More than half of respondents in a recent survey by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business report they’ve had to deal with bad customer service. (Personally, I’m surprised the figure’s that low.)
In the 2013 Customer Rage Survey, respondents say on average after receiving poor customer service, they had to contact companies four times to get resolution. With studies showing that 72 percent of profits come from just 20 percent of your customers, smart business owners need to make a better effort to decrease customer complaints and increase customer interaction.
Here are five ways you can stay connected and turn even upset customers into loyal ones.
1. Let them call you.
Despite the popularity of the web, people are still 11 times more likely to complain via phone than online, according to the Rage Survey. However, customer-complaint postings on social networking sites, such as Facebook, have nearly doubled from 19 to 35 percent since 2011. So, where would you rather have customers complain about your business? One on one with you or one of your employees, or in public online? Make sure your business phone number is clearly posted on your website and all your marketing materials.
2. Don’t leave them hanging:
If customers do reach out to you by phone, email or social media, make sure they get an immediate response. If you can’t respond in detail the same day, send some kind of message saying you’ll get back to them by so-and-so date and then make sure you do. The longer the customer has to wait, the more the anger builds.
3. Be proactive, not just reactive.
The best scenario for reaching out to customers is when something good just happened, not when something bad just occurred. Think thank-you emails or mobile messages with coupons for discounts on their next purchase or order. Personalize your communications by including a short comment about their recent transactions with you, or ask if there’s anything more you can do. If your service business has a lot of information to share, such as how to avoid malware or letting clients know about some new tax laws, consider starting a monthly or weekly e-newsletter.
4. Survey for more:
Get to the heart of what your customers really want by having them fill out a short survey online. Make the answers multiple choice so completing the survey doesn’t take a lot of time. Or poll your business’s Twitter followers or ask questions on your Facebook page.
Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube are all great social media platforms to show off your latest products or demonstrate your services. Remember, visual posts get more shares than just words. And never forget this statistic from the Rage Survey: Customers who are ultimately satisfied tell an average of 10 to 16 people about the problem that was resolved, but if the problem isn’t resolved, they tell an average of about 28 people.
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