For those of you who don’t know what Hubspot is I will give you a very brief overview. Hubspot is a SAAS company that provides tools for inbound marketing success. We have been using the system for almost a year and I am happy with our results so far. When anyone in business hears the word marketing they automatically think about attracting and closing new customers, but there is another key component, and that is turning your current clients into evangelists. I learned more about HubSpot’s philosophy last month at Inbound 2013.
Mark Kilens’ 8 Guidelines to Customer Delight
1. Happy customers are created by happy employees. Customers will not love your company unless your employees love your company. Employees like perks such as free soda or flexible hours, but shared values are what inspire employees. Think about your on-boarding process. Are you clear about your organizations values? Can all of you employees state the values? Are the values you have written down really what drive your business?
2. Educate your employees. Customer service is not just a department. Customer service should be the entire company. If you don’t have customers, then you don’t have a company. HubSpot recommends, as do many others, that employees should have at least 3 months of training, and ongoing training should be a part of any organization.
3. Employees must be empowered and encouraged to be a person, not a machine. We have all been on the receiving end of a customer service call gone wrong because the employee on the other end had no power to solve our problems. Any employee should be able to solve a customer’s problems on their own without hand holding.
4. Under promise and over deliver. Keeping customers happy is about managing expectations. I mean think about it would you rather be told it will take two days to resolve your problem and it take 4 or would you rather hear it will take 4 days and have it resolved in 2. This is not about doing less for the customer. It is about always doing your best, but not always promising it.
5. Listen to your customers. Silence is golden! God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. How are your employees supposed to solve a customers problem if they don’t listen to what the customers problem really is? Be an active listener by repeating what the customer said back to them, and showing empathy if they are having a tough time.
6. Ask your customers questions. Make sure the questions you are asking are open ended (why, how, what, where, who and when), and make sure to document everything. There is nothing worse that having o repeat yourself to a different person on the same team. Documentation keeps all of your employees on the same page when it comes to the customers they are serving.
7. Help your customers. HubSpot has a saying that goes like this, “the businesses that are the best educators will be the most successful”. Solve your customers problems, educate them on your product or service, and do all this with enthusiasm! Be a solutionist for your customers, and exceed their expectations!
8. Follow up with your customers in a personal way. Don’t just send out canned emails imitating one-to-one communication, really take a minute and send a thoughtful and personal communication to your customers. This really shows your customer how much their business is valued.
BONUS: It is the execution and consistency of the small interactions over time that create the larger experience.