In the age of dying brand loyalty, attracting and retaining customers is harder than ever and since our economies are becoming more and more competitive, customers can always find other brands that deliver the same product or service, cheaper and faster, therefore in order to address this problem, most companies put their efforts in improving and providing the best customer experience possible.
Organizations that are engaged in providing the best customer experiences tend to have a more customer-centric culture. Being customer-centric means that all your decision-making processes are based on the impact these decisions have on your customers. Now that customer expectations are rising dramatically, meeting these high standards is vital to keep being competitive and one way of doing so is to build an effective customer support strategy and provide good customer service.
Good customer service isn’t what it used to be. Answering people’s emails or fixing a problem for them post-purchase isn’t good enough anymore. Good customer service, today, includes all the customers’ journey, from the first contact to the post-purchase stage and beyond. It is not like a project with a beginning and an end. It is an ongoing process that you must adapt to the different changes that your business will face, may it be market or customer-related.
So according to today’s reality and customer's expectations, good customer support means a fast service that is personalized and proactive.
Customers nowadays are expecting real-time support that offers a resolution before an issue happens. Meeting these expectations can be the game decider in whether your business will grow and succeed or not.
Providing good customer service has many benefits and in the list below, we’ll highlight the most important of them:
1. Boost Customer Loyalty:
One of the key advantages of good customer service is that it boosts loyalty and helps in retaining clients over the long run. This will result in diminishing your costs and thus increase profitability.
According to the Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one and if you increase customer retention rates by 5%, profits will increase anywhere from 25% to 95%
Along with boosting customer loyalty, ensuring good customer support allows you to turn your current customers into brand advocates with whom you’ll create special relationships and connections.
A good tip for nurturing this relationship is, for example, to send thank you email after each purchase. This will allow your customers to understand that you value them and will help you reinforce the connection between your brand and them. Another way can be, to send small gifts alongside the products when your customers asked for a return in the first place.
2. Sustainable growth:
Companies that provide positive experiences have better opportunities for growth. Having clear and smooth customer support processes helps you to be proactive and avoid spending time dealing and fixing problems. It allows you to focus your time and efforts on other areas of your business in order to drive growth.
Having a good customer support team that interacts with customers and collect their feedback (either positive or negative) also helps you to understand your customers, their needs and their expectations. That feedback can be used to optimize your processes, improve your products and provide the right offers to your customers and thus drive growth in a sustainable way.
3. Get positive reviews and enhance brand reputation:
Providing good customer service will help you get positive reviews from your current customers. Brightlocal’s research on customer reviews revealed that positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use your products or service and so it is a good way to enhance your brand reputation and stand out from your competitors. It will help you position your brand as one that puts customers at the center of everything that you do and consequently gives you a competitive advantage to attract more leads, boost your sales and drive growth.
These are just a few benefits from providing good customer service, but in order to really take advantage of it, you’ll need to implement a really effective customer service strategy and this isn’t an easy task, that’s why in the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at some tips and factors to take into consideration while designing your strategy:
4. Define “great customer service” for your business:
The first step is to clearly define what you mean by great customer service. This includes the quality standards that your team has to follow in every interaction and situation possible. These standards differ from a type of business to another and each one has its unique one but here are some ideas to help you create your own (kickass) definition of great customer service:
- The behavior used while communicating with your customers. (tone, language, attitude)
- The maximum time accepted to answer your customers' queries or maybe real-time interactions.
- The level of proactivity that your team has to adopt.
Defining these aspects will give a clearer idea of how your processes will work and set clear expectations with customers. A good example to illustrate this is the Customer Service Commitment that Southwest Airlines has created and shared with its clients.
Southwest Airlines has been named by forbes as the best local airline company for its customer service in 2019
5. Focus on all your customer journey:
As I’ve mentioned earlier, a good customer strategy doesn’t only focus on the post-purchase part but on the whole journey. So as e-commerce, you’ll need to understand each step of your customer experience and which are the problems that he may face in each one of them. Being proactive is key to anticipate potential problems and craft the best solutions to avoid them.
Understanding the scope of interactions that your clients have with you can help you determine which kind of support to offer in each step. To illustrate, let’s imagine you have an online store for selling clothes, a great way to provide good customer support can be by adding size guides on each product page, this will help your customers make the best purchase decision. You can also add a chatbox to help them during the purchase consideration phase to better convert them later.
6. Define your communications channels:
In order to define the best communication channels, you’ll need to find out which channels your customers are using. By analyzing your data, you can figure out if your customers prefer to mainly contact you by email, phone or maybe social media.
So based on these insights and on your resources you’ll be able to choose the right channels and tools to communicate with your customers. There are a lot of different channels that you can choose to use for your customer support and here’s a small list of the channels you may want to consider while designing your strategy:
The most used channel for customer service alongside the phone. It is a good way to provide technical support as it can be really frustrating through other channels. It also helps in to get a record of the interaction. It is a good channel for non-urgent queries, as it takes sometimes a day to answer all the emails. The negative part of it is that impatient customers tend to switch the channel as they tend to use another approach they feel is quicker.
The most popular channel alongside emails. It is the most direct and fastest way to solve a problem as it allows direct conversation in real time. However, it can be time-consuming and not really well suited for small teams with lots of queries
- FAQs and help centers:
This is a great way to be proactive while letting your customers solve their problems by themselves. It can also be helpful in answering common questions and finding a solution to general problems in a fast way. The tricky part is that you need to make easily accessible and really well organized so that your customers can find the answer to their queries effortlessly. It is cost effective as you won’t have to spend much money on it and it also helps scale your customer service and allows your team to focus on more specific queries.
- Live chat (chatbox):
A good way to provide live time support for your customers as they may have questions during their purchasing process. Although it helps in converting actual leads into customers who purchase your products, live chat also has one main challenge: being able to meet your customer expectations and answer them in a matter of seconds. The success of the live chat depends on how well your team is trained to quickly solve your customers' problems and convert them into buyers.
- Social media:
Social media platforms have grown disruptively during the last few years and customers don’t use them for traditional customer service needs, they instead use them to praise or complain about your brand. Knowing the powerful word of mouth that social media has, it is vital for your brand to have your customer support team present on these platforms, to spot these public complaints and quickly address them and offer help to turn them into positive outcomes. It is also crucial to offer fast answers as 42% of customers who are complaining, expect an answer within 60 minutes on social media.
These are the 5 most used channels today to provide support to customers but that doesn’t mean that you have to choose only one of them or all of them. Based on your resources and your customers’ behavior, you can adapt your strategy by choosing the most efficient channel.
7. Use helpdesk and other customer service software:
Running an e-commerce store means using the appropriate tools such as helpdesks or CRM software which are great ways to manage all the customer-related data that you collect whether it’s calls, search history on your website, or chat transcripts. Centralizing all your interactions data in one place and making it accessible to all your employees, enables them to be better advisors and be more effective in managing interactions with your customers and better guide them while solving their queries.
When it comes to which helpdesk you should use, there are many factors to consider but don’t worry (we’ve got you covered) we’re preparing an article comparing all the best helpdesk to help you choose the right one for your business.
Finally, every customer is different, nevertheless, they all share one specific trait: they all like to feel special and to be treated in a special way. So providing great customer service and putting the customer at the center of everything you do, is essential to stand out from the crowd and to drive sustainable growth.