Customer service and sales are two important, complementary parts of your company’s operations. In fact, you can’t have one without the other. Why? Because happy customers are worth their weight in gold. Happy customers translate to increased brand loyalty, increased sales and stability across your operations.
Most companies spend a lot of time – and money – thinking about customer acquisition. That’s great, of course, but what about your tried and true ones? According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a single loyal customer is worth up to 10 times as much as the value of their first purchase. It also costs a lot less to retain an existing customer than it does to invest in finding new ones. Not to mention that satisfied customers are the key to word-of-mouth marketing. And we love word-of-mouth marketing because a) it’s free and b) it shows that we’re doing an awesome job!
NewVoiceMedia estimates that poor customer service costs US businesses an average of $41 billion per year. Ninety-three percent of Americans will take action after an unsatisfactory customer service experience, and 34% of that total would take to the internet to post a public review. This means that poor customer service not only costs you your existing consumer base (44% of Americans will take their business elsewhere have after a bad experience!), it also hinders your ability to grow your business and attract new customers.
Do you read reviews before you purchase a product? Do you ask friends or co-workers for advice when looking for a new service? Of course, you do. According to NewVoiceMedia, 69% of Americans recommend a company to someone else after a positive customer service experience. So, as you can see, the majority of Americans place a huge emphasis on customer service when making buying decisions. This leaves you with one, and only one, option: DELIVER SUPERIOR CUSTOMER SERVICE. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
How can we accomplish this?
First, know the facts. The New Yorker says that 80% of major companies consider their customer service to be “superior,” but only 8% of their client base agrees. This is a huge discrepancy! It tells us that while we might think we’re great, chances are…we’re probably not.
Being in touch with the needs and desires of your customers is crucial to your ability to deliver phenomenal customer service. Don’t wait until you complete a sale to express gratitude to the person you’re speaking with. Whether you’re on the phone, talking via social media or face-to-face with a prospective or existing customer, take a moment to thank them for their business. They are special to you. They are your greatest asset. Make sure they know it right away.
On that note, not feeling special is the biggest complaint many customers have. There might not be anything wrong, per say, with your customer service. It might just not be…amazing. When a customer walks away from a transaction with your business, what are they thinking? Since truly remarkable customer service is an exception to the rule, there’s a huge opportunity here for you to impress future and existing customers. Here are three things you can do to make sure they know how valuable they are to your business:
- Remember, the sale doesn’t end when the transaction is over. Just because you’ve closed the deal, your obligation to the customer isn’t over. Most sales people are great at staying in touch throughout the sales process but disappear after the fact. Be different. Contact your customers after making a sale to ensure they’re satisfied. If they aren’t, find out what you can do to make it better and do it promptly.
- Have compassion. When speaking to a customer, try to put yourself in their position. Think about they’re feeling and how you would want to be treated if the tables were turned.
- Go above and beyond. This is where you can really set your business apart from the competition. Make sure your salespeople understand that their job is to do more than sell a product or service. Their obligation, first and foremost, is to the customer. It might be tempting to over-sell them, but that’s not the way to retain customers and courage word-of-mouth marketing.
You can’t make everyone happy all the time, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. If you’re having a hard time with customer service, try to get a better understanding of the situation by listening to customer feedback. Ask customers how their experience was and what they think your company’s strengths and weaknesses are. Analyze that information and share it with your team (ask them to weigh in, too!).
And remember, only one group benefits from poor customer service: the competition.
Laurie Marks Law, Vizzify Marketing Founder: Vizzify Marketing is a next generation creative agency dedicated to delivering compelling 360° solutions to clients across every industry. They specialize in affordable web design, marketing, branding, merchandising and technology-in-print – the tools your business needs to get ahead. They deliver compelling content and creative work that gets results, without the inflated costs or long leads, and guarantee a positive, collaborative and results-driven process that puts you, your brand and your goals at the center.