Measuring customer happiness
Customers are fickle creatures. The vast majority may love you for a short period of time but with so many other businesses vying for their attention they’re quick to forget the effort you put into making them happy. Even when you have a loyal base of customers all it takes is one foul step and that loyalty is gone.
"It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute."
- Will Rogers
For businesses with dozens of customer interactions a day, reputation management is an ongoing battle. Training staff to handle happy, angry and difficult customers is only the beginning because, in truth, everything your business does is reliant on customer happiness. It’s not just about the face-to-face interactions either. The products or services you deliver need to resonate with the needs of the customer otherwise they won’t be purchased. Your brand needs to stand for something so the customer cares about using you over your competitors.
A potential customer may only take a surface glance at your business before deciding whether they should invest more of their time in assessing you as a solutions provider. They might look at your website to see if you look professional, your social media accounts to see what culture your business has, and they may read reviews to see what current and past customers think of you.
“The customer’s perception is your reality.”
- Kate Zabriskie
Despite the fact that customers are core to a business’s success, very few companies have an active strategy for gathering and measuring their customers’ feedback. It’s not until repeat custom declines or growth stagnates that a business realises it might not be looking after its customers well enough to encourage them to keep coming back.
Not every business is in a position to implement a massive customer retention strategy or employ a huge team of customer service reps to keep customers happy. So, to help you find ways to measure customer happiness we’ve created this short list of low cost and free methods for you to measure your customer's happiness.
The best way to identify whether you’re satisfying your customers is to see them purchase again. If you’re in an industry where one-off purchases are common then skip to point two; but for repeat purchase items seeing them buy again shows that you’re still their go-to brand in your segment.
But don’t let a few really active customers blind you to the situation. You should set a target for repeat customers and measure it in some way so that a decline, or failure to meet your target, is noticed. Using a simple sales measurement tool and CRM like HubSpot or Pipedrive are great first steps towards measuring customer happiness.
No matter what you sell or how often you sell it, any form of referral is a clear indication that someone had a great experience. Friends don’t let other friends buy from rubbish companies so having someone put their reputation as an advisor on the line to recommend your company is a real win.
You could encourage these by offering a win-win for each new referral but people still won’t recommend someone just for a reward if your service sucks. These are purely a method for encouraging happy customers to take action and not to plaster over the failings of a struggling offering.
Ask for feedback
Whereas the previous two suggestions are implicit this is explicit. Previously we’ve looked at a person’s behaviour to understand their motives but there’s also no substitute for simply asking what they think.
If you don’t ask then you don’t get. It’s never been easier for a business to create several frictionless touch-points to gather customer feedback and discover whether something they’re doing is annoying their customers. Asking might feel awkward and hearing negative feedback might be disheartening but the dividends it yields are incomparable. Obviously a great tool for this is Review Tui! You can create short surveys or simply ask for a rating out of 5 stars. Either way, you get to hear what customers love about you and where you can improve.
Your customers will be measuring you against your competitors so you should too. Look at the number of public reviews they have and set a target to beat them. You can use a platform like Review Tui to make gathering customer feedback easier, and its handy dashboard helps you to measure where your best (and worst) feedback comes from. By asking for feedback rather than a simple score from 1 to 10 you can actually read what people love, and what they want you to improve on.
Make a point of checking out your competitor review sites to see what their customers love and what they don’t. You could even feed some of their pain points into your marketing efforts!
Make it public
When someone gives you internal feedback that would be valuable for potential customers to see you can take it and place it on your website as a testimonial (with the person’s permission). You can even share a link to one of your public review sites, like Google or Facebook, so they might share their experience with other potential customers.
Online reviews are often seen as more relevant to customers as there is the perception that testimonials are curated whereas reviews are independent of the business in question. Therefore you shouldn’t just harvest feedback for testimonials but also encourage public reviews. There’s no point having hundreds of great testimonials if no-one visits your website because your Google reviews are rubbish!
Who is responsible for customer feedback?
A common issue in many businesses is ascertaining who is responsible for customer feedback. Is it a job for sales, marketing, or the customer service team? In reality, it’s everyone’s responsibility. Even when you’re a 1,000+ person business every employee should be empowered to gather feedback from customers and put it somewhere where everyone can review it.
That’s why Review Tui encourages businesses to have unlimited users in the business portal. From the CEO to the delivery drivers and everyone in between, why shouldn’t they be able to see what customers are saying about the company? After all, ideas for improvement can come from the most unlikely places. A small change really can make a difference.
Put your Review Tui feedback dashboard up on a TV in the office so everyone can see real data and customer words verbatim. Share the links to your surveys so people can email them to customers when the opportunity arises, reward people for being feedback ambassadors and recognise people that give customers an exceptional experience!