Category Archives: Customer satisfaction

RE-ENGAGING YOUR DORMANT CUSTOMER BASE

In the current marketing scenario, customer retention and re-engagement are in the spotlight. Apart from other essential activities, it is no doubt that customer re-engagement should occupy a significant position. Lead generation and lead nurturing occupy the topmost places in the marketing funnel in terms of position, time and cost. Following this theory, customer acquisition has always been one of the difficult stages in the whole marketing process. You have to win over the customer’s confidence and educate him/her applicably about your company and products/services.

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Getting in touch with your former customer base relieves you off all these stresses by facilitating the lead generation and nurturing process. In addition, your old clients know you and have interacted with you. They are well aware of your company’s strategies and services. Looking back to prior customer lists proves to be effective both in terms of time and cost. You need not start from scratch when considering your older clients. Let us look a few steps that you may take to reactivate your former clients to touch your base again.

Phone calls and emails are the most obvious methods that are used for professional communication today. If your customer had a personal communication method with you, you may directly give him a call and discuss on other matters before you gradually raise the topic of your business alliance. Try to tackle him informally into a comfort zone and then discuss business issues, this will allow him to open up to you about the exact reason of why he dropped out initially. On the other hand, if your relation was not personal, try contacting an old client together with another high level management in conference. Have a professional starting and try to get the reason of him exiting from the business. Remember, that your first contact for re-engagement should not be in order to persuade him to come back but rather to first get a clear picture of the precise reason of him/her leaving.

Getting in touch with a simple email is far too rough to get any response from a client who has stopped working with you. You are not of much importance to the customer at this point in time therefore it is advisable to make your emails a bit different. You may send a personal mail to send the customer a greeting or a wish, probably on a birthday, anniversary or the likes. Getting in touch through personal aspects are likely to get more attention than just a regular day. Another way of getting in touch through emails is to send a short and precise survey form. This will enable the customer to pour out his reasons on a single platform and you can get to know them easily. Do not make the forms large and difficult to handle.

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Once you gather the explanations as to why your customers were obliged to step out of the business with you, put up your strategy to combat these reasons. For example, if a client is having financial problems, you may offer flexible payment facilities or a small discount or an extra added service/product for a free trial. If they had to leave because of a low customer satisfaction, show them your revised policies and introduce them to your new team. You may also share some other testimonials with them which you have attained during their absence. This might re-inforce their trust in you. When you are in contact with them again and they reveal to you a severe mistake, it is worthwhile to offer a discount to cover up for the same. It may be painful in the beginning, but this approach gives huge results.

When you are planning to reach out to your former clients, prioritize your list. Put the important clients on the top of the list – those who can give you substantial business. Apart from this, it is very important to be in a continuous research mode for your company. There is always space for improvement and it should not be ignored in business. Having a system which monitors customer engagement (both current and past) helps a lot in maintaining and improving business and business relationships.

Handling Customer Complains – A Positive Approach

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Facing criticism can be the hardest thing to do – especially professionally and the fact that you have put your efforts in full force just adds to the demotivation. Now, it is a business fact that however good you are, you will ALWAYS have customers who are unhappy. But keep it in mind that if you are lucky, they will complain. An aggressive and spontaneous customer will simply discard your services, sometimes even silently, if he/she is dissatisfied. The very reason why your clients are complaining is that they are ready to give you a chance to cover up for their dissatisfaction and they want you to improve.

First and foremost, identify your customers. Population is heterogeneous and so are your customers. Each person will need a different approach of solution. Some of the most common types of customers in the context of complaints are as follows:

  1. The gentle one – This customer is facing an issue but is very submissive and doesn’t want to burden you with only his complaint. Take responsibility for these customers, inquire deeply about his issue and solve it efficiently.
  2. The aggressive one – This person will confront you over-boldly regarding his issues and his/her behaviour reflects authoritativeness. Be careful not to tackle him/her with the same behaviour. Be polite and pick up his issues. Do not be over-submissive, you (and your team) have worked honestly too.
  3. The extravagant – The customer who will never delay in payments but would want a balancing service provision. It is very important that you categorize these customers separately and cater to their needs despite continuous importuning.
  4. The chronic objector – This customer sets levels for ultimate patience testing. Nothing happens to satisfy him/her. There are two types of customers within this range. One will be complaining at all times but once he achieves his sought goal, he shall be one of your happiest customers and may lead to many referrals. The other will simply complain, he/she has no set objective and will simply point out errors.

Whichever type of customer you are faced with, always remember that he requires a genuine and professional solution from you in the quickest possible timeframe. You need to provide him/her with the same, to keep up your company standards. There are a few points that may be considered to help you with handling your clients.

  • Always acknowledge the complaint before you give an explanation. It gives the customer a positive feedback that you are actually understanding what he/she is going through and therefore will be able to help better.
  • Do not interrupt a customer when he/she is complaining. It further gets away with their mood.
  • If immediate action is not possible for the issue, assure your customer about the timeline that will be required to complete the tasks. Always remember to communicate back to your clients regarding any updates that you have done regarding their complaint.
  • Give them a hypothesis of what actions will be taken with respect to their complains and what will be the results. It gives them the idea of what is to be expected and also shows them that you are well acquainted with your work.
  • You may have erred in your previous tasks; it’s no harm to apologize if your mistake is honest.
  • Time matters. And it matters a lot. Show your customers that you care about their time by quickly acting on their complaints. Never put any customer related tasks for later on. Quicker actions taken on customer complains improve your impression to big heights.
  • Always re-communicate. It shows your customer that you are really paying attention to them and may reduce the chances of any further complains.
  • Keep a record of all complains and actions that have been taken for the same. You can refer back to them if at all needed. These can also be used for reporting purposes.

The key to handling customer complaints is to be liable – focus on the effect, not the cause. Use your customer complaints intelligently for what they are actually meant to be – a pathway to improve your services.