Thanks to the Internet, businesses face a highly competitive online marketplace to try to win customers. This same technology also creates opportunities for companies to add value to the products and services they sell by introducing the best customer support. Your firm must reimagine great customer service principles now before your rivals step up and surpass consumers' expectations.
You have several avenues to improve customer support, including sales, marketing, product design and, of course, price. The ultimate goal is to earn returning customers, since loyalty forms the basis of your revenue streams. These loyal customers also tell their friends about how great your company is, which leads to more customers. Examine these reasons to rethink how you handle the overall customer experience to come out on top.
Products Versus Customer Experience
A 2014 survey from Garner states 89 percent of businesses cite customer experience as a main driver of keeping customers instead of price. In 2010, just 36 percent of companies said customers were the main impetus for making money. Price and brand recognition no longer account for robust sales. You must have a fantastic customer support network in place to proactively go above and beyond what consumers expect.
A High Bar
CEOs recognize that customers want fast customer support. Social media, online chat windows and an always-open e-commerce storefront all expand on the rise of expectations that merit quick responses to customer concerns. Computer technology means your store is open 24/7, and your company's customer service must rise to meet the high bar your customers set when they interact with your support team.
Customer Service As Product
Think of your customer support as a vital part of your product. It might cost your company a bit more to implement at first, but many aspects of customer service can include automation. For example, include a link to your company's main support Web page on every page of your website. Once a customer goes there, create several methods that can link customers to relevant pages, such as FAQs, how-to videos, common issues and forms.
Willing to Pay
If you're worried about the costs of adding fantastic customer service tools, remember that 86 percent of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience. Study how to leverage additional product costs and profit while you add value to your product. How much are your customers willing to pay for what you offer?
Proactive Instead of Reactive
Most customer service responses involve a reaction to a certain situation. When a satellite channel goes down in the middle of a big game, the provider expects to hear from customers. However, businesses can go the extra mile by knowing when someone needs help. Bitium is a startup that provides technology that helps users sign onto websites. When the software detects someone having difficulty logging in, the program reaches out to the customer to help even before the person buys something. This shows good proactive customer service even without a purchase, which is one starting point to developing a loyal customer base.
When all other things are equal, customer support wins out. Your customers and your profit margin could thank you later.
Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation at Flickr.com