For many companies, client retention rates are significantly more important than client acquisition rates and yet all the investment seems to go into acquiring new customers. There are quite a few reasons for this. But one of the most important is that most companies do not put enough effort into maintaining the client experience after the sale. The client experience is the face of your company, and is often one of the biggest differentiators between you and your competition.
Product Life Cycle (PLC) is the term that is most commonly used to describe the stages a product goes through. When it is released until it is no longer in the market. As a company, your PLC should be broken down into a few stages. Identifying which stage your company is in and where your product is in the PLC is a foundational element for planning your client experience. Here are a few tips from someone who primarily works in the B2B space on how to improve the client experience from the client’s perspective.
1. Document your process
Sharing how you best serve your customer with the other employees in the company is a great way to build consistency in service delivery. As well as allowing you to test and improve parts of your process along the way.
2. Get feedback from your clients, but don’t let them dictate the process
Henry ford once said that if he asked his customers what they wanted. They would have said faster horses which shows that the customer may be always right but they don’t always share the vision. You need to make the customer happy while making sure that whatever has been requested can be efficiently delivered.
3. Be proactive about the client experience
Customer preferences change and so do expectations of customer service. People expect self service or rapid response, make sure your technology stack is equipped to handle it.
4. Review your processes and experiences regularly
Making small tweaks to processes can add up to very large performance gains. Toyota do this on a regular basis and it is called Kaizen which translates to continuous improvement.
5. Revisit your PLC
Your product lifecycle may need to evolve, more and more products are being offered “as a service” and you may be able to have longer relationships with your clients by looking at the way you deliver your product or service.
6. Elicit feedback after the sale
Real customer feedback is invaluable, understanding who your customers are is one thing but it may be different 3 months after the sale. Check back in and see what customers think and feel about your product and/or business.
7. Train your team in emotional intelligence
Salespeople that follow scripts sound like robots, when they get an answer they don’t expect they pause and carry on with the script which makes the customer feel like you are not listening or you don’t care. Connecting with your customer can accelerate the sale and get them saying yes.
8. Use a CRM to track client interactions
70% of customers expect a seamless handover between departments. It means that businesses need to be able to share the information and keep track of who called when and for what.
9. Use a knowledge base
Customers want answers fast and having a searchable knowledge base can be your 24/7 case deflection specialist, giving customers the information they need when they need it.
10. Use a CRM to track your key metrics
Metrics such as net promoter score are the outputs of great customer experience. Some of the other metrics that can affect, the inputs of great customer experience are average case handling time or call handling time. How quickly are you responding?
11. Don’t forget about your existing clients
Your existing clients are more important than any other customer. They have already invested in you and are more likely to buy and cheaper to market to.
12. Make new customer feel special
When you do get a new customer, thank them for making the right decision and let them know you care.