While gaining new customers is, of course, important to any business, it’s the ability to retain customers that drives real and consistent growth. Repeat customers cost less in marketing and are worth more in terms of revenue. If you want to push your bottom line higher, working to create more return customers is one of the fastest ways to do it.
Customer Service is the Key To Retention
The part of your business that has the greatest effect on your ability to retain customers is your customer service. Good service can turn an unhappy consumer into a loyal customer for life. Bad service can drive otherwise loyal customers into the waiting arms of your competitors.
A recent experience with my Website hosting company perfectly illustrates this.
The hosting service offers a free domain name to subscribers. When I checked my expenses, I noticed that they charged me for the free domain name. I called them up and after a fairly long wait spoke to David about the issue. He was very patient and calmly informed me that he had refunded the amount immediately. But, the long wait time was frustrating and had me agitated before I talked to David. Even though David was pleasant and solved the issue right away – it would have been a better experience if he apologized for the wait time as soon as he answered. I still gave him a good rating because he did resolve the issue quickly and efficiently. Because David was courteous and well informed, I still feel good about the hosting company and will continue to host with them.
Proper customer service is essential for any effective retention strategy. If you still have doubts about just how important it really is, the following statistics should clear up any confusion:
- 73% of consumers rank friendly customer service representatives as the number one reason they “fall in love” with a brand.
- 89% of consumers have gone to a competing company after receiving unsatisfactory customer service.
- 55% of consumers have said they intended to make a purchase but decided not to because of a bad service experience.
- 24% of consumers who feel they had a bad customer service experience shared their thoughts on social media.
- 86% of consumers are willing to pay up to 25% more for a product or service if it means they will have a better customer experience.
On top of all of this, people are more than twice as likely to talk about and share bad experiences as opposed to good ones.
Creating a Good Customer Service Experience
Making sure your customers have the best experience possible isn’t difficult if you incorporate solid practices into the policies set out for employees, and the company as a whole. By using the following tips as a guideline, your company will be able to create a customer experience that builds trust and boosts loyalty.
Build a solid foundation – It should be obvious that the most important component of your customer service experience is going to be the team that’s interacting with customers and potential customers. Look to hire strong candidates that exhibit the right personality traits and quick thinking needed to interact well with other people. The right people and proper training procedures will set up a solid foundation. Here’s how you can build a solid foundation for customer support.
Establish an efficient system – One of the biggest complaints consumers have about customer service is repeatedly being transferred from one person to another once they finally reach a service representative. It’s important to have well defined roles and make sure everyone knows who should be handling which problems. If a customer has to be transferred at all, the person they are sent to should be able to solve their problem. The customer is now smart they are capable of solving the issue themselves to an extent- a customer support widget can contribute greatly – explore the possibilities here.
Instill the right attitude – Customer service is not about just satisfying the customer, it’s about going beyond their expectations. Everyone on your team should know this and live by it. If the company has made a mistake, or there’s a problem with a product, it should be standard practice to offer the customer some type of bonus or extra service to make up for their inconvenience. The customer should always walk away feeling like they got more than they expected. This definitely leads to customer retention but could also lead to a sale in case of a new customer- explore this scenario here.
Get it done fast – Quality and accuracy should never be sacrificed for speed, but speed should be one of the top priorities. Even when a problem is resolved, if it takes too long to get there, the customer will feel dissatisfied. The best way to improve speed is to make sure that support staff are well trained and knowledgeable about the products and/or services they are dealing with.
Track and analyse results – The only way to know if something is successful is to track your results. You should be tracking outcomes both internally and externally. Customer service staff should be logging everything they do through help desk software. This will give you access to reports that should allow you to see both areas that are doing well, and those that need improvement. In addition, you can use email or telephone surveys to see what customers think of the service they received and compare results. Take a look at the detailed reports which should be provided by efficient customer support system.
How does your customer service stand up? We’d be happy to show you how Abhisi HelpDesk can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your company’s customer service. Contact us today for more information, or sign up and see for yourself with a free trial.