How to Achieve Client Delight
Posted by Caty Smart on Jan 15, 2020 11:42:22 AM
As most account managers will tell you, it's never fun to wonder if you're doing a good job at meeting client expectations. It's not that we, as account managers, feel like we're doing a BAD job. It's that it's often difficult to understand the preferences and personalities of each individual client. While one client may be quick to respond to emails, another might not have answered an email in months because they just trust you to help them meet their goals.
But it's the unknown of whether we're meeting their expectations or not that can drive us crazy. That's why it's important for account managers to understand and honestly evaluate our companies' ability to delight customers and provide a consistent and positive experience across the board.
WHAT IS CLIENT DELIGHT?
According to HubSpot, client delight means going so above-and-beyond to create a positive experience with a product or brand that customers will sing your praises for you. But, "a positive experience" could mean different things to different people. In order to delight your customers, you must first understand your customers. This can be done by capturing information about the client throughout the relationship that helps facilitate a unique experience, starting with the sales process.
At Tribute Media, we utilize HubSpot's CRM to capture information about the client from the time they become a lead to the time they decide they no longer need our digital marketing services. This allows us to provide a tailored experience for each and every client. From end-of-month report preferences, to what their favorite treat is after a long day at the office, we have an arsenal of notes to help our account managers achieve client delight.
By storing this information in HubSpot, we have one central place for our team to:
- Reference the client's web marketing goals
- See the client's meeting preferences
- Find the client's likes and dislikes
- Leave notes that may be helpful in delighting the client down the road
When evaluating your company's ability to delight, start with focusing on three main elements of your business that are centered around your customers; Customer culture, customer service, and customer success.
While company culture is becoming a popular topic among employees in the workplace, customer culture should be just as (if not more) important. Just as company culture is intended to create happy employees, customer culture is intended to create happy customers. It's estimated that happy customers will share their positive experiences with about 11 people--not to mention, they're more likely to renew or purchase additional services.
So, how can you create a customer culture that sets your company up for success and your clients up for delight?
Think about the services you already offer your customers.
- How can you put your customers at the forefront of what you're wanting to accomplish as a company?
- How can you ensure your customers feel heard and that their feedback makes a difference?
- How can you make their experiences with your company such as boring end of month reports more enjoyable?
Celebrate your customers successes as much as you celebrate your own
If you see something exciting happened within their company on LinkedIn, share it! Did your customer recently have a workiversary? Celebrate it! Sending them a small "Congratulations!" by way of a Starbucks gift card or even a quick note can go a long way in creating an emotional connection that shows them you care about their successes.
Don't just create events, create experiences
You know what people do in 2020 when they're at an event or won something unexpected? They publish that experience on social media. By providing experiences that are centered around the client, not your company, you provide opportunities for your customer culture to be shared.
HubSpot's annual INBOUND conference, for example, was an event BUILT for loyal HubSpot users to do the social media advertising for them. HubSpot achieved this by creating fun and engaging photo opportunities around every corner, not to mention the awesome freebies they were giving away when someone posted a photo from INBOUND with the #Inbound19 hashtag. This not only made for a great experience for HubSpot's customers, but it also delighted them by getting free swag AND got #Inbound19 trending #2 on Twitter (the event took place over Beyonce's birthday and it seems not even HubSpot can dethrone Queen Bey).
Get together with your team to create a fun company branded hashtag and have that hashtag printed on some card stock. When you send out your next "Congratulations!" gift card, attach the gift card to the card stock and before you know it- you'll be getting a shout out on social media from your appreciative customer. Now you're not only delighting your customers, but you're expanding your company's reach by getting in front of your customer's social media following.
When we think about customer service, things that come to mind tend to be experiences with account managers or support--whether that's by phone, email, or online chat. And, as we all know, there's a big difference in good customer service and bad customer service. Does anyone ACTUALLY like calling their internet provider?
While it's important to make sure you're meeting your customer's expectations with your customer service by being responsive, timely, and helpful; there's always more that we can do to delight our customers.
Here are a few examples of how you can take your customer service from good, to great!
Allow customers to use their own preferred method of communication
Often, companies set up support system to accommodate what works best for their team and internal processes. But, we need to allow our customers to reach out to us through whatever channel makes them feel most comfortable. And these days, you need to be thinking about how your buyer personas prefer to engage with your support team.
According to HubSpot Research 62% of customers want to communicate with companies via email for customer service. 48% want to use the phone, 42% live chat, and 36% "Contact Us" forms.
In a world where we're now used to immediate answers thanks to tools like Google, Siri, and Alexa, it's more important than ever to communicate when your customers can expect a response from your customer service team. Communicating clear expectations will go a long way in your ability to delight your customers. There's nothing worse than losing a potential client or even an existing client because they grew impatient while waiting for a response to an inquiry!
Listen to your customers on social media
While the majority of your customers will likely opt to use the official support channels outlined above, your organization should be setting up brand monitoring across social media. Google My Business, Yelp!, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all places consumers are very much voicing their opinions related to the service and experiences they have. And while, in a perfect world, our customers would always tell us how they're feeling by answering our surveys, sometimes reviews and comments are better indicators of how you can improve your overall customer service.
When considering your ability to delight your customers, it's important to note that social media can also be used for proactive customer service. You can learn a lot about updates, features, or new products your customers would be interested in by listening to them on social media. Better yet, you can perform customer service right there in the comment section. A simple and appreciative response from someone at your company can go a long way, not only to the individual customer you're responding to, but also to those watching from afar.
It would be a good idea to do an internal review at the beginning of each year with your team to find out how they feel about how the organization handles customer service. From there, find the gaps, find the solutions, and dedicate some time each quarter to improving your processes.
Obviously, customer success is a key component to client delight. If a customer isn't seeing progress on their goals with your company, how can you expect them to continue to pay for your product or services? Success is tricky to define because it looks different to each customer and their unique goals.
For example, as a web marketing company, Tribute Media tends to internally define our marketing success as an increase in organic traffic, an increase in conversion rates, and an increase in our marketing and web development clients year-over-year.
But our clients have a wide variety of marketing goals. For some, it’s about improving specific keyword rankings. While for others, it’s more about making improvements to their website to better reflect their growing organization.
So, if you're not on the same page with your customers on what success looks like to them, how can you leverage your services or products to help them reach that success and improve their likeliness to purchase from your company again?
Tips for Setting Up Customer Success
- Ask your customers what problem they're trying to solve with your services or products
- Ask your customers what they've tried in the past and why they haven't succeeded
- Set clear expectations for how your product or service will play a part in meeting their goals
- Educate your customers throughout the process
Put together a quarterly client delight budget that makes the most sense for your company. But, don't be the sole decision-maker in how that budget is allocated. Get your team involved. Ask them about their most memorable experiences with a company where they felt appreciated as a customer or felt like the company went above and beyond to provide a positive experience to their customers.
By getting your employees involved, it makes client delight more of a collective effort and a company wide project. While client delight won't be achieved overnight, we'd suggest starting by surveying your team, surveying your clients, and coming up with a winning strategy based on data to start delighting your customers in 2020.
Written by Caty Smart
As client strategist and account manager for Tribute Media clients, Caty manages client relationships. She has a strong background in creating marketing strategies, auditing websites, email marketing, social media, and building web content focused on turning leads into customers.