Good customer service is something that’s lacking today.
We all know what good service should look like, but most of us can count on one hand the number of excellent customer service interactions we’ve had over the last month –or even year.
For many businesses, good customer service is something that’s just not really given a lot of thought. Sure, customer service reps are trained to ‘handle’ customers, and there’s usually some level of direction that’s given to employees, to help them guide customers through the purchasing process, but good customer service –the kind that leaves a customer feeling happy, and ready to come back for more, doesn’t really happen all that often.
But despite its scarcity, customer service is still tremendously important. And customer support, along with sales –are among the MOST important departments in your company. It makes sense when you think about it, any role where your team member has a direct connection with your customers matters –a lot. These people are your company representatives –they’re the face of your company, and the ones who work with your customers every day.
“To over-deliver in service to a customer is by far the most valuable thing to a business. Because there are only two ways to improve the operations of a business: increase sales or decrease costs. In today’s environment, decreasing costs is hard. And as far as increasing sales, doing so via customer service is highly effective.” (Source)
Some 91% of unhappy customers will never willingly do business with a company again after a bad customer service experience. Then there are new customer acquisition costs to consider. It’s long been said that it’s five times more costly to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Clearly, making the effort to keep customers happy is vitally important.
Need more convincing? Read on to see some distinct benefits of good customer service.
- It’s cheaper to keep a current customer than to find new ones.
Many companies today seem to operate on a leaky bucket principle. They keep losing customers and therefore need to keep attracting new ones in order to maintain their sales. But what if you could improve your customer retention rates? And keep your current customers happy and coming back for more?
Selling to an existing customer is much more economical than attracting a new one. And as I touched on above, it costs on average five times more to attract a new customer than it costs to retain an existing customer. Some reports even put this figure as high as 25%.
Consider this as well. Increasing your customer retention by a mere 5% can equate to a 25% increase in profits. How’s this possible you ask? It’s because a repeat customer is going to spend more with your brand, 67% on average to be precise, which mean your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) are going to be lower.
The logic here should be clear. Is it worth the risk of losing a customer in order to save a few bucks? Customers are expensive to acquire in the first place, so you should do whatever it takes to keep doing business with them.
Ultimately, an investment in customer service will go a long way in reducing your churn rate. This will decrease the amount you must spend on acquiring new customers and decreases your overall CAC.
- Excelling at customer service will help to strengthen your brand.
In today’s day and age, where news spreads like wildfire, it’s easier than ever for a company to sustain lasting damage to their brand. Having an excellent customer support system in place can help to keep your customers happy; meaning they’ll be less likely to post a bad review or even blog about their terrible experience.
Word of mouth is a powerful tool for influencing other people to try your product. And these days, how your customers describe your business could make or break you.
Your customer service team, though, is your chance to not only mitigate damage, but also helping to ensure customer satisfaction before it reaches that point.
Your customer support team should be doing these three fundamental duties:
- Communicating your brand image and vision to your customers.
- Campaigning your strengths and differentiating you from your competition.
- Acting as the first line of defense for any negative feedback/complaints.
Remember: Your customer service team is your direct line to your hard-earned customers. Without them, it’s hard to have any meaningful communication with them.
You can also gain valuable insights about customer experiences from your customer service employees.
If a brand is created in a board room, and a customer doesn’t interact with it, does that brand exist?
It’s irrelevant how you perceive your brand. What is important is how your customer views it. For example, you may own a beer brand, and associate your brand with value, blue-collar work ethos, and tradition. However, your customers may be buying because they associate your brand with punk rock, rebellion and being hip. So, you should be realistic, and align your marketing with those values instead.
You can gain some great insights from your customer service team by providing them questions to ask customers. Have them ask these simple questions while interacting with customers.
- What do they think of your product and how can you make improvements?
- What do they think of employee training and the support they are receiving?
- Have they seen your online or traditional advertising? If so, what do they think?
The responses you receive can go a long way towards improving your products, marketing, goals, and employee training. The lack of a solid customer service crew could result in your brand falling behind on shifting trends.
- Positive interactions with your brand encourage loyalty.
If you treat your customers right, they’ll reward you with repeat purchases. There’s no reason for them to look anywhere else if you provide them with a positive customer experience. And as we’ve seen, it’s far more cost effective to retain old customers than to acquire new ones.
To put it another way, an increase in your customer’s lifetime value –the overall revenue a company can expect one customer to generate over their lifetime, increases your company’s profits. In fact, in many ways, your customer’s lifetime value is one of the most important metrics that you can track, as it’ll give you a far more accurate picture on who you’re selling to, and how much you’ll be able to sell to them, rather than simple sales figures alone.
A happy customer will also be far more likely to spread the word to friends, family, and coworkers.
Consider this number: 77% of customers have shared positive brand experiences with others. Haven’t you ever discussed a brand that you’ve had a fantastic experience with? Of course, you have, we all do it! It’s only natural to look out for your loved ones by putting them in the hands of a brand you trust.
It’s contagious. If you have a happy, motivated customer service team, that enthusiasm will come through in their daily interactions with your customers. Next, those satisfied customers feel fulfilled and refer others to your brand. Your customers are the shortest route to the most effective form of advertising: word-of-mouth advertising.
The secret here is to expand successful customer service operations –without vastly expanding the budget. This means identifying areas that matter to your customers and looking to expand upon them –while ignoring the things that your audience just doesn’t care about all that much.
- You’ll sell more stuff to your happy customers.
Don’t you love the feeling you get from a positive interaction with a brand? That impression is hard to come by, and when you find it, you don’t want to let go. I bet you’d even pay more money for the same product, just because you were blown away by the experience.
Yes. This is a genuine thing.
It’s reported that 50% percent of customers increase their purchasing after a positive customer service experience with a brand. Even better, 86% of customers would pay up to 25% more to get a better customer service experience. This tells us that customer service matters –a lot!
Your customers will be influenced by every single contact that you make with them. A singular positive experience could be the determining factor in winning their loyalty for life, whereas one negative one could send them running for the hills.
Excelling in Customer Service Doesn’t Have to Break Your Budget
One other thing I’d like to add is the value of a fast response when it comes to providing customer service.
For most customers, good service is synonymous with a timely response. In this day and age, having traditional business hours just isn’t enough –and could be costing you sales. Having 24 customer service is how companies are getting ahead.
Consider this –according study by FurstPerson as many as 77% of customers won’t make a purchase on a website if there’s no live chat option available. Additionally, a Forester study uncovered that live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate. Clearly live chat is providing companies with excellent results.
Likewise, a fast email response time matters as well. Replying within one hour will meet the expectations of 89% of your customers, while companies that are aiming for world-class customer service are advised to respond within 15 minutes or less.
In this era of remote workers and virtual assistants, there are many great options out there for supplementing your staff with talented individuals who are capable of handling your day-to-day customer service needs.
A common misconception is that virtual assistants can only answer phones and schedule appointments. But this isn’t the case. Virtual assistants can also offer support for call centers and customer support. They can handle email queries and manage social media accounts. They can set up Google Alerts so you’re the first to know when customers are talking about your brand or business online. In short? They’ll be your allies, helping you to provide exceptional customer support.
Another benefit of outsourcing to a virtual agency is that you’ll have the ability to scale the level of support that you’re able to offer. As your business grows and your customer base along with it, the required level of support will increase as well. With a virtual agency, you’ll be able to effortlessly expand your customer support, easily enlisting new team members on an as-needed basis.
One of the best ways to ensure that your customers are being treated well by your team, is to treat your team right. Remember, “A person who feels appreciated, will always do more than expected.” Work to keep your team happy, and in turn, they’ll be far more willing to go the extra mile for your customers.
I think we can all agree that employing a well-trained, positive customer service team can be a tremendous asset for any business today. Having a skilled team of people to directly communicate with your customer base can not only grow your business but revolutionize your company.
While customer service is something that’s easy to overlook, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s just not that important. Your customers are the lifeblood of your organization –and without them, you wouldn’t be in business for very long. With excellent customer service, you’ll be able to keep your best and most loyal customers happy –and in return, they’ll reward you with repeat business, and will be far more likely to share their positive experiences with their friends.
Are you looking to take your customer service to the next level? Consider outsourcing it to a VA. By using a VA agency, you’ll be able to ensure that your customer service is scalable and able to expand as your business grows. Find out more today!