Make them cling – tales of successful customer retention

take care of your customer so he comes back

THE BASICS

All of us have experienced bad service. Airline companies, hotels, repair shops, restaurants… you name it.

We objected, shouted, cursed, even smashed something, and swore we would never go back!

Bad customer support does not meet the basics. So, what’s with the basics?

The basics:

  • Make the customer feel important (allow time, do not keep them waiting)
  • Get people’s names right
  • Smile & be nice
  • Be available (answer phones pronto, show your contact channels, call back when you say you would)
  • Train your customer care staff
  • Adapt to the customer (contact them when they prefer, use a language they understand and be compassionate)

The basics no longer meet expectations. Yes, you need to go that extra mile.

THE DELIGHTS

That little extra lies in delightful things. It requires the customer care agent to be alert, spontaneous, creative, and compassionate. Yes, we are asking for small superheroes.

What can you do to make the customer experience more exclusive, more personal and leave them with that positive feeling? After all, if customers leave with a smile on their faces, they have reason to return.

Here is what you can do every time you serve or help someone. Trust me, it works with strangers, friends, and family too:

  • Provide extra customized information,

e.g., the customer of a local drugstore has dry hair and asks for a shampoo, also provide tips on nutrition

  • Do the unexpected

Do an extra job that is not initially requested, e.g., the taxi driver at the arrival hall of the airport greets you with a bottle of cheap champagne (it’s not a limousine, but hey, it feels like one if you get some perks)

  • Break rules (sometimes),

Make exceptions, e.g., you don’t have the VIP pass for the ski resort, but I let you first onto the gondola today

  • Make them feel important,

by asking questions back or repeating what they were saying as a confirmation

  • Be alert for their struggles

Get to know your customers and react when you see they struggle with something, e.g., any items in shrink-wrapped plastic, such as stationery, are dying to be cracked open without using all your molars

  • Blend strategies from different markets

Search for what other businesses can learn from each other, e.g., any delivery service and restaurants, pre-order food on the way to your favourite Italian restaurant (you can only afford short lunch breaks).

Treat your customers as if the Queen comes for tea.

Chris Croft

Providing delights will make customers come back because they will feel appreciated. Special, like a King or Queen. What can you do to keep up your extraordinary customer care? We asked Luke, Webnode’s Chief Customer Officer, to give you his golden nuggets.

THE EXPERIENCE

Luke Paltridge (middle) transferring his knowledge to Webnode staff

With over 10 years of experience working in customer service, Luke has values to share:

Luke, what -in your eyes- is bad customer care?

A lack of empathy, knowledge and understanding. As a customer, you can usually sense if the person on the other end doesn’t care. You can also feel when the advisor lacks product knowledge, which is completely unacceptable by today’s standards.

People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Teddy Roosevelt

So, can you measure good quality customer care? And if so, how?

You can, in a variety of different ways. One of the industry standards is via customer satisfaction surveys, which tell you if the provided service is of high quality and where you can improve. With the surveys, you measure specific indicators, such as:

The Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). It measures how much the customer is happy with your product or service. 

Example illustration of a customer satisfaction score



Customer Effort Score (CES) is similar, it measures how much effort the customer must exert to get an issue resolved, or request fulfilled when speaking with you.

Illustration of a customer effort score

The goal here is to make interacting with your business easy, fast and effortless. If it requires multiple touchpoints to resolve an issue, or the request isn’t solved in a timely fashion, you will score poorly. You can also expand CES surveys to other parts of the business such as the product or shopping cart experience.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures on a scale of 0-10 how much you would recommend the service or product to your friends and family. Where the low end means it is very unlikely and the 10 out of 10 means you would absolutely recommend.

Net Promoter Score

Tell me, why should a small business measure such indicators for C-SAT?

Because listening to your customers and having a mindset of continuous improvement should always remain the priority, no matter the size of your business.

What are the 5 best indicators your customer is happy (and not just pretending or turning a blind eye due to lack of choice)?

  • Brand loyalty and repeat business
  • Referring your product or service to their family and friends
  • Positive feedback on public platforms such as review sites and social media
  • High engagement and usage with the product
  • They will tell you directly!

How would you convince your customers to leave constructive feedback about your product or service?

Via surveys such as CSAT & NPS, or when speaking to our Customer Care team (e.g., on a call or via email). For example, at Webnode, we collect and analyse customer feedback on a regular basis and use this data to meet with product & development teams to improve the services we provide.

What -do you think-is the worst behaviour/habits of customers?

Sometimes you will meet customers who are a little rude at first. The objective is to always understand their situation and resolve the issue on the first point of contact. Turning a negative experience into a positive is always the end goal.

Example cartoon of turning a negative experience into a positive. 

What was the most daunting experience working in customer care for you?

Good question! I used to work for a travel company at the beginning of the pandemic. It was extremely demanding, and the volume of requests was extraordinary. It was not unusual to have thousands of flights cancelled within 24 hours!

However, I took a lot of positives out of this experience and learned more about my team and myself. It helped me to become more efficient and effective, solving complex situations in a short period of time.

What would you recommend a small business with let’s say 5 staff dedicated to customer care to keep their clients?

Customers tend to care about 3 main things:

  • Did you help them?
  • Did you do it fast?
  • Have you solved their request on the first time of asking?

Therefore, focus on increasing customer satisfaction, ensuring that your support teams meet the customer expectations. Usually, this means a quick reply time (SLA) and provide a resolution on the first contact (FCR).

I am a one-man business; I have no time for this…-why should I care about my customers?

If you don’t care about customers, you shouldn’t be running a business. You should always have time for your customers, in fact, it should be your #1 priority. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business!

I received bad Google reviews that damage my reputation and credibility. What would you recommend me to do next?

Reach out to the customer. Find out more information. Bad reviews are a great source for you to understand how you can improve your business. Instead of focusing on negative reviews that might harm your brand, try switching your focus to improving your product and services – which in turn will generate positive reviews.

The conclusion is: it is all about your customers. As Robert Half says

When the customer comes first, the customer will last.

But, to make it all about your customers, you need to make it all about your customer support team first. No matter if it’s 1 person or a team of 100, they are the key ingredient to making your customers successful. If they are happy, your customers will be happy, and you can watch your business flourish.

Are you planning to create your own online store? Try this step-by-step guide.