How do you go at customer service?
Do your customers and prospective customers walk away from interactions with you with a smile on their face and a feeling of reassurance – that you’ve got everything covered and that they’ll get a good deal, with their needs met, and a good quality product? If they don’t, or don’t all the time, then there’s an area of untapped profit that you are very likely missing out on. Why?
Because happy customers can act like your very own sales team – bringing you new leads and helping you to convince other interested parties that you’re someone they can trust to do a great job. Allow us to elaborate.
Customer service is king. Here’s why
What you hear from others has a huge impact
Ever been keen to eat at a restaurant after seeing they have a 1.5 star rating? What about if you saw another nearby that was the same cuisine, similar pricing, with a 4.5 star rating and over 200 reviews? It’s a no brainer which you’d choose.
What if you didn’t see any reviews online, but remembered hearing from a few people that they didn’t enjoy the first restaurant. Or worse, got sick from eating there? But what if you heard nothing about the first at all, but had heard from a bunch of people that the second restaurant was fantastic? Another straightforward answer on which you’d likely opt for.
The proof is in the pudding (of others)
‘Social proof’ is huge, and it goes both ways; it can provide that reassurance your prospective customers need to trust you and take the plunge – or it can redirect them elsewhere, seeing a risk in doing business with you.
It just stands to reason that it feels safer to go with a retailer that you have not been expressly warned about. And on the other hand, if you know that someone has had a fantastic experience with one company, you expect you’ll have the same awesome experience.
The importance of word of mouth
A big purchase like a shed is one the prospective customer is likely going to bring up in conversation. And if a friend, family member or colleague had a terrible experience with a retailer they’re considering, there’s no way that friend wouldn’t warn them.
Leverage word of mouth
There are some ways you can leverage this – encouraging spreading the word with refer-a-friend incentives (give ‘em both a gift voucher – or a Dan Murphy’s voucher), thanking customers who give you good feedback and asking them to share it in a review online. (Watch this space for more ideas – we’ll be publishing another blog soon to follow on ways to improve your customer relationships and leverage them).
But it’s clear to see, word of mouth, recommendations, shared experiences and the experiences of others makes a big impact on the decisions of one.
The angrier they are the louder they are
In fact, according to data, a dissatisfied customer will tell an average of 9 and 15 other people about their experience. And a small portion of people will tell more than 20 people about a negative experience. Customers who get their issue resolved and end up happy will tell about 4-6 people about their experience.
Make them shout your praises
But the happy customers can be loud as well. They will just sometimes need to be encouraged (refer a friend incentives, thanking them for their feedback and/or referrals, and asking for them to share their positive reviews online), or if not encouraged, they need to be extra satisfied. And this is done via excellent customer service and a great end-product.
72% of happy customers will tell at least six other people about their satisfying experience. And 94% of customers will recommend a company they received “very good” service from.
A happy shed customer is going to tell their friends about it. How easy the process was, the quality of the product, and the awesome price and experience they had. If they had a problem that the retailer was able to solve, they will in most cases mention the solution, as well as the problem. And that goes a huge way towards reputation and trust.
Good reviews and word of mouth generate trust
Seeing a huge amount of positive reviews online for any kind of business gives you confidence that you can trust them, and you’re going to get a good outcome. Seeing minimal to no reviews leaves you without any reassurance that they can be trusted – which can be okay if you’re new or niche, but if your direct competitor has similar pricing and products and way more reviews (that are mostly positive), you can bet your customer will go for the option that seems the safest.
And the same goes for word of mouth. Customers are far more likely to go with the retailer they’ve heard great things about. Because why wouldn’t they want a similarly great outcome?
Creating goodwill gets you referrals
Happy customers can do your lead generation work for you. How many times have you asked a friend who has something you would like, where they got it from? Whether it’s a new boat shed that looks great in the backyard of an avid fisherman talking to his friends, or a colleague asking for advice on a good value internet provider, your happy customers can refer you to others in a heartbeat.
They do this in two ways; a response to a question from the interested buyer, or telling others about their great experience and outcome unsolicited.
Happy customers can also do your marketing for you
Happy customers can also do your marketing for you – with something called user generated content. User generated content is just like it sounds – your customer is stoked about his new shed, posts a photo of it looking schmick in the backyard all over his social media, raving how great his new shed is. If he’s had an extra good experience, he may even mention you in it, or tag you.
Regardless, a bunch of his facebook or Instagram friends see it, some may comment, or ask him directly who was responsible for creating such a masterpiece. Or details like how much it cost, what size it is, would it fit a caravan, etc. Before you know it, they’ve promoted your product, the experience, posted imagery of it (something that’s hard for shed retailers to do) and even communicated some of that emotion of excitement that comes with the purchase. And all the time, they’ve told others about you and your great work – all organically and with a huge amount of credibility.
The other side of word of mouth: negative experiences can cause a lot of damage
Then of course, there’s the other side. Unfortunately, you can have eight people with a positive experience, and two with a negative experience, and you can bet on which is most likely to leave a public review and/or tell others: the unhappy customers. It’s just a fact that unhappy customers are the loudest.
Why do they do this? It may be largely due to feeling powerless. Unheard, unhappy and unable to do anything about it. Usually they’ve tried to reach out to resolve the issue with the business, to no avail. That’s definitely what you want to avoid. When customers come to you with a problem or are unhappy, it’s best for not only them, but also for you, to come to a resolution. Not just because of the fear of negative reviews. But also because of word of mouth.
Some people are, of course, just jerks. But usually there’s a reason for it. The angry customer knows that they can knock you down a peg by leaving a negative review. And negative reviews do damage your reputation.
Negative reviews put that seed of doubt in others looking to entrust you with their hard earned cash. Or at the very least, they bring down your review score average.
Now, a bad review is expected in many businesses. There are some things that can help to reduce the impact of a negative review – including having a multitude of passionately positive reviews, responding publicly and appropriately so others reading through know that you’re trying to come to a resolution. And taking the conversation offline, resolving the problem, then asking the customer to kindly take down, or amend the review. It can happen. But the best cure is to up your customer service game to reduce these situations from occuring in the first place.
Make sure your positive reviews outweigh the negative
It’s really important to make sure that your positive reviews far outweigh the negative ones.
This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, your average review score out of 5 stars will be impacted by the ratings you get. If you only have 3 5-star reviews, and 1 negative 1 star reviews come in, your star rating will be way more impacted than if you have 10 5-star reviews. This is also the case for the ‘convincing’ piece. When choosing which retailer to go with, if a customer sees two very positive reviews and one very negative review, they can’t tell if the service is terrible, or good. If the same retailer had 50 five star reviews and the 1 negative review, even if it was very harsh and detailed, this is taken with a grain of salt in the context of the sea of positivity and praise.
Deliver great service and a great product, and keep your customer as the focus and priority in your dealings with them, throughout the whole process and you’ll be giving them good reason to provide a great review. And if you get great feedback, thank your customer sincerely, ask them to leave a positive review online, and let them know how much this benefits the business. People love a heartfelt, personal message like this.
Happy customers come back - one way or another
While sheds are often a one-time purchase, the thing about happy customers is that they come back. Sometimes this is in the form of them themselves – building another shed or structure on their current property, building on another property, building for their business to name a few. But they can also come back, in the form of others. Brother in-law need a shed? They know just the place. This is an easy win – all you have to do is provide good customer service and a great experience.
The cost of customer service is less than you think - and the benefits are high
It takes less than you might imagine to create and keep happy customers – and reap all of these benefits of customer service.
Keeping the benefits of ecstatic customers in mind – and the risks of delivering a bad experience will help to ensure that you’re at the top of your customer service game.
It’s important to keep in mind the costs of keeping customers happy (which might seem like extra effort, and at times extra costs in the short term), but in the long term can pay off to reap the extra rewards of easy leads coming in from referrals, and the benefits of doing business with an excellent reputation intact. At the very least, you’ll avoid the cost of having to deal with the setbacks of a bunch of negative reviews impacting on your new customer trust factor.
We’ll cover ways to improve your customer relationships for the various types of business set ups (individual traders and small to medium businesses) in one of our next blogs – so watch this space.
Our software and solutions give you everything you need. And we provide options, such as our Quotec Retail solution that gives you even more for shed retailer independence – complete with your own name, brand, logo, website and our famous industry-leading software, that you can run your entire business out of. And, as we’re here for you, we’re always happy to help out with advice where you need it – drawing on over 45 years of industry specific experience.