Supercharge your customer touchpoints

This sounds like just another one of those buzz word things – so what am I talking about?

Every business wants their customers to be happy with the service and experience they receive. But, unless you have your customers in mind at every single touch point, you could be missing out on some great opportunities to delight them and keep them coming back for more.

What is a touchpoint? According to SurveyMonkey, the definition of a touchpoint is “…any time a customer or potential customer comes into contact with your brand…before, during or after they purchase something from you”

meeting-1002800_640You may have great products, delivered on time and with a smile, but if your advertising isn’t on target, or they receive billing mistakes, or have to deal with a clumsy and clunky website, you can scare your customers away. Luckily, these touchpoints are easily fixed and within our control.

Let’s take a look at the general touchpoints a customer will come across…these are just some examples.

Before a sale – Social Media sites, Website, Customer reviews, Advertising/Marketing.

During a sale – Shop or office, Catalogue, Phone.

After a sale – Billing, Emails, Newsletter

Make a list of the touchpoints your customers have with you, then look at them in turn, e.g. your website…is it easy to navigate? Do the tabs point to the right things? Do the links work? Are you easy to contact? Do customers get a quick reply if they do contact you?

Supercharge your touchpoints

Now it’s time to supercharge your touchpoints for a better customer experience.

Personal touch – Try and speak to a customer wherever you can as most people like to beard-2286440_640be treated as individuals. I prefer to speak to a real person, not an automated service as I can ask questions and, if there is something I don’t understand, I can simply ask. It is also easier to build a relationship with your customers if you actually take the time to talk to them, as it makes them feel valued. They will feel that they are important to you and your business, that their custom is appreciated and that their opinion matters.

Consistent Service levels – Be consistent across all your dealings with customers, not just on the phone. You have won their custom and now it is time to build their loyalty and gain that all important customer satisfaction. So, not only ensure that you give excellent customer service on the telephone, ensure that they receive the same experience if they email you, such as a prompt reply, with the answer or solution they want wherever possible.

Know your customers – Know what your customers want and who they are. If you can team-2651912_640.pngsolve a problem for a customer, do it…they will always remember that you went that extra mile…and will recommend you to family and friends. Something that you did this year that went really well, might not work next year – never make assumptions where your customers are concerned. One of the simplest ways to know what your customers want is to ask them. This could be via a courtesy phone call (but be careful not to be a nuisance), via a short survey or hold an event, where you can interact directly with your customers and they can see who you are and meet you properly.

Resolve any mistakes – If you make a mistake, own up to it and put it right quickly. Don’t blame anyone else, just resolve it and offer some kind of compensation, such as 10% off their next order. The four step system is a good way to deal with complaints.

sculpture-2275202_640Listen to the complaint…don’t argue or put the blame on someone else – the customer doesn’t want to hear this – he/she just wants you to listen to what they have to say.

Acknowledge the complaint – let the customer know that you understand their complaint by relaying it back to them. This not only shows that you have been listening but gives hope that something will be done. Thank them for bringing the situation to your attention and assure them that something will be done.

Solve the complaint – if you can, resolve the issue, keeping the customer informed along the way. In the first instance, after you have acknowledged the complaint, say that you will look into it and will get back to them within 24 hours – even if you haven’t resolved the problem yet, ring them within 24 hours to let them know what’s happening. Keeping them informed every step of the way is very important in keeping that customer in future and lets them know that they are a valued customer.

gift-553150_640Thank them – you have already done this when you acknowledged the complaint but do it again. If the issue has taken or is like to take a long time to resolve, maybe offer them some kind of compensation – a money-off voucher or a free gift.

Appreciate your customers – Let your customers know they are valued, e.g. send regular customers a ‘thank you’ card, or give them a money off voucher for being loyal, or ask if they’d like their purchases gift-wrapped.

It’s also really crucial to look past the sale…once your customer has bought something from you, don’t make it the last time they hear from you…follow up the sale and ask how they are getting on with the product. Are they happy with it? Do they think it could be improved? Do they have any questions about that or any other product that you sell? They may tell you about a problem they have that you can solve for them, or give you an idea for a new product.

smiley-163510_640If your customers are really happy with the goods and/or services they receive from you, ask them if they could write a short review, either on your Facebook page or on your website…or if they prefer, they can send to you on email. Ask if it’s OK to share their review with other customers and potential customers.

Whether your business is a huge concern, or just a one-man/woman team, excellent customer service must be at the heart of everything you do. It can take extra time and resources, time and money, but good customer service leads directly to customer satisfaction, which can generate great business for you via word of mouth. It can also you’re your business thrive and ultimately be a success. Never underestimate the power of good customer service – it’s your businesses life-blood.

 

Why a simple ‘thank you’ is so good for business

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As a parent, I always taught my children that manners cost nothing. If someone gave them a gift, or opened a door for them, saved them a space in a queue, gave them a lift home or did anything for them, they always said ‘thank you’. I was often praised for the well-mannered, polite children I had….and believe me, at home they weren’t always well-behaved, but they always remembered their manners. As adults, I’ve hear them use the ‘manners cost nothing’ statement on several occasions. It always make me smile.

At some point in our lives, we all work in some capacity. No matter what job you have or have had in the past, it’s always a good feeling to be appreciated for what you do. When your employer thanks you for your hard work, or tells you you’ve done a great job on a particular project, it gives you what one of the teachers at my kid’s school called, ‘a warm fuzzy’ feeling. And how did that feel? Did it motivate you to try even harder? Did it make you feel proud of your achievement and make you want to do more? In one way or another, the answer is usually ‘yes’ to these questions.

ID-100348819The same applies to your customers – if you thank them for buying from you, or using a service you provide, it will make them feel valued and, nine times out of ten, a customer who feels valued will return with more custom, or recommend you to their friends. Either way, it’s a win, win situation for you.

These are some of the benefits of saying thank you…

  • Customers remember who thanks them (and who doesn’t)!
  • Customers feel valued and appreciated
  • Customers feel respected and cared for
  • Customers like to be acknowledged – it’s important to them

It’s crucial that when you say thank you, make sure you mean it – don’t just say it as a matter of course, or as a way to get something from someone. It must be sincere.

So, how can you thank a customer?

ID-10049181There are several different ways to thank your customers. Please see the list below.

You should always thank them for their order and for choosing to shop with you, or use your service. You could also take the opportunity to say that if there is anything else you can help with, please feel free to contact you. It’s also a good idea to put a link to your website and invite them to leave a positive comment.

  • Include a note with their order
  • Send an email
  • Send a card in the post, or an e-card
  • By telephone
  • By text message

Finally, the most important thing about thanking a customer is that it is timely….it’s no good saying thank you weeks after the event, it needs to be immediate.

According to Chris Philippi, President of Philippi Marketing and Associates, writing for zeromillion.com, the top Entrepreneurship Resource Online….

  • It costs anywhere from 5 to 8 times more to gain a new customer as opposed to retaining your customers. When you consider the cost of sales people, advertising, Internet marketing, etc. to attract new customers this becomes obvious
  • 68% of customers will stop using your services or fail to return if they feel unappreciated. This is the number one reason businesses lose customers. 

 

Images courtesy of 1) Stuart Miles 2) nenetus 3) digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net