Back in the day, you would develop an exciting product, find a storefront, put an advert in the Yellow pages or newspapers and wait for the phone to ring or clients to walk in the door. Those days are gone.
The Transition from Brick-and-Mortar to Online
At a brick-and-mortar store, you would meet your clients every day. It had its advantages and disadvantages – perhaps the biggest advantage was that you could actually interact with customers and build a relationship with them based on your face-to-face meeting. Today in the digital age, you may never even meet your clients in person! Instead of walking into your store, they will google you and your products or services. They will first compare you with your competition. Then, they will read existing reviews, check your website, offer, and prices, and finally make a decision whether or not to buy from you.
Even though competition is tough these days, especially on the Internet, more and more businesses go online and fight for customer attention. It takes a lot of effort and time to gain that attention. But the fact that there are currently 4,208,571, 287 internet users speaks for itself. Why not reach out to them with your own website or platform?
Before you do, we listed the absolute must-haves when it comes to online presence:
- A professional website
- Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter and other platforms
- TripAdvisor reviews
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
The Internet and developing digital technologies have changed the way customers find out about businesses and products. This evolution has also changed consumer behaviour over the last decades. Today, clients expect:
- A product that meets their needs
- A reasonable price
- A reputable supplier
- Good service and support
The thing is that Google, TripAdvisor, or even Booking give customers the possibility to easily compare you and your competition side by side – at first glance.
How to Stand Out From Your Competitors?
The answer might be to sell the benefits your product or service brings to clients, rather than the features that your development team has worked so hard to create.
Translate Your Product Features into Product Benefits
A feature is an attribute of something; how heavy, what colour, how big is the engine, etc.. The benefit of a feature is what users can accomplish with it. Essentially, your product’s benefits are the primary reason your customer would choose to buy your product and not that of your competitor.
You have spent plenty of time developing a product and releasing it to market. You made sure that it has the best features and specifications. Features are facts about products or services. All the effort you put into the project makes you think that your product is the best, impressive, and just way better than competitors.
Now put yourself in the shoes of your customer. A customer that thinks of a product from the perspective of its benefits. They will review your sales pitch, read the brochure, visit the website to think “why should I buy this product and not a different, but similar one?”
Below are a few examples of how a product feature can and should translate into its benefit:
‘I write high-converting web copy’.
With me, you can convert more web visitors into sales.
‘This bike has 24 gears’.
You can use the lowest gear to get up hills effortlessly.
‘This Mobile phone has a 750 mAh capacity’.
The phone will last 2 days without recharging.
Customers buy benefits, not features. That’s why, each and every time you design your offering, think as if you were your own customer. Frame everything in their eyes to respond to their question: “What’s in it for me?”
People are looking to satisfy their needs, not a product or service. Your offer needs to be the answer to their needs, wants, expectations, and problems.
The Undeniable Power of Customer Satisfaction and How to Improve It
Just as excellent customer service can dramatically increase your revenue, poor customer experience will be detrimental to your business. One of the most important things is to show that you care about your customers. Almost 70% of customers will leave and not purchase your product again because they think you don’t care about them.
Image source: SuperOffice.com
Happy customers are your best, least expensive salesforce. They talk to each other in forums such as golf or Rotary clubs, Chamber of Commerce meetings and industry seminars. Remember, people buy from those they like – be positive and helpful when dealing with them. It takes five times more effort and cost to sell to a new customer than a repeat order from an existing, satisfied client. A sales clerk (or website, or an advert) might sell the first product, but it is the service you provide which sells the next, and all those which follow. Think about how customers perceive your product or service. Their perception of you is the reality in which you must operate. Try and spend some time imagining that you are in their shoes, and see how your service presents itself.
Handle Customer Complaints with Utmost Care
If a customer is unhappy, he or she will voice their complaint. In the digital era, customers are extremely powerful. Their complaints can spread with lightning speed on Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor, Yelp and app store reviews.
The report from The Nottingham School of Economics proves that saying “sorry” to unhappy customers works better than only offering financial compensation.
An unhappy client expressing his dissatisfaction by placing a negative review, rather than talking to you, costs sales. So, make it easy for clients to complain directly to you rather than reaching for their social media loudspeaker. Then take prompt action to resolve the problem. Recognise that only one person in three will complain. Make sure to get back to the customer to demonstrate that you acknowledge their complaint and explain what you have done about it. The one customer who grumbles may represent others who are also unhappy but remain silent. It takes considerable time and effort to build a good reputation, but only a couple of bad reviews to lose it.
Treat Early Adopters like Royalty
These are the very first clients that have used your product or service and purchased it. To turn these customers into your brand advocates, you must remember to always treat early adopters like royalty. For example:
- Ask them for regular feedback
- Keep them informed about your new features
- Offer discounts for being loyal to your brand
When you create new products or enhancements to what you already have, consider involving them in the development and launch plans. They will feel special, and you will learn a lot about your product or service.
5 Surefire Ways to Improve Customer Satisfaction
So what are some other ways in which you can drive customer satisfaction in today’s consumer-centric landscape?
- Present your products in such a way that the focus is on client benefits rather than technical features
- Don’t regard giving good customer service as a fad, but as a daily business imperative.
- Make it easy for a client to complain directly to you. Keep the unhappy customer informed about what you do about the problem.
- See customer complaints as an opportunity. Maybe others are having the same problem. Perhaps what they say is a disguised suggestion for new features you should incorporate into your next release.
- Customer perception IS reality.