Starting your online business is just the first step. A big marketing budget or a strong launch might help you hit with a splash, but it’s not going to keep you going forever. You need to look at the secrets to long-term success and, really, it’s not much of a secret. Keeping your customers happy is what will sustain your business. So, how do you make your customers happy and, most importantly, how do you ensure that happiness leads to even more spending?
Treat every customer like a VIP
The first change you need to make is a change of attitude. If you think of customers only as goals for you to reach, then you’re not going to be able to successfully make them happy. Take a non-cynical approach and try to put yourself in their shoes when you look at the website as well as the support that you provide. Every customer is having their own journey and you need to be able to respect that. Otherwise, your attempts to help them can come off as insincere all too easily.
See where you’re losing them
Your website is going to be one of the most vital tools when it comes to interacting with your customers. Every time they want to purchase a product or use a service, that’s where they will go. So, a poorly designed website can be a major saboteur. To ensure that you’re not losing customers to your website, you need to look at your bounce rate in tools like Google Analytics. Bounce helps you see where you’re losing your customers in terms of the website experience. If you can find the page or even the specific part of the page that sees customers not clicking ahead, you can make corrections and make it all the easier to enjoy breezing through your site.
How fast are you churning through customers?
It’s not just about losing them when you’re making your first impression through the website, of course. You want to make sure that you’re aware of where you lose your customers at any point. To that end, there are churn metric tools like ChartMogul that allow you to measure and track where and when you are losing your customers. If you find that they leave after a certain amount of time or a certain number of purchases, then you can make sure that you double your efforts to re-sell to them at that time or find the barrier that is keeping them from coming back and continuing to purchase from you.
Track the right success metrics
Bounce and churn shouldn’t be the only metrics you track. However, when you’re using analytic tools, it’s important to be aware of what specific insights you’re looking to capture. Your customer health score is a good idea of how likely your customer is to keep coming back, your net promoter score is how much their experiences are likely to spread positive word of mouth, and their lifetime value (LTV) is how much they’re likely to net you in terms of revenue throughout their experience as a customer. These are just examples of how metrics apply to the real experiences and value of your customer. Learn about different metrics and which ones you should be applying when you’re trying to measure customer happiness (and how much that happiness is worth).
Keep the response time as low as you can
How you support your customers, solve their queries, and remove the barriers between them and their next purchase is going to prove vital in keeping them happy. Why would anyone stick with a business that shows no concern for their experience with them? If you find that email, phones, or social media aren’t convenient enough to respond quickly, then you might want to look at how tools like Click4Assistance provides chat for websites. The ability to be alerted and open a window that gets you (or one of your team) directly in touch with a customer while they are on the website can help you be much more responsive. Not only can you get to more customers more quickly, but each of them will feel better cared for thanks to the prompt response.
Engage them on a more personal level
Customers do not want to feel like another faceless member of a crowd. They want to feel like their experience matters and their business matters. This is what you should ensure that they do feel. It might seem like a minor point, but personalising your communication with them, such as personalising emails (beyond just their name) can help you make them feel like they’re being truly engaged on a personal level. To that end, you should use lead capture forms like HeyFlow to make sure that you’re collecting the data necessary to be able to be on that personal level in the first place.
If you take how you manage customer information more seriously, then you can also make your interactions with them a lot more meaningful. If you’re able to genuinely remember them, their past purchases, issues, and other behaviours as a customer, then you can make sure that they receive a consistent and meaningful level of engagement. The best way to do this is to make use of customer relationship management tools such as Freshworks. These tools can help you keep and easily pull up records on each customer that get updated every time they use the site or any time they communicate with any public-facing member of the team. Integrating a CRM can help you enhance the level of customer experience personalisation to the next level.
Collect and action customer feedback
There are a variety of ways to collect customer feedback. Using surveys with the help of SmartSurvey and sending them out in emails or through social media campaigns can help you collect a wide range of opinions from your customer base. Simply feeling like they are being heard and their opinions respected can already help shift customers towards seeing your business in a positive light. However, going further and turning their feedback into action, complete with things like a case study on how you implemented the most common feedback is a vital step of building a long-term sense of trust. Most companies simply do not action the feedback they get quickly enough, so being able to get on that ball can create what feels like an extraordinary level of care for your customers.
Take the old-fashioned approach every now and then
Many of the apps and tools above can help you streamline aspects of customer support and communication, making it a lot easier for you to reach more of them. However, what’s more productive for you doesn’t always feel the most effective to your customer. The feeling that your business is indifferent to customers can be a serious problem. You can solve this by making sure that you offer your business a little bit more of a personal touch. The traditional method is to send a thank-you note with your deliveries, but things like sending out holiday cards can be a big help, too.
Reach out to those who criticise you
It’s easy to feel defensive when it seems like someone is coming after your business. However, lashing out against those leaving critical reviews or even ignoring them is not the right strategy, 99% of the time. When you’re being actively slandered, clearing up the matter and telling your side of the story can help. However, in most cases, what you want to do is apologise for the experience the customer had and offer to resolve the matter with them. If it can be easily done publicly, then do it there. Otherwise, announce the offer publicly, but take care of the matter in private. Even if you don’t win back that specific customer, you are going to win over those who might be watching from the sidelines.
Get involved in the conversation on social media
Nowadays, when a customer voices their displeasure, they have their fair share of platforms to use to do it. Review sites are a common one and should be monitored and responded to. However, getting the word on the street on social media can be a little tougher unless you know where to look. Hootsuite can help you track the conversation around your business by setting specific feeds for when someone mentions your business by name (or specific products or services you provide) so that you can get in touch with those who aren’t having a good experience and help them turn it around. You should be using social media as a support channel but you can be even more proactive with it with the right tools
The tips above can help you make use of the tools of customer happiness, but your strategy needs to be crafted to the specifics of your business and to your target audience. It’s a dance that has to be managed carefully for however long you’re going to be running your business.