96% of unhappy customers don’t complain; however, 91% of those will simply leave and not come back. A dissatisfied customer (between 9 and 15 people) will tell about their experience – according to White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
Meanwhile, Pareto says: the 80/20 rule applies! It means – 80 per cent of your business comes from 20 per cent of your customers. How do we keep them? It’s all about customer satisfaction.
Living the life in a “startup way” makes you hungry for more – more traffic, more users, more conversions, etc. But in this race we tend to forget about things we’ve already achieved. More specific: loyal Customers of yours.
The one thing that all successful startups have in common is satisfied clients. As it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for a single unresolved negative experience, we have to focus on this from the very beginning.
Why is it so important to keep your customers satisfied, especially in startups? For various reasons.
Firstly, the loyal client is the most precious one. If he trusts you, he will recommend you sooner or later. Happy customers who get their issue resolved, tell aproximately 4–6 people about their experience! This is how we get six new leads; it’s a rule of word-of-mouth marketing. This is particularly important for e-business, because your customers don’t meet you in real life. They don’t have the opportunity to show you their dissatisfaction face to face, and you may not even be aware that you didn’t meet their expectations. Certainly, you will notice that they never come back, but at this point, it will be too late to change anything.
Secondly, studies show that one of the most cost-efficient ways to build your business is to network, refer and share. When you’re running a startup, your task is a little bit easier, because you can use social media, blogs, and forums. But remember to care about your reputation at the same time. Try to keep in mind that you want not only to gain new clients, but also to retain existing customers – reward them for sticking with you.
Summing up: look after your clients – they will look after you. Many case studies show that building good customer service into the operation of a business increases a company’s efficiency as well as its sales.
Here’s a short list of different ways I tried while improving our customer satisfaction:
1. Be There for Them Whenever You Can
I know that you’re probably super busy, that you hate dealing with your mailbox filled with useless mails, and maybe you have designated man for customer support BUT engage whenever you can. Sleepless night? Great. Boring weekend? Awesome. There is nothing more comforting than showing your support. In Colibri IO we were in trouble when Google replaced Keyword Tool and we got a tons of emails with doubts and questions. This showed me how much important is to take a stand and explain everything in the best way you can – with individual emails. Of course it was hard and time-consuming but totally worth it. It gave me a perspective – what my clients worry about, what feature they care about. Exept sudden crisis and strange bugs there’s also trouble spot called: payments. Customers won’t buy your services or products if the payment gateway is inconvenient. It’s very frustrating to be unable to purchase your goods when you have made a decision to buy. Research shows that 85 per cent of customers who have problems during the payment process just leave and don’t return to the site. Remember to provide them with the payment solution which works.
2. Just Ask for Opinions
It’s been shown that customer satisfaction is rated higher among people who’ve been asked what they want. Just asking what your customers want make them feel listened to. I have never been a fan of surveys – but one day we decided to make quitting free trial users to fill a short form. And it was an awesome source of info. The crucial thing in such case is to consider collected ideas. Customers are your best allies in testing your service or product. If they are good, implement them! You can also try to ask your satisfied customers for reviews, this is becoming an important marketing strategy.
3. Give a Reward for being Loyal
Give a thought to discounts, gifts and loyalty programs. Loyalty programs entice people to become, and remain, customers. Don’t forget about long-term clients – it’s easy to attract new clients, but harder retain existing ones. Rewarding for giving a meaningful input is also a great way of showing gratitude.
4. Sometimes You Have to Eat Humble Pie
Whether customers are satisfied or dissatisfied with your business, any feedback they provide about their experience or your products and services can help you. Clients’ feedback can show you the types of marketing efforts that are working efficiently and the areas of your business you need to improve to increase customer satisfaction. Sometimes you’re just wrong – that’s is the moment when you have to eat humble pie, make it right and move on. Every failure is a lesson.
5. Getting Closer and Closer
Startups can be impersonal by virtue of the type of channel, so any strategy you can use to make it more personal will increase sales. It may be a cliché, but there is a human being on the other side. Using any information about your client that you can gather gives the impression that you simply care. According to Jupiter Research, only 4 per cent of marketers bother to personalize their messages, even though personalized messages have almost twice the click-through rate!
6. Keep in Touch
Make it easy for people to contact you, and let them know that you’re there for them. It’s so annoying when the only available emails on site are “hi”, “hello” or “support” address. In times of social media and sharing everything there’s no need to hide contact info. If someone is determined – he’ll find it anyway. What’s the purpose of making it harder? Running a startup should make you desire every single email you can get.