Marketers love a happy customer. If you’re contending with a dissatisfied throng, in addition to every other challenge, then marketing can be like pushing shit uphill.
Getting customers is the first hurdle. If only keeping them was as easy as the tactics employed by massive gym franchises, where you basically need your own death certificate to get out of the contract.
Instead, you’ve got one shot to prove yourself. And then if you do a good job, you can start building up the goodwill in the relationship.
I’ve worked in the marketing and tech industry for a long time, and while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, here’s a few strategies I’ve found helpful.
Set expectations and stick to them
Following through with what you say you’re going to do is a low bar that you should step over comfortably, yet it trips up many businesses. Overpromising to close the sale is only going to cause pain later. Once you’ve found your winning product/service, keep it consistent! Systemise as much of your business as possible to take the guesswork out of meeting customer expectations.
Deliver great customer service
It’s well known that good service drives loyalty. Recent research indicates that 83 percent of customers identify customer service as a strong driver of loyalty. But good service can vary significantly from business to business. So, to build on point one—set expectations and follow through. Commit to how quickly you’ll respond to enquiries, the quality of your product, or the amount of your time you’re offering, then hold yourself accountable.
Demonstrate social responsibility
Inject some feel-good into purchasing decisions by demonstrating values alignment with your customers. You could donate to charity, but it doesn’t have to be purely financial. Think ethical procurement, mentoring, volunteering, or even values-aligned employee benefits.
Measure satisfaction, but not too much
A short survey is a good survey. Shorter surveys have higher completion rates and SurveyMonkey identified 10 questions as the sweet spot… But can you go lower? Start with the baseline data necessary to measure trends, then think about what you’re actually able to change in the next 12 months. By focusing on the questions that will inform your strategy, you’re more likely to receive better, more actionable responses. There’s no point in asking 20 questions if you don’t have the capacity to act on the data.
Incentivise existing customers
Great deals are commonly used to entice new customers, and it can be frustrating for existing customers when they aren’t extended the same consideration. So, decide whether a fixed or variable reward system is most relevant to your business, and show your customers some love. After all, Australia has the highest number of consumers who participate in loyalty programs, so give the people what they want!
Reward email opens
Email marketing is a huge driver of sales for many businesses, with most people’s inboxes being the collateral damage. Incentivising email list sign ups is a common tactic, but have you tried incentivising opens? Try delivering member rewards or discounts with unique reward codes for each subscriber. Then take your customer psychology to the next level by varying your rewards—research shows that uncertain rewards can increase repetitive actions.
Champion your customers
It’s a fantastic milestone when you successfully convert customers into fans, and companies will expend tremendous effort to do just that. Ultimately, people want to feel valued. So, flip the script and show your customers you’re their biggest fan. Share their success, acknowledge their milestones, and maybe they’ll reciprocate with some of that golden user generated content. But even if they don’t, you’ve still gone a long way to build up goodwill in the relationship.
That’s a lot to try. But the good news is that you should only introduce one or two tactics at a time. Note down your hypothesis, establish some reporting mechanisms, and give it a good 6-12 months to assess. This isn’t a conversion strategy, where results can be faster. Now you’re trying to meaningfully move the needle on customer happiness, and that takes consistency over time.
Gillian Laging is co-founder and director of Scopey.co.