You should never underestimate the importance of customer service in relation to gaining and retaining customers. When 73% of consumers say they’ll stop using a business after fewer than three bad customer service experiences, you need to be sure that your offering is on point.
Customer service isn’t just dealing with complaining customers. It also encompasses the whole customer experience, from using your website to communicating with your brand on other channels. This can include the ease of the buying process, how you welcome each new customer, and how you keep them engaged.
Read on to find out four key reasons why customer service should be your top priority in 2022, as well as some tips on how to improve yours.
Let’s dive in.
Good customer service inspires brand loyalty
While everything from your product offering and pricing to social media presence can impact how people feel about your brand, when it comes to loyalty, it’s all about positive, human interaction. According to a study from Microsoft, 90% of consumers rate customer service a high priority for remaining loyal to a brand. Meanwhile, SalesForce has found that for 91% of customers, a positive customer service experience would increase their likelihood of making another purchase from a brand.
As a result, inspiring brand loyalty can help you retain customers, which is often cheaper than attracting new customers. According to Harvard Business Review, the cost of attracting and convincing new customers to shop with you can be 5-25 times more expensive than keeping current customers happy. Not only that, but repeat customers have been found to spend up to 67% more than new customers.
Good customer service can help boost your revenue
Piggybacking off the last point, it should be no surprise that good customer service can help boost your revenue and profit margins since returning customers tend to spend more. By increasing your customer retention rates by 5%, you can increase profits by 25%.
Beyond customer retention, good customer service is an alluring value proposition for many, sometimes even more so than low prices. With 67% of consumers willing to pay more to purchase products from a brand that provides good customer service, making customer service a priority should be a no-brainer.
Good customer service helps create a positive business image
When customers say great things about your company, whether it be on social media, online reviews, or in real life, it can help you attract more customers and create a more favorable business image. Potential customers will start to perceive you as the business that cares and, as you’ve probably gathered from this article so far, people appreciate companies that make the customer a top priority.
In the end, this good reputation is sure to help you gain more customers. According to a local consumer study, 91% of consumers are more likely to use a business with positive reviews. Focusing on creating more positive customer experiences is also crucial when considering the psychology of how people talk about their experiences. On average, people are likely to mention a positive customer experience to 9 people, while they’ll most likely share a negative experience with 16 people. As a result, reducing the number of negative experiences customers have is vital for brand reputation.
It may help mitigate worsening supply chain issues
If your small business relies on the sale of physical stock, you’re probably well aware of current global supply chain issues. Unfortunately, these supply chain issues are only set to worsen in the coming year. This will likely result in low stock for small businesses and long waiting times for customers for items they ordered to restock. To prevent the outcome from being a crowd of unhappy customers, small businesses will need to find other ways to keep customers happy and satisfied. A surefire way to do that is by providing excellent customer service.
Three ways to elevate your customer service
Now that we’ve convinced you of the importance of customer service, how do you set about making yours as good as can be? Here are a few ways to get you started.
1. Make sure your UI is up to standard
A seamless web user interface, with an easy-to-understand transaction flow, is pivotal to a good customer experience. An intuitive user experience can improve sales and conversion rates, and can go a long way to reducing complaints and queries and the overall customer service load. After all, if everything works as it should, there will be fewer things to complain about.
Get started by going through your site as a customer would. Is the navigation as simple as it could be? Is everything clearly laid out? What about product descriptions? If they’re poorly written or missing important information, you can be sure that customers will contact customer service for more information or even bounce off the site altogether.
Find out more about optimizing your website’s UI and UX in this blog post on designing your website while keeping users in mind.
2. Reply to customer queries in a timely manner
Whether a customer has a query about your product offering or has run into an issue while using your site, they expect a prompt response. In fact, 75% of consumers say that fast response times, whether they’re sending queries via social media, email, or a ticketing system, is the most important attribute of customer service.
So, how long is too long to wait? Well, that really depends on who you ask. A survey from Arise found that 16% of customers wanted an immediate response, and 21% wanted one within an hour, while 44% had a more reasonable expectation of within 24 hours.
Of course, for small businesses with small customer service teams, such short wait times are not realistic, and many customers will understand this if you make it clear to them. That’s why it’s essential to manage expectations right off the bat. Set up automated responses to customer queries to let them know when they can expect a response from you.
3. Use customer feedback constructively
If you find customer service agents are encountering the same complaints and issues time and time again, do something about it. Whether it’s about your product range, the website itself, or the courier service you use, see this feedback as a way to make your business even better.
Learn more about using customer feedback constructively in our blog post, Complaining Customers Can Be Great for Business.
Customer service is a crucial element of business success and longevity. If you’re looking to create loyal customers, improve your brand’s reputation, and boost revenue, focusing on improving your customer service offering is an effective way to make it happen.
While we touched on some tips for improving customer experience and customer service in this article, they were just a starting point. For more advice, be sure to check out 10 Ways to Upgrade Customer Retention and Loyalty.