or not. However, we have the ability to affect the experience.
An important insight is a speediness. We are used to getting things straight away today. We do not have to wait for the postal service to watch movies or read books – we download, or stream these through iTunes, Netflix, Google Play or Amazon Kindle.
According to Live Person, 82% of consumers say that the most important factor in a fantastic customer experience is that they get their problem resolved quickly.
In the publication The Pillars of Delight Kilens says that although solving problems is good customer service, it is also characterised by employees who make recommendations and that they are themselves – that is the real thing. He has also designed 7 guidelines for organisations that want to delight their customers.
Seven guidelines for improved customer satisfaction
I want to briefly summarise Kilens seven guidelines for how to excite your customers. Meets business on these points?:
1. Everything turns on that you have enthusiastic employees
How can you expect your customers to love your brand / business unless your employees love their own workplace? Make sure you hire the right people by assessing them against criteria such as:
- have they got the skills we are looking for?
- how well do they fit into our culture?
- do they have the right attitude? (hire for character, train for skill)
- what experiences, perceptions and opinions do they have?
2. Educate your employees
They need to know how your products and services work and how they are used. Remember that it is often more instructive to do then to sit and listen. Utilise the potential in telling good stories that describe how outstanding customer service should look and be experienced. Do not let new employees sit and learn by them self – their learning is also the rest of the employees’ responsibility.
3. Equip your employees
How can you ensure that your employees are doing their job as good as possible? According to Kilens you should not micromanage them – which can be both discouraging and preventing innovation and creativity – but rather give them principles to work for.
I think HubSpot Academy’s own principles illustrate this very well:
- Conduct in an outstanding manner
- Teach with Passion
- Create a consistent learning experience
- Cooperation throughout the company
- Deliver amazing customer service
- Make sure that you constantly learn
- Never settle with “it is good enough”
- Remain a freak (stay weird)
Use 80/20 rule and listen more than you talk. In Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, he tells about a how a salesperson managed to sell to the CEO which no other sellers had managed to sell to.
Do you know what he did? He got the CEO to talk about himself – and he only listened. In retrospect, he was told by others that he “was so interesting to talk to”, though he had done nothing listen, nod and show empathy. And there you have the recipe!
In today’s digital world the listening can also take place in social media. This is where people are conversing – as they did in the past, like after church. I have established many lasting relationships – and friends – through just listening to conversations in social media – and you may also make the same relationships by doing the same.
But as part of a strategic focus on digital marketing, it is important that you measure what this listening (through monitoring services) and responding provide concerning leads and new customers. (This is standard functionality in marketing automation software e.g. HubSpot.)
Good listeners ask questions to get to the bottom of the customer’s problem or objective. When you listen you might also discover that facial expressions, speech rhythm and body language provide additional information that does not emerge through what the person says.
Helping (or serve) must be the priority. Not only leads, customers and ambassadors, but also your employees. Every particular customer situation 1: 1 with your customers gives you the opportunity to help – but the model’s not scalable.
How can you scale your service? By providing quality content that your audience can easily find, consume, be helped/inspired and then share.
Quality Content has the following characteristics:
- It is persona-focused
Content is, in other words, written with a specific and clearly defined target audience. A persona is a fictional person who represents this audience.
- Customised to the buying process
Where is your persona in the buying process? Did she just acknowledge that she has a need for your solution? Is she in the assessment phase? Is she perhaps already a customer and use your product/service? The necessity of information in the latter phase will be quite different than in the preceding. Be sure to create content that answers the target group’s problems/challenges in all phases of the lifecycle.
That content is editorial, means it has a shape similar to the one you find in journalism. The content should not be selling, but be informative and useful and preferably objective. It should provide value beyond the products and services you sell.
The content must also be optimised – ie that you have used best practices to ensure that the content is 1) being found on Google and that 2) it is being shared in social media and email. I write a lot about this topic in the article series about owned, deserved and paid media.
- Strategically thought out
Which business goal would you like to achieve through the focus on content? Increasing the number of leads, customers and sales? Reduce costs to customer service through self-service?
- Follow up!
Pros always follow up to ensure that all problems are solved. They also set proper expectations when they come back – with what, and they keep their word. One way to scale follow-up is automated workflows and lead nurturing.
Also, remember that a satisfied customer who confirms that he/she is satisfied will secure and strengthen their happiness. Therefore, use this opportunity to ask for feedback after delivery or customer service treatment. It is both instructive and profitable!
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