Every successful business owner understands that customer service is an essential component to their company’s growth and well-being. This is especially important when taking over an existing business. Appealing to an existing customer base and understanding how to reach to a larger audience will help your new business flourish. In this blog post, we discuss why customer service is so important, and we list strategies that you can implement to get the best possible results for you and your new business.
Why is Customer Service So Important?
1. Consumers agree that customer service is much more important than price
Forbes Magazine published a report that states that 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience. While it is important to market your goods and services at competitive prices, cutting costs to sacrifice customer care will hurt your business in the long run. Investing in strategies to improve your customers’ experience will only improve your reputation, and ultimately increase your revenue.
2. It costs way more to attract a new customer to your business than it costs to retain an existing customer
On average, it costs 5x more to engage new clients than it does to maintain established customer relationships. In this instance, the logic speaks for itself. Why risk losing a customer when it costs so much to grab their interest in the first place? Consider how your business allocates its spending. How much is spent on advertising? How much is spent on customer care? It is important to keep the above statistic in mind in order to maximize your working capital, and reduce unnecessary spending.
Also, remember that every great business has certain customers that love the business so much that they will happily tell other people to use it; this engages new customers that don't need to be sold on your system and are willing to pay full-price immediately. It is important to keep these brand evangelists on your side.
3. Word of mouth is the most powerful ally you have on your side - or it can be your worst nightmare
Encountering disgruntled customers is an inevitable challenge that every company must face from time to time. How your business chooses to respond to such challenges can have an enormous impact on your company’s success. Here are a few statistics that reveal the potential advantages to having a good reputation, as well as the negative impacts of a poor reputation:
- 40% of customers begin purchasing from a competitor because of their reputation for great customer service - this could be you! (source)
- Loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 7x as likely to try a new offering, and 4x as likely to refer your business to new clients (source).
- Consumers are 2x more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences (source).
- McKinsey found out that an unhappy customer will tell 10-15 persons about the experience of using your product or service. In fact, more than 14% of your unsatisfied customers will tell at least 20 people of their experience of buying a product or service from you (source).
The Importance of Winning Over Customers After Buying a Business
Unfortunately, a negative side-effect of having a business change hands is that you stand to lose loyal, existing customers that have a relationship with the previous owners. However, these challenges are surmountable with proper planning and preparation. We have some advice for how to win over and retain your existing clientele: Wyoming-based serial entrepreneur KC Truby says that, “The best way to do a turnaround is to go to your top 20 customers and say, ‘What are we doing that you like? What are we doing that you don’t care about? And who else are you doing business with?’” Essentially, communication is key. Talk to your consumers, and listen to what they have to say. Putting in that extra bit of effort proves to your customers that you care about them - which proves to be an invaluable for your company’s growth.
Tips for Improving Customer Service:
1. Let your customers get to know you
In any relationship, trust comes from reliability, authenticity, and connection. Business relationships are no different, and this can heavily influence the impact of your customer service efforts. Consumers appreciate the peace of mind that comes from trusting the company that they are doing business with/purchasing goods or services from/etc. A little personal information can go a long way when advertising your company. Consider adding an “About Us” page to your website, feature photos of you and your staff on social media, or simply list a business address that is easily accessible for your consumers.
2. Be accessible
Customers want service that is quick, convenient, and easy to access. Ensure that your contact information is easy to find, and that you have various customer support channels for your consumers to interact with. In addition, because we are living in a digital age, optimising technology is especially important. Here are a few examples of programs that can benefit every business (source):
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software: Customer service starts when you first connect with a prospect. But managing many potential customers as they move at different paces through the sales process requires a lot of detailed organization. CRMs automate the entire process. Programs like Hubspot and Infusionsoft help you keep track of prospect details, follow-up with them throughout the sales cycle, create ongoing customer engagement processes, and personalize the experience.
- Customer service software: Once you have the customers, these programs help you support them. Programs like Zendesk include email, voice, and live chat options for answering help desk tickets, product inquiry calls, and so on. Some programs run on the cloud, so your customer service agents can work from anywhere—like their homes—and seem as if they’re just down the hall from you. Most customer service programs connect with popular CRMs to help keep sales and support on the same page.
- Social media management tools: Tools like Hootsuite and Buzzsumo help you manage all of your social networks, schedule posts in advance, manage your online reputation, and more. One handy feature is the tool can alert you if someone’s talking about your company or products, so you can respond quickly.
3. The “Golden Rule”
We all know this one: “treat others the way you’d like to be treated”. See your clientele not as numbers, but as people. After all, without them, your business would be unable to succeed. From the layout of your website to your return policy, always keep in mind your customer’s point of view. Remember that people have a keen ability to recognize authenticity, and that if you are sincere in your desire to give your clientele the best customer service possible, this will shine through. When in doubt, simply ask your customers how they think you’re doing!
And that’s that. Prioritize the well-being of your customers, and the benefits will inevitably follow. We think that Damon Richards put it best when he said, “Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”