We entrepreneurs tend to make too many mistakes at the beginning of our journey, from which we hopefully learn after a short term of trial and error. One of the really big challenges is to know how to tackle all the aspects of the customer happiness and care department. This article gives you a short list of 7 typical mistakes to take care of to stay up in today’s online market.
- Offering things your client doesn’t really need.
Many companies and specially startups make efforts to differentiate themselves from the competition by adding more new features to their products. This is a key strategy to increase the added value of your services, but it can result in negative influence if you keep adding features that your client doesn’t really need.
Solution: Research and understand your clients’ needs.
Do an A/B testing for the new feature and measure the response it gets. You will need to rely on monitoring tools like Mixpanel, Kissmetics or Hotjar to see which of clients are using it and if they like a lot or not.
You can also ask the clients that show interest if they’d like to do a beta test of the new feature. Most clients will pay extra for a pack of new features that provide an increase in added value to their investment, therefore it’s nice if you allow clients to test features in beta phase, but let them know they are getting a special treat. This always feels good. You can target your best clients as treating them with special advantages will help to increase their loyalty.
After a minimum testing period you can suggest them to upgrade to a more advanced plan that integrates the added feature. You can opt here for any special offers. Of course you don’t want to give it completely for free, otherwise where is the point, right? Is up to you to decide your ROI with the new feature.
On the technical side, your tech department should add features in a scalable and modular way ir order to be able to activate them at will anytime on any client’s account, without interfering with the rest of the features.
- Not precisely answering the client’s questions.
Your clients need to feel that you care about their most stupid ideas. It’s very annoying when you ask a precise question and you get a general answer shaped into a template script. Even basic questions, be aware that people who seem to ask dumb questions are also potentially your best customers. No pun intended, but not everyone is as smart as you! Even if a client asks where to find a button to close the application, you won’t lose any hairs if you have an answer ready for it.
Solution: Create a Frequently Asked Questions section
If you cannot yet outsource your customer service for the costs it implies, start by creating a Frequently Asked Questions section on your website, and update it regularly with answers to your client’s most basic questions. It’s a good practice to separate it in sections so that your client can find their answer faster. Provide a search box, so they can type in their question or find related ones. If you can, add an online chat option to create a live sensation and interaction with customers.
- Announcing services you end up not delivering.
Now, you have at some point had an idea for a new feature that you were really anxious to offer to your client and you think that telling the client this feature is coming up might be a positive thing, however, even if you think that a new feature announcement will keep their interest levels high enough, you need to deliver them on time or you will risk failing them.
If you aren’t sure if you are able to stand up to the promise and if you think you could need to postpone their release, do yourself a favor: restrain your impulses and keep the tab closed. This may seem too obvious, but many times one forgets about it in detriment of the company’s reputation.
Solution: Plan well all new future feature releases so you can offer novelty to your brand.
Schedule their release at least with a month in advance if you want to become one of the top 10 most disruptive SAAS companies today.
Most successful companies are great at controlling their releases, and keeping hidden new features until the market is ready. An example of this is Salesforce that literally has been innovating for more than 10 years in the SAAS market. The secret is to have an iterative Brainstorm loop that allows for new ideas to be examined and set up for prototyping quick enough. If you don’t have a brainstorm once a week in your company, you are not controlling your disruptive potential!
- Accepting payments with no money back guarantee.
Being afraid of wasting our precious time and money always goes into both ways, in your direction, and in your client’s direction. It’s a double gamer in the sense that you may have spent hundreds of hours and dollars in placing your product on the market and when you deal with consumers that don’t care at all, you are not really driven towards offering any money back guarantee. Right? It’s quite true, most customers just don’t give a damn! Of course don’t expect your clients to be understanding. You are paying rent, office space, salaries or even the morning coffee of your office guests; so what!
On the other hand, when your clients are business customers they tend to have a better understanding of your noble endeavors, because they know better than anyone how to value your time, although it’s never always the case.
Many companies offer 90 day money back guarantees with shipped products, a risky policy that offers proven results as it shows customers that you are offering quality products which will work at least during three months, but that’s okay.
For SAAS companies and subscription based services, that’s another story. It’s not really a big deal to offer complete refunds for 30 days, but we can’t always afford to do so due to all the reasons behind our costs. Nonetheless SAAS companies like ProfitProCRM are taking that risk in a profitable manner.
Solution: Offer a 7 or 15 day refund guarantees.
Giving a full refund can seem like a risky bet, but this is dictated by law in many countries with physical products. By giving your customers the same amount of time for your subscription based clients, you are giving more than necessary, which is always appealing as long as you mention it.
Same thing could apply for any downloadable product such as software but this is not very common, and you could solve it with a trial period like most companies.
A mid solution is a 15 day money back guarantee with only partial refund. This is pretty uncommon but can still offer that security to buyers especially on big investments. After all you are the one who puts the prices, but realize that the psychological weight of big investments plays a big role in customer decisions.
Remember to write this in your terms and conditions as clearly as possible to avoid complaints and time waste.
- Not keeping up to date on trends for your market niche
Times change at a high pace in the Internet world and customers are often prey of new and interesting new technologies that promise to make their experience better.
I witnessed personally at the Mobile World Congress how quickly the mobile world is taking on the internet. It’s not impossible at all to wake up one day and see Virtual Reality everywhere. From cars driven from satellite to ovens cooking receipts from the internet. SAAS has a prominent future ahead and the IoT ( the internet of things ) will help ensure that. So are you IoT friendly. If not, get ready!
Just know that your clients will at one point or the other ask you for a mobile app, IoT integration, or any other possibility that will make you seem too old for them if you can’t act accordingly. The problem is that competition will always arise with the new thing and will need to match in some way with the same thing or another one, if you want to keep your share of the market intact.
Solution: Scout around for trends that will affect your niche in the near future.
Keep an eye on new emerging technology that may end up being a standard in the future.
Heard of angular.js or node.js? In the beginning these UX languages weren’t much known, but as their usefulness became evident they began to awake the interest of web developers. Nowadays it’s becoming so hot that even the famous WordPress CMS framework will completely witch their core from PHP to this coding language. So stay tuned into the latest trends and apply your brainstorming to create new ideas that you may end up implementing sooner or later.
- Only focusing only on your product.
As you may already know, Findthatlead offers lead generation services sharply tailored around social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Crunch base.
If we only focused on our main product and forget potentially complementary services, we would be putting limitations on ourselves. In the SAAS battle ground integrations with other workflows are like alliances in a war, and without alliances we may be to digging a hole for our company to be buried in. When a client sees your product they often compare it to the other ones of the competition and this is where having a good integration with other services is a factor that will help them keep the smile while using your service.
Solution: Always see how your product integrates with other services.
A very good example is Zappier, which took this concept to extreme. Zapier is a SAAS company that offers this possibility to almost any online service. Their business model is to offer quick integrations with CRM, mailing services, IoT, social networks, and so on…
If you need a more advanced integration with other services, start by coding an API. API’s are a great way to offer extra value, and are one of the main reasons why polyvalent SAAS like Zapier actually thrive nowadays.
- Not apologizing
Failing is a very human habit, and until we become machines we will need to accept it. Making mistakes is not the end, but making too many will make you look quite incompetent to the eyes of your client or potential one. Sometimes at the beginning we will make a lot of them, and we will surely loose clients, but they may come back if we apologize right. A great example of mistake is one that comes with emails. Email is the best tool to approach people to create a relationship. Whether you are cold emailing or just sending newsletter avoid choosing the wrong type of letter and do a little research on your recipient. A great article on that is this one Sales Emails Gone Wrong on SalesLoft.
Solution: Hire or train a customer happiness representative.
If you aren’t good with apologies, or if you tend to apologize too easily, learn about customer happiness. This is a new branch that you can learn on an online course, but it’s always better to can hire someone trained into it.
Often your client depends on your service to finish an important job and if you fail them, you could end up getting bad feedback, and that hurts. A customer happiness representative can monitor the glitches and fissures of your company’s attitude towards customers. The role of the CHR is very important and serves as bridge between all departments in order to offer a common and solid stance with all customers. A good article is this one from SalesLoft which talks about the need to be always having the closing mindset of a sales rep.
If you have tested positive on all these tests, your company is suffering from customer care flu! Even if your ROI is good if keep these mistakes going you could jeopardize your future revenue. Be warned and repair the damage!