Big businesses love to talk about improving customer satisfaction. They spend tons of money going “above and beyond” to delight customers and keep them coming back.
Yet, customer satisfaction rates continue to decline. That’s because they focus on the wrong things.
Instead of trying to delight customers, businesses should focus on reducing customer effort.
This approach to customer satisfaction will make it easy for your customers to work with you. And if you can save customers time and trouble, they’ll look to you first.
Customer Experience (CX) refers to a customer’s perceptions and feelings each time they interact with your business.
When 74% of consumers buy based on experience alone, CX is not something you can ignore.
So you can’t reduce customer effort for one part of the customer journey. You need to examine every customer touchpoint to figure out where you can cut out unnecessary steps.
This might mean optimizing your sales process, providing self-service options, or providing proactive support.
Here are some examples:
Here are four tips for increasing customer satisfaction based on reducing customer effort.
To reduce customer effort, you need to understand their preferences and needs.
The fastest way to get that information is to ask.
Commit to speaking with five customers a week. Keep it simple and ask permission, like in this example:
When you find customers willing to help out, ask them short and to-the-point questions. Focus on areas of improvement.
It’s also important to let your customers share negative experiences. These can highlight areas of your business that need immediate work.
If you’re not sure what to ask, we’ve put together some sample survey questions to help you get started.
With all the options available for people to connect, providing email or phone support isn’t enough anymore.
Your customers want to communicate with you in a way that’s comfortable for them.
“But let’s be honest, nobody wants to answer phone calls.”
-Cori Garrod, A-1 Self Storage
When A-1 Self Storage realized they were having trouble reaching customers by phone, they checked in with their customer base. It turns out, their customers prefer text-based communication.
The marketing team listened. They text-enabled their landlines with SimpleTexting and added new services like payment reminders. Customers appreciated the faster response times, and it helped A-1 close more sales.
Depending on your customer base, it can also be good to consider social media as a support channel. You don’t need to be active on every social media platform, only the ones your customers use. If you’re not sure what those are, ask!
The buying process starts long before checkout.
Customers must identify their needs, look for information, and consider potential solutions. Then they need to make a purchasing decision.
If there are too many solutions available, customers can have a hard time deciding. You can help them out by simplifying the buying process.
Not sure where to start? These questions will help you identify areas of your buying process to improve:
Most support responses are reactive—a customer has an issue and reaches out. Then the support team reacts to perform damage control.
Alternatively, proactive support is when you provide support before the customer needs to reach out. For example, a customer experiences an issue and, on your contact page, there’s a link to an FAQ that solves their problem.
Providing a solution before a problem happens will reduce customer effort. Proactive support shows you understand the issues your customers face and you care about solving them.
Before you begin a total helpline overhaul, start by looking at your support request history. Then look for ways to address the most common requests.
Empower your customers to find their answers. Analyze support trends and add an FAQ or knowledge base section to answer questions proactively.
If a support request for information is often followed by a request for how to take action, place those answers next to each other.
Follow the same script for email support. When a common request is often followed by another, answer the second request in the first email. The idea is to reduce the number of times a customer has to contact you to solve their issue.
It’s also a good idea to automate where you can. Send an automated after-sale email. Include links to your product support page and FAQs to save customers time and effort.
Also, be upfront about potential service issues or outages. Giving your customers a heads up on any downtime or delays will allow them to prepare instead of spending time on the phone trying to find out what’s wrong.
Reducing customer effort to increase customer satisfaction will create happy customers. Satisfied customers get you return business and fantastic referrals.
Use one or more of these strategies today to set up your future success!
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