In sales, we hear over and over about the significance of keeping a customer happy ‒ yet what exactly is a happy customer and why is it so important to make sure clients are satisfied?
A happy customer appreciates your brand even after they make a purchase. They trust that what they’ve bought will serve them well and that your company will do its best to help them accomplish their goals.
If they’re particularly thrilled post-purchase, they’ll be returning clients and may even refer others to your product. This is great for a seller given that, depending on the industry, it’s five to 25 times more expensive to find a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.
Even if you’re fairly sure you’re meeting customer expectations, there’s always more you can do to make them happier! Let’s go over a few tactics.
Choose the right customers
Establishing happy buyers begins before they’ve actually bought anything. Lead qualification is a critical step particularly in B2B sales in order to find out if they’re a good fit for your product or service.
While 94% of customers do research before making a business purchase, it also falls on the sales rep to assess if what they offer will definitely improve the customer’s ROI. If the lead is in contact simply because they like the brand or have a personal relation there, it may not be enough of a reason to sell to them ‒ and they may end up discontent later on.
A concrete way to pursue the right buyers is to identify your happiest, most successful customers and then try to find similar looking leads.
Be an educator, not just a seller
B2B customers are under a lot of pressure to spend money the right way. As I touched on earlier, this means they do ample research prior to buying. Buyers want to learn as much as they can in order to avoid speaking to pushy sales reps.
That’s why it’s critical for sellers to take on the role of a sales advisor. Rather than trying to force a sale, ask customers about their needs, answer their questions, and educate them about their options.
Providing such advice creates a long-term relationship of trust with the customer who will be more likely to keep coming back. In fact, 74% of buyers ultimately decide to do business with the sales rep that provides valuable information outright.
Follow up frequently
Following up is a necessary, time-consuming process for building relationships with leads, but it doesn’t end once a sale is finalized! Always send a post-sale thank you note. Check in a week or two after the sale to make sure everything is going alright. Keep contact lines open; be available on live chat or social media. Find time to ask customers later on for any questions or concerns they might have and to see if their expectations are being met.
Customers don’t like wasting their time, so don’t message too frequently; and when they do provide some insightful feedback, give it the value it deserves. And try your best to give them what they want!
But we can’t ignore the fact that B2B buying reality is undergoing overwhelming changes. And so are the rules of communication with customers and prospects. The willingness to walk an extra mile is no longer enough without seeing the direction. Now more than ever, it is crucial to know how to build your communication, what pleases customers, and how to optimize time in this remote but still fast-paced working environment.
To answer the questions, we’ve studied data from over half a thousand teams and found out six emerging tactics that sales teams have developed to meet and exceed customers’ expectations in the new market reality.
Make product support readily available
When you buy a new phone, you often need to look up how to adjust certain settings or carry out actions with the new interface. B2B customers face a similar task. And, like you with your phone, they shouldn’t have to wait until the salesperson follows up with them to pose their questions!
Product onboarding and self-service support should be offered along with the sale. Guides, FAQs, and live chatbots all fall under this umbrella. These keep customers from having to contact customer support for every small question, freeing up that team to take on the issues requiring more attention ‒ meanwhile avoiding frustration on the client’s end.
That brings us to a crucial element for keeping clients happy: customer service! Just any old customer service won’t cut it, though. Unfortunately most of us have been in a situation where we had to call customer service for something over, and over, and over again.
The B2B buyer doesn’t have hours to spend on the phone. The customer support for the product or service they’ve purchased needs to respond in a timely, efficient manner. The IT team has to contain true product specialists to tackle help tickets. As well, support should be proactive in constantly finding ways to improve; if people are calling again and again about the same problem, they should be communicating with the product team to find a lasting solution.
Set up a customer loyalty program
Clients that are part of a customer loyalty program spend up to 18% more than those who aren’t ‒ but that’s not the only reason to introduce a loyalty program.
The general gist of customer loyalty, also called gamification, is that the customer will get a discount or rewards from some action. How this is implemented will of course vary from business to business, product to product. Frequent flyer programs are a great example.
It’s not just about receiving a reward but about the customer having fun doing it. This way they’ll associate pleasure and enjoyment with your product or brand. Consumers can also be incentivized to promote your brand to others with a customer referral reward.
Here are some other ways to improve customer loyalty and enjoyment:
- Waive fees or offer other small gifts
- Host or sponsor events
- Hold contests
- Create a customer community (i.e. a discussion forum)
How can you know your customer is happy? Here we’ll look at some ways to gauge customer satisfaction. After all, you have to know what they want in order to improve their experience.
There should be an outlet for customers to tell you how they really feel and to see what they want out of the product in general. The easier it is for a customer to reach out to your team, whether through a contact form on the website or a customer service email, the better.
When following up, ask a few, targeted questions instead of sending long surveys. If feedback feels like a heavy task, the customer won’t do it.
…And gauge customer satisfaction
Based on feedback you’ll be able to figure out how clients feel about the product and how to make customers happy.
Unhappy clients can be silent, too. Such customers most of the time will end their service without ever explaining what was wrong. You can provide incentive for those who give feedback, in the form of a small gift card for instance.
The most common metric for customer satisfaction is the CSAT method, which, quite straightforwardly, stands for “Customer Satisfaction.” It rates contentment on a scale from 1-3, 1-5, or 1-10. Buyers can be asked about not only the product but also their impression of overall customer experience.
The best times to send a CSAT survey are after product onboarding or prior to renewal.
Communicate appropriately with customers
Throughout all of these steps towards happy customers, communication plays a key role. Below are some tips for communication that will ensure a great seller-client relationship:
- Sincerely thank your customer as much as you can ‒ even when they’re calling to complain! Demonstrate your appreciation they chose your company over the competition.
- Treat customers as individuals. Make them feel important by asking about their families, plans, and accomplishments.
- Maintain a friendly demeanor with a sense of humor when appropriate. Smile warmly and sincerely.
- Never take customers for granted. They’re the ones who keep you in business.
Remember to apply these conversation tips to the practices mentioned in this article to ensure long-term, happy customers.