In addition to an infographic, this week’s article is all about the best ways to help your business take customers on world-class customer journeys!
Let’s kick things off by taking a moment to imagine the following scenario:
You’ve hired someone to come and build you a new garden shed. Their website may not have looked the most polished, their reviews perhaps a little inconsistent (3 stars isn’t so bad), but the price was spot-on and, at the end of the day, a shed is a shed, right? What could go wrong?
You book in over the phone, pay a deposit, and look forward to moving ahead...
Fast-forward and it’s now been a couple of days. Getting back in touch has been tricky and while you managed to get verbal confirmation for when work will start, there’s been no email, not even a text message to reconfirm.
You’re now understandably nervous and becoming less certain they’ll show up at all! When the day does come around, they’re about a couple of hours late and gave no advance warning, on top of that: they’ve not got all the tools they needed, which ends up causing more delays.
Those two missing stars are starting to make more sense...
Now, even if the job eventually ends up being done well, we can all agree the experience of getting your new shed was less than ideal. Not to mention that those unpleasant moments could have been easily avoided.
Besides, it's not necessarily negligence that can lead to bad work; sometimes, it's bad luck, but in most cases, it's simply down to inefficient processes that can trip businesses up. These can lead to delays, crossed-wires, and mistakes that hurt the overall customer experience.
To help prevent this, we've laid out a five points you could adopt to help streamline and set your customer service up in the right way:
- Price isn’t everything if you allow customer experience to suffer
- Like elephants, customers never forget...
- A loyal customer can save you money.
- Returning customers are more likely to spend big
- Happy customers make for a happy business
If you’d like your free infographic first and want to get started on personalising customer experiences right away, click here to jump ahead!
1. Price isn’t everything when customer experience suffers
Why do you buy certain products? More often than not, it’s because of how they make you feel, and—in many cases—the things that make us feel good, often cost extra.
I mean, I’m a fan of Aldi’s knock-off cereals as much as the next person, but there’s a reason Kellog’s is #1. Besides, those cheaper brands don’t always satisfy in the same way, which ends up with me inevitably spending more on the product I should have gotten in the first place...
It may sound silly, but it’s the same with hiring a service.
Low prices can lead to cutting corners and dissatisfaction. According to research from Walker, customer satisfaction can outrank price as the key decision factor. This indicates that if you’re able to craft a consistently positive customer experience, customers will choose you over a cheaper competitor and they'll still walk away feeling good, even if they spent more money.
As a result, you got paid well (rather than heavily discounting and losing out) and you also demonstrated the value of your product by guiding the customer through an easy-to-use service, which may even make it more likely you'll benefit from their repeat business. Not only that, but they may leave a good review (especially if you gently prompt them with a great email request) which helps to convince new customers to use your service.
2. Like elephants, customers never forget...
Considering how much competition field service businesses have these days, making a mistake can have bigger consequences than many realise, especially if negative reviews pile up. In an age of convenience, expectations are higher than ever, and it’s so easy to leave a review to document the experience.
Jake Gibson, owner of Phyxter and a field service business growth expert in his own right, agrees that many customers, in truth, can rarely tell the difference between an adequate installation vs an exceptional one. However, they can definitely remember a company that went the extra mile to help provide peace of mind.
Reassurances, through frequent contact and communication, are often all it takes to “go that extra mile”; which means you don’t have to provide expensive discounts, or give gifts to win people over. It’s the simple things that often help the most:
A few ideas include:
- Offering online booking requests, so customers can reach you outside office hours
- Notifications that provide real-time updates re: their appointment
- Providing engineer arrival times / profiles so they know whom to expect
- On-the-spot estimates and digital signatures
- Polite feedback requests, after a job is complete
I'd be doing Commusoft a disservice if I didn't mention that these can all be controlled and managed (often automatically) with comprehensive job management software.
If you're not already, software can enable you to keep organised, stay on top of admin tasks, and even win customer loyalty with surprising ease and much like the aforementioned elephant: never forget a task!
Watched the video? Click here to download the guide!
3. A loyal customer can save you money.
Speaking of loyalty, while an individual customer won’t massively influence the revenue generated from each product or service you sell, the cost of acquiring a new customer can be expensive, especially when you contrast that with retention.
This means it’s more cost-effective for your business to have repeat buyers than it is to put time and money towards gaining new ones, all the time. Of course, if you’re fitting a boiler, installing home security, or perhaps even air-conditioning, the same customer isn’t going to get this done again (not any time soon, but as we’ll discuss in point four, they may spend big on other projects). However, that’s where jobs like servicing or repairing those appliances play a role in your customer retention strategy.
After all, these are customers who are already familiar with your name and know you’re able to do great work and offer a pleasant experience. This encourages them to approach you without the need to do it yourself: which, of course, saves you money from marketing to new ones.
In addition, with a customer relationship management (CRM) system, you can keep in touch with them and run advocacy schemes like service plans (which means reliable recurring income for you) or affiliate benefits if they recommend you to a friend. I know we said you don’t have to provide discounts, but it’s more about choosing a time and a place to implement them. After all, a reward after using the service is a nice incentive to encourage them to return. A review or recommendation can act in a similar way, too.
Ultimately, these strategies mean that you stand to retain customers, and even gain new ones at minimal cost, simply by sending an email to the right people, at the right time.
📚 Learn more: Why your Database is Essential for Customer Retention
4. Returning customers are more likely to spend big
In addition to the previous point, returning customers are not only cheaper to acquire (5x times cheaper, in fact) but if they remain with you, they’re likely to spend more than new customers.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
They’ve seen how you aced the first job - big or small - and that can give them the confidence to invest in a bigger project to follow-up. Why wouldn’t they trust you with more work the second or even a third time around if every time they interact with you, you’re providing a simple, easy, even enjoyable service that they feel is great value for money?
Part of your sales strategy is how you keep your business relevant in the customer’s mind, and it doesn’t have to only be with service work. You could write a blog, prepare videos, do competitions; these all have a role to play in presenting customers with an opportunity to interact, remember, and develop a great relationship with your customers.
📚 Learn more to help secure recurring revenue:
5. Happy customers make for a happy business
Is any relationship simple?
Perhaps that’s too big a question to properly answer, but an underlying trait in any business relationship is a sense of reliability and trust, and that should be mutual.
After all, the customer trusts you to do a great job and as a result, you trust them to pay you when the job is done. It's simple in theory, but obviously not always guaranteed in practice. Considerate engineers, diligent customer service staff, and loyal customers all have a role to play in helping a job to go smoothly and I'm sure you'd agree work is often easier when there’s a smiling face and a cup of tea waiting, rather than angry faces and even angrier reviews.
A simple thank you can go a long way, especially when jobs have unexpected hiccups, but at the end of the day, as cheesy as it can sound, it can make the working day feel worthwhile.
It all comes down to when accountability, responsibility, and communication are taken into proper consideration, which can be markedly improve when you're using a quality database to help you track relevant data and even help personalise the customer experience, whether you're in person, or interacting remotely.
If you’re able to avoid problems like slow communication, missing items, or delays with estimates, then you’re already making great strides to enhance customer experiences and take yours on world-class customer journeys.
You know that software can lend a helping hand, and with that knowledge you can take steps to rejig and optimise your current processes, too. If you're eager for some additional guidance, then we've got just the thing, where even small changes can make a big impact.
Simply click below to download our to-do list infographic, and get started!