We've talked a lot about funding and coming up with a startup idea, but what comes next? Let’s now take a look at customers. You have an MVP, you have approached investors, and you most likely have some customers. But how are you going to keep them, make them loyal, and win their hearts?
Sometimes the most difficult aspect of a successful business is persuading your clients to spread the word, which could be a very powerful weapon. WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing is one of the most effective forms of advertising as 92 percent of consumers trust their friends over traditional media (Investopedia).
But it is a double-edged sword. According to Esteban Kolsky, a positive experience will be shared by 72 percent of customers with six or more individuals. On the other hand, 13% of dissatisfied customers will tell 15 or more others about their bad experience.
Customers that are happy and satisfied with your services are more likely to continue with you in the long run and spread the word; isn’t that the ultimate purpose of any business?
In a survey conducted by SuperOffice, where 1,920 business professionals were asked to share their number one priority for the next 5 years, customer experience (CX) came in first, beating product and pricing.
Meeting your customer’s expectations is so important not only because you get free marketing,but also you’ll get repeat customers.
It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. The primary rule of any business is to keep consumers and create a loyal relationship with them in order to avoid the costs of customer acquisition. It's a well-known fact that 44 percent of businesses prioritize customer acquisition above retention, whereas 18 percent prioritize retention. Furthermore, just 40% of businesses and 30% of agencies place equal emphasis on acquisition and retention. (Invesp) The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent. (Smallbiztrends)
A survey by Statista shows which are customer’s top reasons for repeat purchases from retailers. They include resends of lost or damaged items, fast shipping, refunds, predictions about arrival dates, offers and personal experience.
Another great reason why it is important to meet your customer’s expectations is that it sets you apart from competitors. In such a competitive market, customer experience is frequently the most important factor that customers consider when choosing a brand. This applies for both attracting new clients and retaining existing ones.
When you demonstrate to a consumer that you understand and anticipate their needs, they are considerably more inclined to pick or return to you over your competition.
How to identify your customers’ needs?
Asking your consumers directly is the simplest method to learn what they want. Sending them an email survey, posting a feedback page for them, or conducting a one-on-one interview are all options. Asking your customers about their experience and any issues they might be having (of course, offering solutions to them) might be an excellent way to show them that you do care and that you are willing to improve. Another simple way to figure out what your customers want is to speak with the people who already deal with them on a daily basis – customer support if you’ve already established one.
Another way to identify your customers’ needs is by doing competitive research. What are consumers saying about your competitors? What are they complaining about or what do they enjoy the most? Some of the places where you can look for that kind of information are review websites or their own website and social media pages.
We have recently outlined some of the questions that you should be asking yourself when identifying customers’ needs as well.
We explained why customer experience is so important and how to identify customer’s needs, but the real question is HOW do we meet these expectations?
1. Improve response time
2. Ensure a consistent experience across all channels.
Ascertain that all of your teams are cooperating to ensure that clients receive the same information across all channels. You can’t expect customers to look at your business and see all your complex processes and workflows. It would be unacceptable, for example, if your customer care staff was unaware of new features or promotions revealed by your social media team.
3. Only make promises that you can keep
Never promise your customer that you will deliver a solution faster than you can. This applies to everything you're accountable for, including responses, shipments, resends, refunds, and anything else, even product quality.
4. Add a personal touch
5. Be transparent
Be completely open and transparent about pricing information, return and cancellation policies, and the level of support customers can expect from you and your team. Taking the time to do so will keep your consumers from being caught off guard by policies they don't like.
6. Develop a customer centric culture
Your customers should always be at the center of what you do. Companies frequently make the mistake of entrusting their customers' satisfaction to customer service. That shouldn’t be the case. If you are building a new feature or coming up with a new product, always keep your customer on the basis of the decision you must make. This is how you develop a customer centric culture.
7. Use the element of surprise
Surprising your customers can be an easy way to impress them. Catching the attention of your audience with a gift or reward provides the memorable element of delight. It not only draws them back, but it also leaves a lasting impression that pays off in the end. Zappos, for example, surprises its customers with free shipping. Think of something that will light the spark in your business, why not a personalized surprise?
It's no longer optional to meet and exceed customer expectations— it is a requirement. Customer experience has become the most important feature in a business nowadays. Forget for a while about product and pricing, focus on the customer, and the rest will come.