Keeping Customers Loyal and Happy

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Customer loyalty is one the things that business owners strive to gain, as it helps keep businesses ahead. In the human translation service industry, owners always aim to maximize the value of their services and products. Competition in this industry is fierce, just like most industries and owners try to think of tools to leverage themselves against their competitors.

Some business owners use consumer data analysis based on customer feedback. Others use sophisticated tech solutions in order to boost the accuracy and efficiency of their business processes. You can choose which one works best for you but your success in building loyalty is through the development of dependable and strong relationships with your employees, vendors and clients. You can achieve this through personal and meaningful interaction.

Why loyalty is difficult

Customer loyalty is difficult to attain and maintain and it is one of the major concerns of most business owners. More than half of company owners were unable to pay too much attention to customers’ expectations and needs. Instead their focus shifted to technologies that are modifying traditional business models rather than building customer loyalty.

The translation industry had too many discussions over these concerns. They want to make changes, but only about one-third of the data to measure client loyalty that are available to them have been analyzed so far.

Foremost CEO concerns

A year ago, KMPG International, an auditing firm, released the result of their study, “2016 Global CEO Outlook”. The participants were 1,300 CEOs of some of the world’s top companies located in 10 influential countries. Here are some of the highlights:

• 88% of CEOs are concerned about customer loyalty
• 88% are aware of the impact of the global economy on their firm
• 86% said they lack time to think strategically about the innovation and disruption that shape the future of their company
• 86% think about changes in their business are affected by the different wants and needs of millennials
• 85% think of how competitors can take away their customers
• 85% also worry if their business can stay on top of the changes in products and services
• 85% are cautious about the way their growth are inhibited by regulation

The results of the same survey of KMPG International for this year, with the same number of respondents reveal remarkable changes. For 2017, CEOs think differently and here are some of the highlights:

• 65% of CEOs now take disruption not as threat but opportunity
• 65% showed confidence that global economy will grow
• 53% of respondents continue to penetrate their existing market
• 64% are now able to effectively sense signals from their market
• 74% of CEOs now place more importance on trust, culture and value, saying trust from clients and external stakeholders is one of the three major priorities in their business
• 68% of them are also taking continuing education or arming themselves with new skills

Customer service tools

Technology and innovation have made it easier for companies today to collect and analyze data on consumer processes and habits. Two tools are often used, which are different from one another in terms of purpose, subject matter, audience, monitoring and timing. These are customer relationship management (CRM) and customer experience management (CEM), which are used to improve customer service and keep clients happy.

Most company owners know what CRM is. Developments in this tool make it easier to track inquiries and service requests of clients. CRM tools also have other customer metrics to enable faster data analysis through data-driven processes.

Tools for CEM are created to capture client feedback at every point of interaction. This is a better tool if you are after the expectations of a client about a service or product.

In the publication “Understanding Customer Experience,” authors Christopher Meyer and Andre Schwager made the distinction between these two customer service tools.

Customer experience management or CEM is about capturing what clients think about a company through every interaction point. This is done through customer research, observational studies, targeted studies and surveys. Business leaders use survey results in planning methods to increase customer experience and meet their expectations by finding gaps in their current methods.

CRM or customer relationship management distributes data about what the company knows about the client. Often the data is recorded after the client interacted with the company. Data is gathered through automated sales tracking, website click-through, market research and other point of sale data. Frontliners, the people who are into customer service, field service, and sales and marketing staff use collected data in order to formulate ways for more effective and efficient means to serve the customers.

However, is putting any or both of these tools in place enough to retain customer loyalty and keep them satisfied?

It’s been said that client retention cannot improve unless a company makes it a top priority to understand customer experience as well as adapt the company’s work systems, structure and processes to it. A company does not have to implement a host of tools to retain clients. What it needs to provide positive experience is to have a deeper understanding of what it actually means to meet client, as well as vendor expectation. This should also include the development of a good company culture. Effectively, this is about human-to-human interaction.

Keeping one step ahead of competition

It is important for language service providers (LSPs) to keep abreast of the industry’s technological developments. But there is nothing better than getting freely offered feedback from clients. It’s beneficial to know how they perceive the work rendered to them and knowing how they cope with the translation industry.

Moreover, it is important for the LSPs to know what clients’ experiences are in dealing with translation service providers and what their expectations are, in the same manner that the clients should know the internal process of creating accurate translation. This is true, whether you are servicing local or international clients. It’s a key to keep ahead of competition.

Customer satisfaction and client retention

The language services industry is a very active industry and has its vicissitudes as well. There will always be one-off clients while in some cases; clients will provide a steady stream of translation orders. The translation industry has become more competitive due to globalization. More companies are entering and exploring international markets, with their own needs and expectations that oftentimes are different from the demands of local clients. The situation is not unique to the translation industry alone. It is applicable across industries.

It is a fact that increasing the retention of clients offers a big boost in a company’s profitability. A loyal customer becomes more valuable to a company. Likewise, loyal customers do not carry the same cost as acquiring new customers.

The next question is how do you increase customer retention?

1. Keep their expectations realistic and deliver more than what’s called for. At the initial meeting, it is important to let the client know what will be involved in the translation process based on their needs. The client should also know your communication style and workflow processes.

2. You must fully understand what they expect and let them know how and when they can expect the work to be done. At the same time they must understand all of the things involved in the translation process. If you and the client understand each other clearly, you’ll have a good relationship, as your expectations about each other will be reasonable.

3. Deliver more than what you promised, so clients (particularly first-time clients) will be happy and will likely make repeat orders.

4. Keep your client up to date on the progress of their job order. Clients usually are eager to see results quicker. Giving them regular updates on the progress will keep them satisfied, because they know that you are on track to deliver the work as promised.

5. Request feedback from your client regularly, especially during projects and seek ways to improve your workflow, your services and communication methods to make clients happy and satisfied. Showing that you are proactive lets the clients know that you are willing to make changes and helps you pinpoint problems you may have missed.

6. Be consistent in your service. Let your client know that you have a fixed set of work process but you also allow flexibility and creativity that could support the completion of the project.

7. Make your clients a part of your company by sharing milestones you have achieved or sending them regular newsletters. It is not enough to leave the company’s communication to your account manager after the client acquisition. Make the relationship more personal by allowing them to hear from the CEO or a senior staff on a regular basis. This shows that you valued each one of your clients and that you are interested in working long-term with them.

8. Getting them to know more than one person from your team gives you a safety net. The client is not likely to walk away if the account manager resigns from your company. The relationship that you and your team have built with the client will be greater and carries more weight than an individual.

9. Show professionalism and kindness. While maintaining a professional relationship with the client, it will boost their loyalty if you show them kindness. You can surprise them with a gift or deliver the project earlier than expected. Mentioning them in your blog and sharing the experience of working with them will definitely delight them, as long as this is permissible.

10. If you are not in the translation industry and you want to deal with foreign clients, you can still get them to remain loyal to you. You can research about their culture, their traditions and beliefs. If you have to engage in constant communication, it helps to work with a professional translation services provider to ensure that you are talking to them correctly in their own language.

The competitiveness among businesses makes it difficult to retain customers. But this is not impossible, as long as you know what must be done to keep your customers loyal to you. Keep them satisfied by knowing what to expect from you and what you expect from them. Constant communication is essential and being consistent with the performance and delivery of your services is imperative.

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