New Revenue Generation Doesn’t Always Mean New Customers
When we start working with new clients, one of our early lines of questioning focuses on customers.
How referenceable are your current customers? How many of your current customers buy everything you offer? How many referrals do you get a month from current customers? Do you measure customer satisfaction?
Many times, the answers are understated, to say the least. Most clients are not looking at current customers as a source of revenue, and that means it’s an overlooked and easy-to-target area for quick wins for revenue growth.
But while it’s easy to identify, making the changes necessary to turn customer service into a revenue center is a bit more challenging.
Here are the areas we typically focus on. They’re the areas that take the least amount of effort and produce the biggest results.
1) Proactively Ask For And Facilitate Online Reviews
Today, online reviews are like currency. The more you have, the better off your business. You should be aware of your online reviews. You should be aware of the places where people are leaving you online reviews, and you should be proactively encouraging (if not rewarding) your customers for helping you build up your online review assets.
Now it would be nice if all of your happy customers simply gave you reviews when they had a good experience with you. But that’s not exactly how it works. In fact, it usually works in the opposite way. People who are unhappy with you leave negative reviews, and your happy customers do nothing.
All the more reason for a proactive and defined approach or program to actively collecting online reviews from happy customers.
In general, your customers are happy to and very willing to write you a positive review, if you ask and if you make it easy.
Getting customer service people to ask and arming them with the tools they need to make securing online reviews easy for your customers are two initiatives that are not hard to execute.
People are more likely to give you a positive review when they are happy. Many people calling customer service are happy, and others are happy once their issues are resolved. This is the perfect time to ask customers for a review and to give them the information to make providing the review easy.
Scripts can be used. Email templates should be used to make the distribution of information easy for the customer. Once the customer agrees, send the email with the links, sample review copy and specific direction on how to leave a review.
Some simple role playing can get customer service reps comfortable asking and then letting the email templates do the rest. To gamify the collection of online reviews, make it a contest between reps. The person who gets the most reviews during the week or month wins.
Before you even know it, you’ll have amassed a large collection of online reviews that will fuel new visitors to your website, shorten your sales cycle and drive additional leads for your sales team.
2) Identify Opportunities For Cross-Selling And Upselling
When we ask clients to tell us the percentage of people who are purchasing of all their products and services, the number is always extremely low — 10% or 20% at the most.
This represents a huge opportunity for generating revenue through cross-sell and upsell opportunities. About 80% of your customers should be buying multiple products and services from your company.
Once your customers make a purchase and their pain is assuaged, they might not remember that you also offer A, B and C. It’s your job to actively market additional products and services to them, and it’s customer service’s job to follow up, support, remind and highlight these products and services when customers call, email or chat with them.
There are a variety of ways to do this. First, you should be regularly emailing your current customer base. This means you’re emailing them once or twice a month. These emails are not promotional emails but rather educational emails.
Highlight successful customer stories. Use video to have the customers tell their stories in their own words. You can provide special incentives for customers to purchase new services. Not necessarily discounts (we hate using discounts), but other incentives like swag, faster delivery, free delivery or additional products or services with a purchase.
Customer service reps need to be armed with these special incentives, and they should be trained to identify opportunities for cross-selling and upselling buried in their regular customer service calls or chats. Once identified, they can use content or email templates that help tell the story.
By simply following up in a regular and designed way, you can drive additional revenue from people who already know, like and trust your company. This is usually the easiest new revenue you’ll earn and it offers the lowest cost to acquire.
Like online reviews, you can also gamify this program, incentivizing customer service reps to generate the most revenue or the most new sales to current customers.
3) Nurture References
Most salespeople and most sales processes need references to help close new business. This is especially true if you’re a B2B company working with a long sales cycle, a complex sales cycle or a high-ticket average product.
References almost always get requested at the end of the sales process. We use techniques to limit the need for references (you can click here to learn about our reference reel video idea), but references are here to stay, for sure.
But the amount of references you have access to, how you manage your references and how you reward people for being references are areas you should be all over.
The more references you have, the easier it’s going to be for sales reps to provide references and for prospects to connect with clients. You’ll also have a faster sales cycle and a higher close rate. This can have a big impact on revenue.
Customer service reps should be asking happy customers if they’d be willing to be references. Perhaps it makes sense to create a customer program that outlines the benefits of being a reference.
By operationalizing the collection of references, you’re actually helping your sales team close more new customers faster and at a higher pace. That means better and more sustained revenue growth for your business.
4) Proactively Ask For And Reward Referrals
Referrals are different than references. A referral is when a customer tells another person who is not currently a customer that they should be doing business with your company.
The more referrals you get, the fewer leads you have to generate and the faster the business grows.
You have to put a program in place that encourages this positive behavior so people are happy to provide additional referrals all week long.
Generally, happy customers want to provide referrals but simply forget. When you reward them, it makes it easier to remember. That connection between the positive reward and the action is what formalizes it in our brains (if I do X, I might get Y).
You don’t need to make this complicated. A simple $20 Amazon gift card, a small plant or even a bottle of gourmet root beer will work. When we get a referral, whether they become a client or not, we send a root beet to the people who gave us the referral.
It’s just our way to say thank you, and hopefully they’ll think of us again. It works like a charm.
Since referrals are often some of the best leads and close the fastest, you can afford to invest a little bit of money into this program. Our root beer bottle and shipping package costs us about $5, so it’s well worth the small investment.
5) Use Chat To Follow Up On Questions, Concerns Or Issues
We’ve talked about chat a lot in terms of marketing and sales, but it has an excellent application for customer service, too. Chat tools are well positioned to help people who want help fast. This applies to many customer service situations.
Why not enable your customers to chat with customer service as easily as calling or emailing them?
Now customer service can pick up the chat, identify the challenge or issue, solve it and provide the customer with the solution they need right there.
Better yet, they can encourage the customers to write a review right there in the copy from the chat. Since everyone is already online, the links, the follow-up and the actual online review can all be done in a matter of minutes.
Now you’ve connected a customer service technology like chat with your desire to have a more active online review program. This is how process, people and tools come together to help businesses run more efficiently and drive more revenue month over month.
6) Calculate NPS Or Some Measure Of Customer Satisfaction
This is the last of the six upgrades for customer service, and it’s by far the most complicated. Data sheds a lot of light on potential problems or challenges in a business. Having data on how happy your customers are and tracking that data over time can identify potential issues before they become big issues.
It makes sense to have this data on your customers. How you go about collecting that data is a little trickier.
You can use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology and ask your customers that one simple question: How likely would you be to recommend us to someone else? They give a score ranging from 0 to 10, where 10 is highly likely to recommend and 0 is not likely at all to recommend. Some people even ask a follow-up question: Why do you feel like this?
There is a specific methodology to using the score; you can read more about NPS here.
There are many other ways to get data on customer satisfaction. You can send them surveys with three faces — one sad, one moderate and one happy. This might be simplistic, but it’s a good way to start collecting customer happiness data.
You can ask them to score you on a variety of topics. You can email them, you can send automated surveys, you can call them and you can have your customer service or sales reps collect this information during their calls or check-in meetings.
It’s not how you do it that’s important; it’s that you do it.
Once you start tracking customer satisfaction, you may uncover you have a declining customer service score and then start working to figure out why.
Without this early warning system, you might not be aware of the problem until customers start leaving or you see a massive amount of negative reviews and negative comments on Facebook. These are extremely difficult to get removed and will be around for years.
You want to avoid both situations. By tracking customer satisfaction, you should be able to respond quickly, preventing any long-term issues from holding back your growth plans.
The customer service area of your business can be a huge source of revenue that makes driving month-over-month revenue growth much easier. You simply have to include it in your revenue generation strategy, deploy the tactics discussed above, track the data and use technology to make the execution easy and efficient.
Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.