The old marketing adage about how excellent customer service being the single most essential component of long-term profits is turning out to be true. The key question is what actually makes a particular customer happy? For many merchants, both online and off, finding specific answers for their own client base is almost like a secret that can unlock an endless stream of profitability.
Whether your organization is in business to sell goods, services, or both, it’s essential to understand the freshest developments in client satisfaction. Of course, some techniques and strategies only apply to certain industries, but many are universal. Regardless of how you currently aim to keep your buyers happy, here are some of the latest and most efficient methods that could add to your bottom line, in both the short run and long run.
Customer Relationship Management Software
CRM software programs have been a staple of the commercial sales world for more than a decade, but new AI-based versions are bringing a fresh new approach to the use of this helpful digital tool. Ten years ago, a typical CRM package might track and record five or six parameters of client characteristics, including age, purchase date, the amount spent, gender, geographic location, and previous purchases. Newer iterations of data mining will help CRM and bring in hundreds of relevant pieces of data about every transaction, all of which can be stored, parsed, analyzed, and eventually used to build consumer loyalty.
Managers don’t often view fleet management systems as a direct form of customer service enhancement, but they are. For example, owners who use comprehensive fleet tracking platforms from Samsara.com gain multiple benefits, including buyers who are more than glad to receive on-time deliveries. Plus, when your buyers are retailers, they depend on timely and regular arrival of shipments. In fact, sophisticated fleet tracking systems offer the advantage of achieving compliance standards, efficiency goals, safety benchmarks, and end-buyer satisfaction. Some of the relevant challenges for merchants is knowing the location of every fleet vehicle at all times, making sure the most efficient driving routes are followed, and keeping tabs on fuel use in real-time.
Once an afterthought of eager sales and marketing managers, the latest versions of loyalty reward programs are targeted and well thought out. No longer is the activity a free giveaway of goods and services. The entire concept of loyalty is involved in every stage of the reward process. Many sellers create dozens of tiers of buyers based on how loyal they are perceived to be. Placing a particular consumer into a specific tier might be based on the number of purchases, the amount spent during a set period, a major purchase, or other factors. What is a reward? It’s whatever you want it to be, as long as the recipient values it as being desirable.
One of the biggest and most impactful marketing trends of the last decade has been the subscription club. The idea is based on building loyalty from the very first purchase, often inducing new buyers with free offers or large discounts. There’s always a chance that someone will opt out of the deal, but the net result of well-designed marketing campaigns for subscription programs is highly positive.
In a digital age, entrepreneurs must use the right tools to maintain their reputations among current and potential buyers. The entire field of reputation management has grown up in less than a decade. Retailers, wholesalers, government agencies, charitable organizations, cities, and all sorts of commercial enterprises have discovered the value of hiring specialty agencies to clean up their online images. Reputation management pros create content, news events, publicity campaigns, and other forms of public information for the sole purpose of shoring up a troubling image or reputation. Results are often quite effective, especially when the problem is caught at an early stage.
Corporations have been using consumer focus groups for decades, and with good results. Company owners should remember that every focus group needs to be created with a specific purpose in mind, and should aim to answer a question like why did the last product fail, how do current buyers feel about the new giveaway program, or if the company is viewed as being socially responsible, just to name a few. The expense of setting up such group pales in comparison to their value.
24-Hour Help Lines
The beauty of 24-hour assistance lines is that the entire task can be outsourced to a company that specializes in tailor-made responses to consumers of all types. For merchants and e-commerce retailers who sell large volumes of merchandise, these kinds of buyer-oriented call centers are essential.
Another advantage is that it’s easy to identify trends in complaints and consumer comments. If, for instance, you receive more than 100 calls in a week’s time about the exact same problem, chances are you have some work to do. It’s important to view the expense of a helpline as a wise investment. Used properly, you can not only respond to client requests and concerns but can gain an insight into what you’re doing wrong.
In-House Customer Advocates
A trend that began in the newspaper business more than a half-century ago is taking root in today’s commercial enterprises, and it’s delivering impressive results. It entails the creation of an in-company job called client advocate, or a similar term. The gist of the position is that its sole function is to take up consumer complaints, questions, and inquiries directly to people in the organization who can deal with them most effectively.
For example, a buyer who repeatedly received damaged products in the mail might contact the advocate for resolution. The next step is for the representative to contact a shipping department manager and find out why several attempts at delivery failed miserably. In the end, the organization can uncover important information about trouble spots, and the buyer can get restitution in the form of quality, undamaged product. Keeping an eye on how your company strives to keep buyers satisfied is truly a core component of the entire quest for profits.