How to turn satisfied clients into loyal ones

28 Feb 2014

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Hereby part two of our five-part crash course about the road towards the super promoter. Previous post I set the stage for how to evoke the wow effect among your business clients. Today we will dive a bit deeper into the matter. Theme of today is good complaint handling.

Good service expensive? Nonsense.Service tends to be associated with high costs. However, realise that good service spreads faster than whatever kind of advertising out there. In fact, excellent service is the beginning of a new deal. Do you still believe you don?t have any money to fund good service? Maybe it has become time for you to reconsider your marketing budget! After all, if you stand selling at the front door trying to bait new prospects, it might be a comforting thought that the backdoor is not constantly being opened. Clients shall only stay in when your company is a good and attentive host to them. Hostmanship thus, has to become part of the DNA of every member of your company. By embracing feedback in the whole process, you will be certain that very few business clients will want to walk out.

Herein good complaint handling is decisive for nourishing client loyalty. A third of all clients never receives a reply to their complaint or question. This is such a lost opportunity. In addition 90% of positive experiences appear to be based on the proper handling of problems. This statistic is explained by the renowned Service Recovery Paradox: Clients appear to be more satisfied when their complaint was successfully handled compared to when they did not even have one. Makes you think you should perhaps provoke some complaints, right?

One in three people that leave a company because of poor client treatment do not ever want to do business with that company again. And it doesn?t stop there: 90% of unsatisfied clients shares their experience with nine others on average. The most important reason for that is to prevent others from doing business with that company and to work off frustrations and anger. The impact of this dynamic is illustrated by yet another impressive statistic: 40% indicates to seriously consider changing company after hearing of poor client experiences. Thus, unhappy clients can cost a company money in many different ways. If you turn this around: Smart complaint handling generates income for a company. 

Good complaint handling. How to?

So how DO you make for good complaint handling? Key components of excellent complaint-management and thereby being a good host are the following:

  • Quick response: Strike the iron while it?s hot.
  • Show a human face
  • Commitment from higher management: Service has to be part of every member?s DNA
  • A no-blame culture when analysing complaints: A complaint is a free advice
  • Performing regular client satisfaction scans
  • Regard your employees as important source of ideas for improvements

Spread some TLC

Almost all studies of successful complaint handling indicate that attitude and behaviour of service employees make or break client experiences. Having actual attention for the complaint of a client (showing respect, going the extra mile to help, putting yourself in the shoes of the client, and being willing to listen) has the greatest impact on client satisfaction and leads to repeated purchases and continued partnership. Sooner or later your most valuable client is a critical one, for a complaint is nothing else but a free piece of advice. Take it in! If the importance of happy clients has not yet gotten through to you, let me mention some more of the merits. Happy clients are:

  • Loyal
  • Prepared to purchase more
  • Willing to pay more
  • Your most active referent

Thus, having continuous insight into client satisfaction, gives your company a sustainable competitive advantage.

Look at your sales force

What do I mean? Take a closer look at your sales force. Your sales force?s main job is about attracting new clients. You train them to sell, you set challenging sales targets, and you lure them with bonus packages as reward. The closing of new deals is generally perceived as the lifeline of organisations. In contrast, the keeping of existing clients takes a back seat.

Did you know that on average company?s lose 50% of their clients every five years?! And on top of that: That it is six to ten times more expensive to bring in a new client than keeping an existing one? So why than all this focus on that new client? In the last email of this five-part series I will go into this further.

I hope you’re enjoying the course thus far. Please do not hesitate to reply to this email should you have any questions, remarks, or of course, feedback.

Have a great day!

Lars van Wieren, founder Starred.com

Starred makes it easy for your company to gather feedback from business clients without losing a lot of valuable time and money. Starred makes it simple.