I recently came across an article touting a certain quick-service chicken restaurant and its winning recipe for customer satisfaction. Aside from loving the food, their customers rave about the restaurants’ cleanliness, quick, convenient service, and hardworking employees.
These rave reviews mean the fast-food giant continuously ranks highly in the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And they reap additional rewards in the ways of fast growth and improved profitability.
So it got me thinking.
They obviously recognized a gap in the market to offer warmer, more inviting experiences to consumers grabbing quick bites to eat.
But isn’t that everyone’s goal?
As a small business owner, of course you want to deliver great customer service. And you’re uniquely positioned to do so. You’re more involved in the day-to-day operations of your business, and because of that, you’re more in tune with how you treat customers.
But how often do you think about why providing great customer service is so important?
Check out these startling customer service stats.
- 65% of U.S. consumers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than good advertising.
- 54% of U.S. consumers feel customer experience at most companies needs improvement.
- 73% of U.S. consumers say customer experience is a very important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Here’s what great customer service means for your small business.
This one’s pretty intuitive. 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. On the other hand, happy customers turn into repeat customers. And unhappy ones will almost certainly turn to the competition.
If you’ve been in business long enough, you know repeat customers are vital to your business.
Use these great customer service tactics to encourage customers to come back:
- Follow up after each sale with a thank you. Include it on digital receipts, or text those who’ve opted in.
- Send a coupon, promotion or special incentive to anyone who hasn’t visited your business in a while.
- Create a loyalty program, so you can track purchases of your most frequent customers and reward them for their loyalty.
Increase in Revenue
Repeat customers actually spend more, too. On each return visit, you can expect repeat customers to spend about 3 times more than first-time customers.
Not only do they spend more, they come back more often too. When customers have a good experience, they have a nearly 30% chance of returning. And the more often they return, the higher the likelihood they’ll keep coming back.
It’s on your small business to make each and every one of these interactions a positive one. Do so successfully, and it’ll have a positive impact on your revenue as well.
Happy customers love to refer you to friends and family. If they do so by word of mouth, great! Or more likely, they may use online ratings and reviews to share their positive experiences.
But more and more, people are using social media to find local businesses instead of search engines. Think like a consumer. Would you rather trust recommendations from total strangers and search engines or from your friends and family?
Sites like Facebook are accommodating this trend by specially formatting status updates and posts that ask for recommendations.
When someone mentions a type of local business, asks for something “near them,” or shares something that looks like the name of a local business, Facebook lets them tag it as a recommendations post.
Then, Facebook formats it calling out the fact that the user is looking for help from their friends.
The next time a happy customer wants to recommend your business on Facebook, help them out! Make sure your Facebook Business page is public and up to date. Most importantly, make sure your location information is accurate and broad enough such that when someone in your geographic area searches for your business or goes to recommend you, you show up first.
Better Online Reviews
One of the most obvious ways customer service impacts your business is with the online reviews and ratings. Customers frequently post these online after doing business with you.
Have a not-so-sweet relationship with online ratings and reviews? Don’t let a couple negative reviews and low ratings get you down. Instead, use your customer service know-how to combat bad ratings and reviews online.
The more positive reviews you can generate from happy customers, the less the negative ones will matter.
And, when you have a high volume of detailed, mostly positive, online ratings and reviews, search engines take notice. Sites like Google see this as a cue that your business is trusted and reputable, and they’ll recommend you more often in search results.
More Frequent Online Bookings
Better online reviews enhance your search engine optimization. But getting found more often doesn’t matter if you can’t convert web traffic into paying customers.
Use your online assets like your business listings, social media pages and your website to convert this web traffic into online bookings. How? Place smart, consistent calls to action prominently. If you do accept bookings online, feature buttons and links that say, “Book Now,” or “Schedule Appointment.”
Pro tip: Try not to incorporate too many calls to action, or consumers may be overwhelmed and miss the opportunity to book with you.