Customer satisfaction is crucial to your business. Did you know that it costs five times more to attract a new customer compared to retaining an existing one?
With those types of costs, your investment in customer service quality can make or break your business.
But first, what does ‘customer retention’ really mean? And how does it factor into your business’s growth plan? On one level, it’s about realizing ahead of time that someone utilizing your business is experiencing something negative or could encounter a dissatisfying experience—then taking the right steps to mend the relationship. Let’s talk about how.
Start Predicting Dissatisfaction
Many times, a customer will only express their dissatisfaction as they’re walking out the door. You’re left playing catch-up and making amends while they’re fuming. While you still have a chance of retaining these buyers through some last-minute intervention and goodwill, it’s much better to head off potential issues before they crop up. One way to counteract this frustrating experience is by looking out for one key indicator:
Changes in communication.
And a customer who is decreasing communication is likely experiencing some kind of disconnect with your business. These customers could be:
- Opting out of your emails
- Making unexpected returns on purchases
- Decreasing their order volume or scheduling
- Ceasing orders or requests outright
- Not replying to calls or messages
- Shifting from detailed emails or phone calls to just a few words
If you’re seeing one or more of these customer qualities, it might be time to start creating a customer re-engagement plan.
Granted, a reduction in customer communication doesn’t necessarily mean they’re about to leave, but it does present an opportunity to check in. Doing so not only brings your clients back into the fold but also allows you to give a temperature check regarding your professional relationship. You just might find an effective way forward simply by starting a conversation, why maintaining a good reputation for your business.
When Customer Objections Arise
Not every customer objection can be handled ahead of the complaint. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you’ll end up with a dissatisfied, frustrated client on the line, or find a dreaded one-star review on your otherwise flawless Google Business page.
While handling customer complaints and maintaining your reputation is a priority, make sure you don’t act rashly. Having a solid plan in place ahead of time that designates who will address the situation, and what strategies you have for meeting complaints, can allow you to move quickly with confidence. Put these steps into practice to walk through this complaint easily:
- Pause and plan, you want to meter your emotions in your response.
- Gather information from the customer, and let them talk. Often, the initial complaint or review doesn’t tell the full story.
- By taking the opportunity to hear them out, you’re creating a means of putting the customer relationship back on track and allowing the emotions to move through. Sometimes, people just want to be heard.
- Reassure your client that you understand them and make an attempt to remedy the issue how you can.
- If there is no immediate solution, repeat that you understand and hear them.
- Always reassure the customer that you will be passing along their feedback to your team, and that you take all complaints seriously.
Finally, follow through internally.
After talking to the customer, bring their concerns to your employees, and open up a discussion on how you could address this problem in the future. Even if there was no fault of the employees, this open dialogue can help the team brainstorm together on how you can support one another when challenging situations arise.
Also, you can recognize that no company can fully head off every potential complaint. So, you can empower your team to be just as motivated as you are to keep clients happy. Their ideas are often the best way forward for continued customer satisfaction.
The Right Methods
Handling customer dissatisfaction can take many forms, including extending your services, offering discounts, or redefining the terms of your agreement to meet pressing changes. Whatever path you mutually agree to, keeping in direct contact with your customer is essential. The last thing you want is for a well-thought-out plan to deteriorate due to a lack of communication. The best way to counteract that is to have someone available to answer the calls when they come.
Having 24/7 customer service means no client falls through the cracks. If you’re looking to head off customer complaints in real-time, a Live Answering Service from one of our recommended services can give you the tools your business needs to thrive.
To find out more, see our recommendations to start improving your customer satisfaction for the long term.