Modern businesses and modern marketers bake customer satisfaction into their marketing. In this article, share with you the two favorite content marketing strategies for doing just that.
Strategy 1: Shape Customer Expectations
“You can always tell a good ____ by _________________.”
The phrase has been uttered about every vocation and avocation — always with some associated quality cue. For instance, “You can always tell a good golfer by the wear marks on his clubs; if they’re consistently in the center of the club face, you’re looking at a good golfer.”
While the phrase is interesting for a pastime like golfing, it becomes quite a bit more important for a trade or profession because these phrases teach people to look for specific telltale signs of excellence.
Mentioned this because these phrases points to two truths about human nature. First, we believe that excellence leaves clues if you simply know how and where to look. Second, most of us want to know how and where to look — we want to know the clues.
Knowing this, it makes sense for service providers to:
- Tell prospective customers what those quality cues are for their industry;
- Train frontline service providers to conspicuously display those cues.
For example, one electrician’s website I found states that a good electrician will always do the following.
- Plan for the future. Take into account plans for the future, and allow for an appropriate amount of growth after the job is completed. It’s important to consider how the electrical component will need to perform in the future, as well as in the present, and a good electrician will make these considerations and inform you of them.
- Address your questions and concerns. He’ll speak to you in terms that you’re comfortable with, make recommendations with your best interests in mind, and explain the work they’re doing and why they’re doing it in easy to understand, everyday language. A good electrician should be delighted in answering any questions you might have about the work they’re going to perform, and should be willing to share their knowledge with the consumer.
Businesses normally develop this kind of content with the aim of persuading prospective customers to choose them over the competition. And it certainly works for that. But it also helps to shape customer expectations in ways that the frontline service providers can easily meet and exceed.
In other words, it gives the customer a way to know that he got great service and it gives the service provider an easy way to signal to the customer that they got great service. This leaves the business owner with better-trained, more confident service providers and more satisfied customers.
Strategy 2: Qualifying Your Service Employees Before They Arrive
Going back to the electrician, let’s say that his business employs five accomplished journeyman electricians as frontline service providers.
Why not have a separate page for each electrician stating his training, years he has been in the business, testimonials from previous customers, and so on?
Consider this page a resume for each frontline service provider, similar to the kind of content normally provided about business owners and executive staff, but almost never provided for frontline workers. Yet it is the service provider — the person directly determining the quality of the work and service experience — that most customers are interested in, not the CEO.
If you have this page for your frontline service staff, you provide the prospective customer with a lot of confidence over who will be actually doing the work, and as you can imagine, this certainly helps increase conversion rates and lead generations.
But this kind of content does as much for the employee as the customer. First, it creates an idealized professional self-image that creates internal motivation within the employee to live up to his billing. And second, it increases workplace satisfaction when the employee knows that customer have been sent the employee’s professional bio and told how lucky they are to have him as their service provider.
In turn, this “resume” also helps reassure the customers that they made the right choice when they are sent such a high quality service professional and when they can then verify that professional’s quality with pre-determined and conspicuous quality cues.
Why Most Service Providers Don’t Use These Strategies
There are two reasons why many small businesses don’t use these strategies. One is because they only see customer satisfaction in operational terms — did we deliver the standard service at the agreed upon rate?
But satisfaction is a psychological state, not a guaranteed operational outcome. If you received great service and didn’t realize it, would you still be happy?
You might not be happy if something about the service provider irked you — say his desire to introduce “scope creep” into a simple electrical job. This is why defining great service helps ensure customer satisfaction from a psychological rather than simply operational perspective. Properly defined, leaving room for future growth stops being an irritation and starts being a sign that you hired a real professional.
The second reason is that small service providers are wary of promoting frontline staff for fear of staff defections to a competitor, or staff breaking off to become a competitor. But for first-rate service-based companies, this tends to be an unfounded fear.
First, happy employees tend not to defect to competitors, especially competitors that don’t seem to value or vamp for their employees the way I’m suggesting for you to with these strategies.
Second, unsatisfied employees can never deliver high-satisfaction service. Talk to any service-based company known for exceptional customer satisfaction — Southwest Airlines is an example — and it will tell you that employee satisfaction is an essential prerequisite to customer satisfaction. These strategies should greatly boost employee satisfaction.
Third, reasonably limited non-compete contracts can offset any remaining perceived risk in terms of public defection of well-vamped employees.
The content on a service-sector website can prepare customers as to what to expect. By informing them what your priorities are and who your employees are, you establish what level of service to anticipate, and what type of professional will perform the service. You create a method for your customer to measure satisfaction. And a satisfied customer is a repeat customer.