Keeping the customer satisfied: the key to profit
It’s a misconception that price drives customer satisfaction scores. After the Great Recession, when businesses and the consumer were nervous about spending, for a couple of years there seemed to be a hiatus in complaints about customer service. Steep discounts appeared to increase spending and placate consumer ire about sub-standard service. Now we’ve returned to a more stable environment, people are noticing poor service − and this takes its toll on sales, revenues, and profits.
In fact, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) customer satisfaction sunk to an all-time low in 2015. Yet some companies managed to avoid deep discounts, improve satisfaction scores, and increase profits. These companies – brands like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, and PINK– know the secret to satisfying customer needs and wants.
Communication is the key to satisfying customer needs and wants
The secret to satisfying customer needs and wants is to connect with them. This is what ensures a business always matches products and services to the needs of its customers. Of course, there must be value for the customer across three key areas:
- Product – does the product meet expectations of features, benefits, quality, and price?
- Process – will the product or service improve the customer’s business or life?
- Performance – will the product or service impact the customer’s revenues and profits?
Without having meaningful communication with the customer, a salesperson won’t be able to offer a usefulsolution. He or she will be ill-equipped to satisfy customer needs and wants. It’s also fair to say that a customer’s needs and wants are constantly evolving. So not only must a salesperson have the skillset to communicate effectively with his or her customer, but this communication and relationship must be constantly and ongoing.
7 ways to communicate effectively with customers
Here are seven rules of communication to ensure that you are satisfying customer needs and wants at all times. Make these a part of your everyday approach to customers, and you’ll guarantee you stay one step ahead of your competition.
1. Be genuine and increase referrals
Happy customers tell at least four others about their positive experience. Get to know your customers on a personal basis, and ensure they know that you care about them and their business. Be timely with your responses, and never over-promise.
2. Respect the customer
An emotionally intelligent salesperson will understand their customer’s moods, behaviors, and responses. They will be able to act and respond accordingly, keeping open, effective lines of communication and drilling down to root causes of concern. When the customer feels comfortable in the communication process, they will offer more insightful feedback.
3. Remember that communication is effective when it’s two-way
Ensure your customer knows that their feedback is important by acting upon it. By doing so you’ll reinforce the importance of your working relationship.
4. Become a trusted partner
Like communication, trust is a two-way street. Keep your customers up to date with proposed changes ahead of time, and invite them to take part in customer surveys. If you’ve made an error, be upfront about it – and don’t forget to act on feedback received.
5. Encourage transparency by being transparent
Customers respect transparency. It helps build trust, and encourages open and honest communication. Never be afraid of feedback and always be happy to speak to your customers – if you have nothing to hide, your customers won’t hide anything, either.
6. Listening is important
Two-way communication only works when you listen to what is being communicated: this includes understanding the difference between verbal and non-verbal communication. Take note of what satisfies your customers and what makes them unhappy – and then respond by making necessary changes.
7. Be consistent and constant
Provide excellent service by communicating regularly. Put your customers at ease by letting them know you share their values, beliefs, concerns, and goals. Be timely and enthusiastic with your responses, and offer the ongoing support that competitors can’t match.
Our Integrity Selling Course will help your sales team onboard new skills, embed methods of identifying customer needs, and hone them to perfection. The result will be a high-impact sales team on an exponential sales curve. Contact us today to discuss how to propel your sales team to qualified success.