Beyond Corporate Metrics: How to Build Client Satisfaction From the Ground Up
No matter how brilliant your product or service is, you simply won't see maximum growth and business performance if your customer support and client satisfaction are being neglected.
I started my software company with one key client in mind: myself. My needs and pain points as a landlord managing my own investment properties were the genesis for the first version of the Rentec Direct property-management software platform. The platform appealed to many others in my situation, and we began to grow very quickly. As my own “first client,” I knew that as I built the company, I wanted to make our clients my top priority — addressing their requests and concerns head-on and staying ahead of the technology curve in a constantly evolving marketplace.
As our company has grown and changed over the past decade, this goal continues to drive our business. This means going beyond traditional corporate metrics to measure customer satisfaction, and this is something that has become one of our key differentiators as a software company. It has helped drive brand loyalty and guides everything from software development to our marketing strategy. Building a customer-first company has had a direct impact on our client retention. One of our very first paying subscribers who signed up for the software in 2009 is still a client to this day and has grown his portfolio to more than 40 properties while using Rentec Direct.
Here are some practices that can help solidify your leadership position in client satisfaction.
Include customer support in your base price
When it comes specifically to the SaaS industry, many companies offer top-level support at an additional cost to clients. I’ve found that providing the same high-level support to all subscription levels at no additional cost has greatly impacted the happiness of our clients. Your clients are more likely to be loyal if you effectively help them solve a service issue than if they never run into any problems at all. Plus, all that awesome feedback can create a loop for better product development in the long run.
Keep support in-house
Every single one of us can think of a time when we have tried to get help from someone in a call center that doesn’t understand our unique business or our individual needs — there’s nothing more frustrating. To best serve your clients, your support team should have experience with the pain points and challenges your clients are facing on a daily basis. No one knows your company better than you. At Rentec, we have a dedicated in-house success team that provides support to every customer through phone, email or live chat. Our success team has backgrounds in property management and accounting so all pain points are understood and alleviated by an experienced professional.
Strive for organic growth
If you are at the initial growth stage of your business, consider an organic growth strategy that doesn’t involve venture capital or outside investors if possible. I’ve seen many companies who are exclusively focused on growth and heavily influenced by outside investors sacrifice customer service and satisfaction as a result. Without these outside pressures, you can remain focused on your goals and your clients. Plus, you can even let client feedback and requests drive the future of your business.
Create a measurement mechanism
Wherever you may be in your business journey, it is important to develop some sort of method to keep track of how satisfied your clients are — and pivot if necessary. At Rentec, we measure client satisfaction within 90 days of joining by asking every client to provide a satisfaction rating on a scale of one to five. From this measure, we are able to personally follow up with every client that provides a rating of less than three. Since implementing this program, we have remained above an 85% satisfaction rating from our clients year after year. Create a reliable, repeatable way to measure this metric and stay in tune with your customers.
No matter how brilliant your product or service is, you simply won’t see maximum growth and business performance if your customer support and client satisfaction are being neglected. One survey shows that 17% of customers in the U.S. will walk away from a company after just one bad experience, and the number jumps up to almost 60% after more than one bad experience. If your clients are happy, not only will they spend more money with your company, but they’ll also stay with your company and share their experience with others.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor