When people are happy with something, they stick with it. This premise applies to everything from romantic partners to steel-belted radials. In business, that makes customer satisfaction job number one.
Companies will try just about anything to attract loyal customers. After all, the financial advantages of keeping a customer rather than creating a new one are Business 101. Still, a brand can’t give away the store trying to keep patrons coming back again and again.
Businesses need to focus on customer satisfaction for sure, but they need to be savvy about how they do it. It’s profit that makes a business successful, not just sales. Here are four ways to deliver on your bottom line while delighting your customers at the same time.
1 Outsource What Makes Sense
It’s always tempting for businesses to try to do it all, especially when just starting out. The fact is companies can actually save money by outsourcing some operations. While that’s a positive outcome in and of itself, saving a few bucks is not the only reason to do it.
Typically, when you outsource something, you do so with a business that’s an expert at whatever activity it is. Because that company is in the business of providing specific expertise, it usually performs the function much more efficiently. That’s why you may save money by letting someone else handle the work.
Furthermore, because that business is good at what it does, your customers may be much happier with the results. Their happiness lies with you because they don’t know you’re outsourcing certain roles. They just know they purchased something from you and had a great experience doing so.
If you sell products online, for example, leaving the logistics to a company that knows logistics is smart. A 3PL (third-party logistics) provider can warehouse and manage your inventory, fulfill, package, and ship orders where they need to go. Imagine just marketing and selling your products without having to worry about the warehouse and fulfillment operation in the back.
You get to improve your bottom line by using the outsourcing company’s economies of scale. At the same time, you can count on delighting customers with smooth and quick deliveries. That’s a win for everyone involved.
2 Use Technology
Technology makes companies run more smoothly and efficiently. If you’re clinging to the theory that technology is impersonal and will alienate customers, let go of it. Machine learning and artificial intelligence have turned the tables on traditional ways of delivering customer service.
Consider the growing ubiquity of the AI-powered chatbot, for example. This little guy can meet your customers’ 24/7/365 demand for information. Moreover, you don’t have to pay him a salary, benefits, or overtime.
As more and more chatbots are deployed, the research that goes into creating them gets better, which makes customers happier. Meanwhile, the cost of developing a great chatbot decreases, making them kinder to your bottom line.
In addition, customers are increasingly used to seeing chatbots, and they’ve started enjoying the efficient handling of their questions. It’s significantly more appealing than calling a helpline and hearing a monotonous on-hold music loop.
Technology doesn’t completely replace the need for human interaction. Yet many customers who want quick and on-target answers will happily skip the humans. Plus, you’ll save overhead costs by skipping some humans on your payroll as well.
3 Produce Great Content
You’ve probably heard that in marketing these days, content is king. If you aren’t creating great content because you think it’s a royal pain, you should reconsider. Content is integral to both sales and the customer experience.
You also need to recognize that content requires close attention because everything surrounding it is in a constant state of flux. Customer interest and demands, search engine algorithms, trending topics, and technology change rapidly. You need a flexible content strategy that can keep pace.
Merely publishing a new blog post, revising a website page, or posting something new across your social media platforms isn’t enough. Your strategy needs to be intentional in what your content says and does. Above all, it needs to be relevant to the people you want to consume it.
Granted, executing an agile content strategy is difficult, and you may not have employees with the proper skill set. Fortunately, content is something you can outsource for a reasonable cost. Work with the right agency, and you can garner an exceptional return on the investment.
Your content needs to do a lot of things in multiple formats, including video, blogs, placed articles, and more. But if your customers like what they see, they’ll be even happier with your brand. That’s surely worth the time and effort.
4 Always Ask for Feedback
Everyone has an opinion. For sure, you’re going to hear the opinions of customers who didn’t have a great experience with you. To truly gauge how you’re doing, you need to hear from more of them, so ask.
Requesting feedback and acting on it are crucial to creating a positive customer experience. You can use feedback to inform your product development, marketing strategies, and the entire customer journey. Moreover, you can get it all without making a major monetary investment.
If you collect customers’ email addresses or have permission to text, use these avenues to ask for feedback after they make a purchase. Encourage them to post reviews on your website and social media accounts. If some of your customers aren’t tech-connected, mail a survey with a postage-paid return envelope.
After asking for input, don’t ignore it. Process it regularly and report it to your employees and outsourcing vendors. If customers aren’t happy or have questions, follow up with them to make things right.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Gathering input and acting on what you learn are the best ways to satisfy customers and improve their experience going forward. Remember, you’re bound to hear positive comments, too, and that’s good news to share with everyone.
Customers seek good products at great prices and a stellar customer experience. If you can deliver, they will be loyal. As Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
At the same time, you have an obligation to protect your bottom line. That simply means you need to make smart financial decisions in your quest to delight your customers. You and your customers can have it all.