Regardless of a company size, regardless of its line of business, regardless of the geographical area it operates in, high quality customer service is one of the most important ingredients in a business’s success. In general, there are only two ways to improve your bottom line: increase sales and/or reduce costs. While costs are very hard to decrease, there are always ways to increase sales by providing better customer service at almost no additional cost.
Why customer services matters? Why is customer service so important?
1. DIRECTLY AFFECTS CUSTOMER RETENTION
Research shows that 86% of customers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer service and that number has been steadily rising over the years. Retention matters!!! Why would your risk losing a customer when keeping existing customers is by far less expensive than acquiring new customers? Moreover, on average loyal customers are worth ten times their first purchase. These arguments, on their own should be enough to convince every manager that increasing customer retention by focusing on delivering outstanding customer service, will inevitable increase a company’s profits.
2. BUILDS TRUST
Customers will only stay loyal if they have very good reason for that. Build trust and customer loyalty by treating your customers with courtesy and respect. Make your customers feel cared for and they will be far more likely to continue to doing business with you. Apart from trying to retain your customers because it’s less expensive, once trust and loyalty are built, you are more likely to sell to an existing client (with probability of 60-70%,) than to convince a new customer to purchase (with probability ranging from 5% to 20%).
3. PROFITABLE MARKETING STRATEGY
Word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising! You cannot buy it – it’s a reward loyal and happy customers grant in exchange for being treated and taken care of with respect. People are considerably more likely to listen to the advice of a friend or colleague, than to what they read in an article or advertisement. Word of mouth, however, can go both ways – what customers say about your company can make or break your business. The way to go is to turn customers into advocates for your brand and business by providing stellar customer service.
4. STRENGTHENS YOUR BRAND AND IMAGE
Exceptional customer service is at the core of improving public perception, reputation and brand strengthening. The way you serve your customers reflects on your entire business. Rightly or wrongly, when clients perceive your customer service as good or poor, they assume your products and services are of the same quality. As customers (and people in general), tend to remember poor customer experience more, than positive ones, you need to devote as much time and resources to your customer support team, as you do for product development and sales. Don’t underestimate customer service – make every customer interaction count towards your image improvement!
5. IMPROVES EMPLOYEES TURNOVER
Taking care of your customers indirectly conveys strong moral values in the company and desire to build something of value (not merely focus on profits and bottom line). Employees pay close attention to the way a company treats its customers. In companies where customers are treated well and taken good care of, employees get the sense of pride being part of the team which in turn makes them more willing to stick around and identify themselves with such company culture. The opposite is also true – when employees are taught to discount customer requests or feedback regardless of the reason, they are more likely to look for a place where they can identify themselves with the company’s culture and moral values.
6. REDUCES OVERALL PROBLEMS
When you treat your customers well, you are ensuring less problems for your business, sales, and potentially legal actions against your company. On the contrary, treating customers poorly will sooner or later turn against you and you will run into problems. While there is no recipe for running only into perfect customers, try to avoid tension by making sure your customers know they can file complaints and that those issues will be addresses properly and in a timely manner.
No-Cost Effective Customer Service Strategies
Below are some effective little-to-no cost strategies that you can use to deliver excellent customer service:
- Greet your customers with smile (even when talking on the phone)
- Listen to the customers very carefully
- Understand the customers’ requestsRespect your customers
- Don’t argue with your customers
- Do what you say
- Focus on the issue resolution
- Admit mistakes and apologize
- Be patient and persistent with the customer
Today, providing actual quality customer service can easily differentiate your company from the competition. Undervaluing customer service is risky. With so many alternatives around, there will always be a competitor doing the opposite – focusing on the core of their business – THE CUSTOMERS.
„You can buy a person’s time; you can buy their physical presence at a given
place; you can even buy a measured number of their skilled muscular motions
per hour. But you cannot buy enthusiasm . . . You cannot buy loyalty . . . You
cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds, or souls. You must earn these”
-Clarence Francis, Former Chairman of the Board,
General Foods Corporation