89% of companies say that excellent customer service plays a huge role in customer retention. In this article, we take a look at how we can implement a clear and effective communication process to help achieve the quality customer service that you are looking to attain.
Customer support channels
Your prospects or customers will want to reach out to you to request for information, place an order or enquire on a certain matter. There are several channels of communication that you can offer:
Ensure you have your website set up with contact details. Your email address, phone number and office address should be clearly displayed on every page of your website.
Many companies now opt to have an online chat feature on their website so that customers can chat directly to one of the team members.
2. Social media
If you have presence on social media, whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. Ensure you are tracking any mentions, comments and direct messages.
3. Online reviews
Your customers may also leave some comments and reviews on a third-party website like Google, blogs, or review websites. It is worthwhile to do a little search on the internet to locate and respond to these reviews.
In addition to having an email address, you and your team members’ email signature should have clear information on how your customers can reach you.
Process to manage queries or complaints
Now that you are in touch with your prospect, it is important to have a process in place to achieve high customer satisfaction to increase customer retention rate. Things to look out for are:
- Clear and concise message on the product or service offering – on your website, brochure, or any other online or offline materials.
- Listen to what the prospect really needs or identify their problem rather than trying to push your service or product to your prospect.
- Prompt turnaround time, ensure your sales team provides clear communication on turnaround time for each sales process, from sales proposals, quotation, account set-up etc.
- Respond to any query within 24 hours.
Once you have successfully converted your lead into an actual customer, it is now time to delight them to increase your customer retention. Below are some of suggested ways your business can achieve this.
1. Respond promptly
First and foremost, communication is crucial. Ensure all customer queries are responded to promptly. The speed with which you reply to an issue or enquiry is a perceptual indicator of how much you care. Something as simple as a quick acknowledgment that someone will take a look or begun the process of resolving their issue might be all it takes.
2. Loyalty programmes
Loyalty programmes show that you value your existing customers. This is not only to keep your customers happy, but it will also help encourage repeat sales. 58% of customers belonging to a brand’s loyalty program buy from that brand at least once per month.
3. Credit terms
For any customer that you would like to build a long term relationship with, you could consider offering them credit terms – allowing them 30, 60 or 90 days to pay you.
By allowing your customers some time to pay you for goods or services already delivered, we understand that this will no doubt have an impact on your own company’s cashflow. To help support cashflow, your business may consider obtaining an invoice finance facility so that while waiting for your customers to pay, your business has the option to get an advance against the outstanding invoice when needed. This way, your customer is happy, and you get paid earlier.
Ensure all your invoices contain relevant contact details for any invoice queries. Importantly, always submit invoices according to your customers’ payables process and requirements. This is to your invoices are accepted by your customer and you get paid on time.
5. Pre-empt your customer’s needs
Once you have made the first sale, your business should continue to keep the dialogue going with your customer on a regular basis to stay on top of any changes to their business needs. This allows your business to adjust product or service offerings accordingly.
6. Complaints management
Customers who have their complaints resolved promptly have a purchase retention rate of 82%. Hence it is vital to ensure you have a process in place to deal with all complaints within a reasonable time frame.