Most companies make an effort keep their customers happy. It is pretty obvious that it makes good business sense to try and dissuade customers from describing you or your products using words that, as Simon and Garfunkel once alluded to, are less than polite:
“I hear words I never heard in the Bible
And I'm one step ahead of the shoe shine
Two steps away from the county line
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied.”
Simon and Garfunkel
These days though, customer satisfaction is more than just avoiding customer dissatisfaction. It is a business aim in itself - because it can play a huge role in getting more customers.
This blog will be useful if you want to understand:
That's right, happy customers can actually help you find more business
At BabelQuest, we use a software platform called HubSpot, which makes it easy to implement inbound marketing. HubSpot refers to ‘delighting’ customers - which to British businesses sounds pretty cheesy! But if you can get over the queasiness around the choice of word, the actual concept still has value.
HubSpot’s inbound methodology is to ‘attract, convert, close and delight’ customers.
It is important to point out that just because ‘delight’ comes at the end of the sequence, it doesn’t mean that customer satisfaction falls only to customer service staff after the customer has actually bought something from you. In fact, it should be everyone’s responsibility.
As HubSpot themselves say in this blog post,
“Every single interaction a user has with you, your co-workers, your website, and your content feeds into their overall experience - and overall impression of your organization as a whole. The better that experience is, the happier your customers are, and the more likely they are to stick around and tell their friends about the great experience your brand provides.”
It is important to remember that the basic premise of inbound is to put your buyers first and to focus on meeting THEIR needs rather than yours. Your aim - whichever department you work in - should always be to help your prospects and customers solve their problems in the ways they want them to be solved.
Made a sale? Don't stop there - make use of marketing automation
If you stay in touch with a customer after they’ve bought from you, you can find ways to stay valuable to them. Marketing automation is an easy way to manage this kind of ongoing communication.
Used well, marketing automation can ensure that you continue to ‘delight’ your customer by providing them with relevant information, exactly when they need it.
Here are some ideas for getting started with it:
If you’re using HubSpot, you can set up workflows to slowly drip feed content to your customers, and to nudge your salespeople to check in with them. For example, if a customer has signed up for a year's subscription to a piece of software, you may want to create a workflow spanning 12-months, which initially introduces them to the product, then later on offers answers to questions and reminds them about their upcoming renewal.
Case studies and positive reviews are not only useful for attracting new business, but can also be used to keep the conversation going with existing customers. You could set yourself a reminder to contact all new customers six months after they closed, to find out why they selected your company or product over others, and ask if it is appropriate to do a case study.
Segmentation is key to successful marketing automation. In order to be able to send your customers updates, you need to know who your customers are, and which products they've bought. If you’re using HubSpot, you could set up contact properties to specify a particular industry, and then select products from a drop down list. This will enable you to create segmented lists - for example, all of your clients in the education sector who have bought your ransomware solution.
If there's an update for a specific piece of software you sell, you can use a segmented list to let relevant customers know. This could boost customer satisfaction or even result in an upsell. If you publish a blog looking at the latest tips for maintaining a secure network, why not send a tailored email to someone who has bought a network from you, and follow it up a few days later with a call from one of your team to see how things are going?
An important point to make is that the companies which score most highly for customer delight are those that make all team members responsible for it. Marketing, sales, customer service... if everyone is on board, customers will notice and the whole business will benefit.
We prefer it when you refer it
What is the cost of acquiring a new customer compared to the cost of keeping an existing customer?
There is no definitive answer to this question, but most estimates are that it costs between four and ten times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
Bill Cates, who is an actual person and not a boss-of-Microsoft-related typo, is a genuine expert on this topic because he has authored a whole book about referrals. He says that referrals are so effective because they provide ‘borrowed trust’. In other words, when someone that you already trust recommends a third party, you are much more likely to carry that trust over to the third party.
Therefore, positive word-of-mouth recommendations from your customers are GOLD and should be an extra incentive to always do your best for each customer. One satisfied customer could easily lead to two more. Keep multiplying that effect and you’ll be driving a gold Lambo by Christmas.
Time for a glass of delightful brand(y)
You can also use your brand to create delight. People want to do business with people they like, and they want to buy products or services that they like too. So…‘delight’ your customers and they will like you!
This applies to both existing customers and new business. Just make sure that once the sales process ends, your brand efforts don’t suddenly stop.
Depending on what you are selling, brand-building is not always that easy, but there are plenty of examples of strong brands resulting in strong sales. Innocent (the drinks manufacturer which sells over two million smoothies per week) is an excellent example. (Yes...I know this is a B2C example….but bear with me for a minute.)
Innocent’s social media posts are informal, humorous, down to earth and often nothing to do with their products…..in other words, likeable. An example of a recent post:
“HEY EVERYONE. It's sunny. And warm. And it's the weekend. THIS PRETTY MUCH NEVER HAPPENS.”
(Innocent - 26 March 2017)
B2B companies have also successfully used social media to build their brands - this blog gives several examples, one of which is Maersk, the container shipping company. Maersk started experimenting with social media several years ago and now has over 1.1 million followers on Facebook, in addition to sizable audiences on Twitter and Pinterest. You don’t get audiences as big as that without making your brand appealing!
According to the blog, one of the firm’s campaigns (called #wintermaersk) resulted in 150 unique sales leads, an impressive number for the shipping industry.
Another brand-building tactic for social media which can work for B2B marketing is influencer marketing. This involves identifying experts relevant to your industry who have active networks on social media, and collaborating with them.
The idea here is that there is no better form of marketing than word of mouth - and if a trusted figure in your industry mentions (or endorses) something, it carries some weight.
Collaboration between businesses and influencers often takes the form of ‘content co-creation’. This could be as simple as providing quotes, being interviewed or writing blog posts. B2B buyers often have so much information available to them that they end up getting overwhelmed and doing nothing. When an influential user reports on their firsthand experience of using your particular product or service, that can make a big difference. More involved examples might include authoring ebooks, being involved with events or speaking to the media.
Influencer marketing gets results partly because you are creating ‘non-marketing’ content that is authentic, and may be able to reach communities of people you are targeting but which are hard to reach. Expert influencers may also be able to bring subject matter expertise to your content that your own marketing department don’t have.
If you want to learn more about this area, read this blog.
Businesses often pay a lot of attention to a prospect during the sales process, only to ignore them after they’ve actually become a customer. Repeat business (and referrals) are strongly dependent on good customer experience - so it's crucial that you get it right. This can be done through a combination of techniques such as marketing automation, leveraging your brand and influencer marketing.
Delight your customers, delight your boss, and dance around the office celebrating your success by belting out that Simon and Garfunkel song!
Inbound enthusiast helping businesses stand out from the crowd and engage both their customers and prospects.