16 Jul

How To Anticipate Client Expectations and Gain Their Attention

Anticipate Customer Expectations and Increase Customer Loyalty

Building a relationship with your clients is key to long-term success. One of the best ways to build a strong relationship with your clients is by anticipating their expectations and then delivering on them.

Don’t be mistaken! There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to keeping clients happy – but there are some general guidelines to follow.

This blog post is for you if you want to provide your clients with a stellar experience that will keep them coming back for more.

Here are six tips on anticipating customer needs and creating a win-win situation for both you and your clients.

6 Clever Tips To Anticipate Customer Needs and Gain Their Loyalty

Pro Tip #1: Put Yourself in the Clients’ Shoes

The best way to anticipate customer needs is by understanding their business and what they are looking to achieve.

Anticipate client expectations by understanding their business and goals

Whenever possible, have a conversation with your new customers to learn more about their needs.

Top Questions To Ask Your Customers:

  • What are your goals? TIP: make sure these are measurable goals.
  • How can our service/ our company, contribute to your success?
  • What would make you feel like a success story? 

Pro Tip #2: Create a Customer Journey Map

Creating a customer journey map will give you a clear idea of the customer buying journey and help you predict potential client questions and issues before they arise.

A well-defined customer journey map will allow you to proactively address pain points before they arise or become significant roadblocks in the customer relationship.

Anticipating your customers’ needs and expectations when purchasing a product from your company could be the difference between gaining new customers or losing them.

 What’s included in a customer journey map?

  • The buying journey.
  • Expectations and goals.
  • Pain points.
  • Proactive solutions.

Step-by-Step Process To Create a Customer Journey Map

  1. Define your buyer personas. Create a customer journey map for each buyer persona.
  2. Research how your clients find your company (organic search, paid ads, referrals, etc.)
  3. What do they do once they get to your website? What pages do they visit, do they ask for support (via live chat, email, phone), what is the average purchase time? What steps do they need to follow to become a client?
  4. Identify obstacles that may deter customers from purchasing and how those might be addressed (slow website, complex sign-up process, unclear website content, etc.).
  5. Map out potential client pain points.
  6. Brainstorm solutions to help clients reach their desired outcomes with ease.
  7. Understand what your clients are looking to achieve with the use of your service and set expectations.

Pro Tip #3: Allow Customers to Influence Company Decisions

If you want to anticipate your clients’ needs, it only makes sense to ask for their input and let them have a say on how the business should evolve.

How to make customers part of the decision-making process:

  • Get their input on what new products or services you should offer next. What’s missing from the mix, what would make them achieve their goals easier, what could make the client experience better than before?
  • Be accountable! Share your company roadmap with your clients – let them know what’s coming next and how soon they can expect to see new features/services.
  • When launching a new product or service, make customers early beta testers – get their feedback before making your new service available to the general public. What could say “I value my customers’ input!” more than this?

Pro Tip #4: Make Customer Feedback More Accessible

There are many ways for clients to provide feedback through social media or email. However, a process is only effective if it’s efficient; therefore, you need an organized and timely approach when collecting customer feedback.

How To Collect Customer Feedback the Right Way

  1. Create a dedicated customer feedback email address, for example, feedback@yourdomain.com, where customers can submit feedback or feature requests.
  2. Create a customer feedback form on your website, in-app notifications, and social media platforms. You can link this feedback form to the email address you have previously created to gather all feedback in a centralized place.
  3. Let clients know when they should expect a change. Customers need to know how much time it will take for their feedback to be acted upon and which department will review their comments. 
  4. Don’t forget to thank your customers for taking the time to share their feedback and valuable insights.
  5. Implementing these steps will encourage more people to provide their honest opinion and help you identify any service gaps that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Pro Tip #5: Conduct Regular Customer Surveys

Use customer surveys to identify customer expectations

Customer surveys help companies identify customer expectations and learn how to serve their needs better. Businesses that measure customer satisfaction often find they have increased customer retention and loyalty. 

There are a variety of ways to measure customer experience. Here are the most common types used by businesses.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS is a way of measuring customer loyalty by asking customers to rate on a scale of 0-10 how likely are they to recommend your company.

Client Satisfaction Surveys

consist of questions about the quality of service received from the company. The company then uses this information to identify client expectations and learn how to better serve its clientele.

Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys

CES measures how much effort the client had to put in for any given interaction. The CES rating ranges from 0-100, where 100 means extremely easy, and 0 means very difficult.

Examples of CES Questions Are:
  • Rate the ease of use of feature X.
  • Rate how easy it was to find information about service Y on our website.

How To Create Customer Surveys That Will Get Results 

  • Conduct client satisfaction surveys regularly.
  • Keep surveys sweet and short. No one likes 30-minute surveys.
  • Include a mix of open-ended questions and “yes or no” questions.
  • Share the survey results with everyone on the team.
  • Keep track of feedback so that you can identify repeated issues.
  • This one is golden! Always and I always follow up with customers that provided feedback.

Pro Tip #6: Offer 24/7 Stellar Technical Support

Providing 24/7 customer support shows that your customers are your top priority.

Offering 24/7 customer support will help your business improve customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty. You will also have the opportunity to identify customer expectations better and learn how to serve your customers better.

To provide 24/7 excellent Technical Support, try these best practices.

Technical Support Best Practices

Technical Support Best Practices. Improve customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty with 25/7 support
  • Offer a dedicated support email address (support@yourdomain.com) and/or phone number where your clients can always reach the technical team.
  • Use customer support software that enables your team to prioritize support tickets, collaborate easily, and keep track of customer interactions. 
  • Implement an SLA (Service Level Agreement) – an SLA sets client expectations for an agreed-upon level of service.
  • Answer client questions promptly.
  • Know what you don’t know! – “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer as long as it’s followed by “but I will find out.”
  • Always follow up with customers if you are unable to answer their questions right away.
  • Learn how your clients use your services so that you can proactively offer support.
  • Offer an FAQ page or Knowledgebase where they can find answers themselves on-demand.

Conclusion

Customers are an essential part of every business, but ensuring high-quality customer service can be challenging. 

In this blog post, we’ve listed six pro tips on how to anticipate client needs. These six tips will help you deliver an exceptional customer experience and gain your customer’s loyalty.

About SoftSys Hosting

At SoftSys Hosting, we take pride in providing stellar customer support 24/7. Our team is here to help you with every part of your online business journey: from getting your project or website successfully launched to scaling large traffic mission-critical websites. 

With a team of in-house experienced sysadmins, we’ll do all the heavy lifting so you can focus on what’s important – growing your business.

Let us know how we can help you with your VPS hostingdedicated server, or cloud hosting needs! Contact us at sales@softsyshosting.com or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 203).

04 May

7 Ways To Improve Customer Loyalty and Retention

Customer loyalty and retention play a key role in the success of any business.

But how can you build customer loyalty? What are some of the strategies to turn customers into your biggest advocates? We’ve got answers to these questions and more!

This blog post will teach you some of the best practices to provide ongoing value and get loyal recurring customers.

Customer Loyalty vs. Customer Retention

Customer loyalty and customer retention are both concepts focused on strengthening your relationship with your customers and increasing revenues. The longer and stronger the relationship with customers is, the more revenues you are going to generate over time.

However, there is a significant difference between these two concepts.

What Is Customer Retention?

Customer retention is focused on preventing your customers from leaving by delivering ongoing value through products and services that address their pains and contribute to your customers’ success.

What Is Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty is a measure of how committed customers are to your company or brand.

Loyal customers are more likely to buy additional services from your company and stay with your company for a long time. Loyal customers are also your best brand advocates. They are also more likely to recommend your business to others, which can lead to new sales.

Generating strong customer loyalty will consequently increase customer retention.

How Can You Measure Customer Loyalty?

Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are a great way to measure customer loyalty. When you’re looking for quick feedback, this is the tool that will let you know how satisfied customers are with your services.

The NPS is a data-driven tool that measures customer loyalty by evaluating the willingness of customers to recommend their favorite brands. The term Net Promoter Score was created in 2003 by Fred Reichheld, a partner at Bain & Company. The team at NICE Satmetrix provided data to help find the best questions for measuring customer behavior.

Reichheld and the Bain team found that high scores on one specific question correlate with renewals and positive references!

Use Net Promoter Score to Determine Customer Loyalty and Retention

The results can be divided into three categories

  1. Promoters – Customers that rate you the highest, 9-10, are your loyal customers who are most likely to give you a positive review and have a high Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). These are called promoters.  
  1. Detractors – Customers that rate you between 0-6 are your detractors. They are the opposite of promoters and most likely to cancel and give you a negative review. 
  1. Passives – These are customers that rate you 7-8. They are satisfied for now, but they might just as easily leave if they get a better offer. Passives are not included in the NPS formula.

Net Promoter Score Formula

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Formula

Once you have the results of your survey, calculate the percentage of respondents from each category. Your Net Promoter Score is calculated using a simple equation: subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

NPS it’s a great tool because it lets companies see who are their most loyal customers, and which customers are not getting the expected outcome.

Detractors are customers whom you should follow up with right away. Find out where you’ve missed the mark, what are their expectation and agree on a plan to solve these issues if you want to reduce churn.

7 Ways to Improve Customer Loyalty

  1. Deliver Excellent Customer Service.
  2. Offer an Affiliate (Referral) Program.
  3. Keep in Touch Through Company Newsletters.
  4. Be Active On Social Media Channels.
  5. Make Customers an Integral Part of Your Business.
  6. Build a Customer-Centric Culture.
  7. Encourage Customer Reviews.

Deliver Excellent Customer Service

If you want to build customer loyalty, it’s important that you offer great customer service 24/7. In today’s digital world, with global customer bases, having someone on staff 24/7 is no longer an option, it’s a requirement.

Customers are drawn in by friendly, knowledgeable employees who are able to quickly answer their questions and resolve the issues they have.

To deliver excellent customer service it’s important that you provide your employees with ongoing training related to your products and how to handle specific customer issues.

The main takeaway is this; providing great customer service will help your company stand out from the crowd and build customer loyalty.

Offer An Affiliate (Referral) Program

You’ve probably heard the saying “word of mouth is one of the best advertising methods.”

It’s true!

According to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Trust in Advertising report which polled more than 28,000 respondents in 56 countries, word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful advertising methods.

In fact, a whopping 83% of respondents from all around the globe said they trust their friends’ or family’s opinions when making a purchase.

The best advertising you can have is a loyal customer.
Source: Shep Hyken, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author via Twitter

Customers are your best brand advocates and love sharing their experiences with friends and family. Why not reward them for bringing in new business?

An affiliate or referral program is one of the best ways to build and increase brand loyalty. It’s an easy and rewarding way to get satisfied customers to talk about your business. With a referral program, you can easily spread more brand awareness and generate more revenues.

You can reward your affiliates by offering a commission on every sale that comes from their referrals or, reward them with a percentage of their next purchase. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for both parties involved.

Keep in Touch Through Company Newsletters

Another way of improving customer loyalty is by sending out regular company newsletters. Sending out a monthly or weekly newsletter will keep your customers up to date on what’s happening in your company.

What can you include in your company newsletter?

  • Relevant information about your products or services.
  • Helpful tutorials.
  • A summary of new blog posts.
  • New feature releases.
  • Customer use cases.
  • Updates about company events.
  • Contests or limited-time promotions.

PRO TIP: Newsletters are meant to be informative and helpful. Don’t use your newsletters just as a means of up-selling or further promoting your services. You have to be able to provide consistent value to your readers if you want to keep them engaged and turn them into loyal customers.

Be Active on Social Media Channels

Social media is a great way to keep your customers informed on your latest updates. It’s also a great way to keep them engaged with your company and services and stay top of mind.

PRO TIP: You don’t have to be on every social media platform. Find the platform(s) that your customers use more frequently and focus on those.

If you are a small business just getting started, it’s better to start with one single social media platform and focus on making that successful. Once you nail your social strategy on one platform you can expand to other social channels.

9 Ways You Can Build Customer Loyalty With Social Media

  1. Engage with other user’s posts.
  2. Respond to comments.
  3. Post updates about new products or services.
  4. Share updates from your blog post.
  5. Create contests.
  6. Offer promotions for social followers only.
  7. Share user guides or how-to tips.
  8. Create social proof by sharing photos/videos/testimonials from other satisfied customers.
  9. Keep your customers informed on industry trends by curating relevant content from other sources.

Don’t Miss Out! Follow Us on Facebook or LinkedIn for the Latest Updates From SoftSys Hosting.

Make Customers An Integral Part of Your Business

Every company has a team that’s in charge of testing new products and services. But who will better test your products than the actual users?

Your customers are the experts on their own needs. They know what they want from a product, what works for them, and what doesn’t. So why not make your customers’ feedback an integral part of your business?

Create better relationships with your customers by giving them the opportunity to contribute to the service roadmaps, beta-test new features before releasing them to the general public, and give them the tools to submit feature requests.

Take your customers’ feedback seriously and make them feel valued. You’ll be surprised how much more successful your company will become by listening to those who use your products most often!

Build a Customer-Centric Culture

Every company has its own distinct corporate culture that is shaped by a set of common beliefs and values. A customer-centric culture (also referred to as customer-first culture), creates an organization where customers are at the center of everything.

The internet it’s packed with stories and insights from companies who have been successful in building a customer-centric culture in their organizations. Companies such as Zappos have gained many loyal customers due to their focus on customer needs and customer excellence.

Make sure everyone is aligned across your organization and incentivized to deliver the outcome that your customer needs. The goal of your employees should not be to make the customer temporarily happy. The goal should be to solve their issues and provide the outcomes that will help your customers succeed.

PRO TIP: Whether in service value or support, always give your customers a little more than what you promise. This will help your customer feel valued and will increase customer loyalty.

Encourage Customer Reviews

Asking your customers for reviews can seem intimidating. You may be worried that you’ll come across as pushy, but the truth is that most people love to share their experiences with others. You just have to ask!

Another reason why companies don’t often ask for reviews is they are afraid of bad reviews. If you offer a high-quality product and service, you have nothing to worry about. Even if you get some negative reviews the majority of your customers will be happy to recommend your services if they are also getting value from them.

And the truth is every company will have a disgruntled customer who could leave a bad review. That doesn’t necessarily mean the company cannot be trusted. According to Bizibl Marketing, 95% of users suspect a company’s reviews are fake if they only see 5-star reviews.

Good or bad, make sure to respond to every review. This will show customers you care about their feedback and value their opinions.

What Is the Best Time To Ask for a Review?

Don’t ask for a review immediately after purchase. Give your customers a chance to use your product or service first. The best time to ask a customer to provide a review is right after you have assisted them with an issue or after or immediately after they have renewed their service.

You can also use a third-party app such as Trustpilot, G2, Reviews.io, Google My Business, and other tools to send review requests to long-time customers periodically.

Final Takeaways

Loyal customers are essential to the success of any business. They are your best advertising! To retain them, you need to be thoughtful about how you engage with your customers and provide ongoing value. The seven strategies we’ve outlined above will help you do just that!