5 Tips To Skyrocket Customer Satisfaction
If you run a business and want to increase your sales (as most businesses do), there are many ways you can achieve this. However, before you look into raising your prices, letting people go, and changing your team, you may want to look at the way you build trust with your customers. This makes sense because if customers don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.
Thankfully, there are many ways to build and strengthen trust with your potential customers. Below are five important tips to follow to generate customer satisfaction through building a relationship based on trust.
1. Offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee—and honor it
Part of marketing your products and services is navigating what your customers perceive as potential risks. The most common risks customers perceive include losing money and not being satisfied with their purchase. For this reason, many businesses incorporate a guarantee into their marketing plan.
Having a strong guarantee is a great way to remove the perception of risk from your potential customer and encourage them to buy your product. However, any guarantee you make needs to be written carefully and honored completely. There are many types of guarantees that may sound good, but may not work for your specific business.
Of all the guarantees you could make, a 100% satisfaction guarantee is likely to be the least risky for you. If someone isn’t satisfied with your product or service, and you can’t remedy the situation, it’s okay to refund them and let them go. Your goal in business is to generate customers who want what you have to offer.
Additionally, offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee is a great way to learn whether your products and services are meeting the expectations you’ve created in the minds of your customers. If you discover that many people in your target market aren’t satisfied with your products or services, that’s great feedback you can use to find ways to either adjust your marketing strategy or improve the quality of what you sell.
2. Don’t offer compensation for reviews
Getting your business reviewed online has become a focal point for many businesses today. Going after that coveted 5-star rating is a priority for many. And while consumers used to rely heavily on reviews to guide their purchase decisions, that practice has been quickly fading now that it’s widely known that users are paid to leave fake reviews.
An anonymous blogger on Cracked.com spilled the beans about how they get paid to write fake reviews. This anonymous blogger shares many details regarding how they are able to slip past the ranks of the admins on sites like Yelp and Amazon. And they’re not alone. A quick search on Craigslist will pull up ads offering money for fake reviews. And they make it easy for you—they’ll even give you the script so all you need to do is copy and paste.
Time.com published an article detailing the reasons you can’t trust online reviews, stating that the marketplace for fake reviews operates fairly openly. Even Businessweek has discovered the proliferation of fake reviews stating that up to 30 percent of online reviews can be fake.
And while many businesses are offering legitimate compensation as rewards for authentic reviews, this practice can be just as harmful as compensating people for deceptive, fake reviews.
While it may seem harmless to compensate people for authentic reviews, the general public isn’t likely to believe reviews if they find out someone has been paid for it—authentic or not. If your business is discovered to have compensated anyone for reviews, you’re going to lose trust and that’s a hard reputation to recover from.
Getting legitimate reviews
If your business is struggling to get reviews, you may want to consider finding a way to encourage more people to review your products on their own, rather than trying to force or bribe them.
The best way to generate legitimate reviews is to create a customer experience that really leaves an impression with your customers that naturally makes them want to share their experience with others. The more you can impress your customers, the more they’ll want to share their experience online.
3. Let people know about your high ratings on the BBB TrustPilot
The Better Business Bureau has been around for many years, helping consumers keep track of trusted businesses. Now that many businesses are online, the BBB has made it easy for you to add their logo to your website, if you’re a member in good standing. If you want people to know they can trust you, the best thing you can do is put the BBB logo on your website.
Additionally, TrustPilot, an independent website that makes it easy for people to review businesses, has created what they call “Trust Boxes”—a widget that automatically displays your reviews on your website. Trust Boxes are easily installed on any website by copying and pasting a snippet of HTML.
Some examples of Trust Boxes in action include Printingcenterusa.com (using a widget to display individual customer reviews), and Discmakers.com (using a widget to display their overall Trust Score with a link to view individual reviews).
While no review website is immune to deception, TrustPilot reviews require a purchase in order for a user to post a review, reducing the potential for fake reviews.
4. Respond to emails quickly and genuinely
The way that you communicate with your customers and potential customers through email will heavily shape the way you earn their trust. Today, many people expect instant communication and quick responses to emails sent to customer support.
According to a study conducted by Purdue University’s Customer Service Benchmarking Center for Customer-Driven Quality, 25 percent of all contact between a business and it’s customers is done through email.
According to the same report, many email support experts are being overloaded with too many emails to reply to in a single workday. This inevitably leads to poorly written emails, giving customers a poor impression of the business.
If you’re still working on developing a thriving customer support department for your business, one way you can help your customers feel good about communicating with you is to create an auto responder that lets them know what to expect in terms of your response time.
If you need a full seven days to reply to your customer service emails, while not optimal, at least let people know what to expect, so they won’t immediately brush you off after 24 hours.
5. Always address issues immediately and openly
In the world of online media, people love to post complaints about businesses when they have a bad experience. And with a constant connection to the internet, sometimes people post their negative comments before they’ve even left your business.
Dave Kerpen from Inc.com shares his wisdom stating that it’s not a good idea to delete online complaints. Instead, he offers his insight for other strategies you can use to create resolution. These strategies include listening, apologizing, solving, and thanking. In short, listening allows you to gain an understanding of what’s really going on; what people are really saying.
Apologizing shows customers you want to fix their problems. Solving the problem by going above and beyond to make things right can be delightful to the customer. And thanking the customer for their feedback makes them feel like you’ve really taken their concerns seriously.
Kerpen makes the point that any negative feedback is an opportunity for your business to improve. And he’s right. The best way to know how you’re impacting your market is to listen to the feedback you’re getting from others, especially when it’s negative.
Above all, the best way to increase and maintain customer satisfaction is to be generous. Be generous with your time and really listen to what your customers are saying. And be generous with making things right when they’re experiencing a problem. Your customers may not forget the problems they’ve experienced, but they will always remember how you treated them and took care of the problem. When you resolve customer complaints generously, how you solved the problem will always override the problem itself.
Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, iMediaConnection.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and...