Customer Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty are NOT the same thing.
Most successful businesses will tell you that the key to their growth is healthy client relationships because that’s what sets them apart from their competitors.
Ask the same companies what they’re doing to track their customer loyalty, experience, or satisfaction, and they might give you a blank stare, or tell you a survey that tracks their Net Promoter Score (NPS) is what tells them that their customers are ‘happy’. In reality, there’s quite a bit of research that shows very little connection between how traditional customer satisfaction research is used, and customer loyalty. In fact, it’s typical that around 80% of consumers who scored satisfied or very satisfied on survey do so right before they jump ship.
Your market share will give a more realistic understanding of customer behaviour and loyalty because it’s right there in the numbers. However, like other measurement tools, the analysis of market share looks back at results rather than forward to the future of your business. It won’t inform you about what you can do to grow and thrive in a highly competitive market like property management.
So, how do you increase your NPS, and use this to grow your business?
Okay, so you have set up a Net Promoter Score Survey and eek – it’s not looking good. Now what? Don’t panic, there are a few key things businesses or brands can do to lift their NPS, increase customer loyalty and ultimately stimulate growth, and it can be broken down into four simple steps (1);
#1. Deliver on what’s promised
Simple, right? Not so simple. Sitting down with a potential new landlord can be both daunting and exciting; of course, you want a new management, but add it to the list of over 100 other managements, and you’re thinking, ‘how on earth am I going to do all this?” Don’t over promise – be honest about your capacity, then when you start over delivering (because we know you will), they’ll be delighted.
#2. Work with your agency to create a good service experience, not just a good service
Ttechnology has allowed us to develop and deliver customised experiences both in face-to-face interactions, as well as virtual interactions. The difference lies in understanding your customer’s pain points in interacting with you. You might offer great service (once they get you on the phone) during your office hours. But think about the modern day pain points of being uber-busy, two full-time jobs, the relentless pressure at work or not having access to a desktop computer during the day. Giving your owners or tenants the opportunity to connect with you through technology from the comfort of their home and without having to mute the television for a phone call provides a simple, but incredibly efficient service. Property owners are busy too, so if you give them the opportunity and means to organise a maintenance request with you while sitting in the monthly team meeting, that’s a good service experience.
#3. Address issues that are impacting your passives and detractors
Negative emotions usually result from a poor or unfavourable service experience, which results in complaint behaviour. Unfortunately for us as service providers, we are usually better informed about what our customers don’t like, than getting a positive update about what they are happy with. On the bright side, this means we don’t have to work hard at finding out what’s wrong, (it’s probably obvious) to get on and fix the problem and turn passives and detractors into advocates.
Don’t ignore your complaints; jump on top of them quickly, accept them, and switch up your processes to avoid repetition. You’ll find that the more honest you are about admitting to and accepting your flaws, the more advocates you’ll have. After all, nobody is perfect! A lot of service issues can be resolved through reviewing your processes and improving staff training – it’s all about getting the basics right.
#4. Customise your offering to meet the needs of your various customer segments
Potentially one of the most important factors in increasing your NPS and growing your customer loyalty: customisation. To break it down, agencies need to cater for a variety of people; tenants, tradies, suppliers, owners, colleagues, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, the customer experience in our industry isn’t simply ‘one size fits all’, and it’s imperative that we’re offering our customers the type of service that they want (even though it might be different to the next owner, tradie or tenant). Make sure the experience you’re offering is the one that your customer wants. Regardless of whether you think that what you’re offering is better, if it’s not what they’re asking, they won’t give you the score you’re hoping for.
Don’t forget your internal NPS, too
When talking about satisfaction, loyalty and business growth, we’re quick to jump to customer-focused thinking. Motivation and engagement of employees, unfortunately, isn’t always a core concern of business operations or the marketing function, but it should be. Research has shown that there is absolutely a positive correlation between staff engagement and business profitability (2), which isn’t surprising when your staff are at the front line of your customer interactions.
Not sure how to better engage your staff? Try this:
- Improve transparency: Building trust builds worth in your teams, which are then driven to succeed.
- Appreciate your rock stars: Make sure the staff getting praise from customers is known and celebrated.
- Inspire your staff: Remind staff why they do what they do. They’re collectively managing Australia’s largest asset class, that’s impressive!
Implementing new systems and processes can often be a daunting task, especially if there is potential they’ll stir the pot with honest customer feedback. Even so, it’s important for all businesses, big and small to understand the driving forces behind their customer, and pivot where necessary to make sure their wants and needs are being met. Start small with incremental change, after all, you have to start somewhere, and measuring something is better than nothing.
To learn more about how Console can help you better connect with your customers, get in touch today.
(1) Blasberg, J., Vishwanath, V., & Allen, J. (2008). Tools for converting consumers into advocates. Strategy & Leadership, 36(2), 16-23.
(2) Stewart, H. (2010). Do happy staff make for happy customers and profitable companies? Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 11(4), 275-280.