In the age of the digital customer, delivering differentiated customer service has become a strategic imperative. 78% of customers have ended a business relationship because of bad customer service. It is also estimated that it costs a company six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. And that’s just the beginning – there are plenty of reasons why companies should invest in strong customer service.
Here are five tips every company should implement to exceed customer support expectations:
Offer Self-Service Options
Self-service support is no longer just an option; to obtain customer loyalty and competitive edge, self-service support must be a priority. According to Salesforce, 58% of Americans would never patronize a company again after a bad customer service experience. This equates to $41 billion lost per year due to poor customer service.
Creating a knowledge-driven support community can help companies avoid negative PR and reputation damage while also increasing customer satisfaction and retention rates. With an online community, customers can easily search real-time questions and answers instead of pre-set or outdated FAQs. This also allows them to avoid the dreaded phone calls to customer service.
Create a Strong First Impression
Customers expect companies to value their time and provide accurate, relevant, and complete answers to questions upon first contact. When customers visit a support site, they should instinctively be able to find what they are looking for and not have to search through an endless array of disorganized content, which defeats the purpose of self-service support. To effectively meet customer expectations – and deliver a great first impression – seed your community with quality content, organize knowledge into Spaces, and properly tag content to increase post visibility.
Just because knowledge already exists on a topic doesn’t mean that it should be left untouched. To deliver outstanding self-service support, content must evolve with customer needs. Self-service achieves nothing if shared knowledge is outdated or irrelevant. Review community content regularly to ensure relevancy, archive outdated Spaces or posts, and create new topics and content to meet the evolving needs and expectations of your audience.
Reward and Recognize
Recognizing contributors in your support community can easily be the difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer. Use gamification to reward active users badges and reputation points. Offer top contributors unique thank yous for their content. For example, the Community Manager at SAP Hybris designed a special t-shirt as a thank you for the top 10 community contributors.
Welcome Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is an essential, and often overlooked, element of a strong customer service strategy. Kristin Smaby, author of Being Human is Good Business, said it best: “When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make product, service, and business better.” When customers share feedback, businesses can use that knowledge to evolve products and services and remain competitive in the market while also maintaining customer satisfaction.
Top-notch customer service isn’t just important – it’s absolutely vital. As the foundation for the health and success of your business, customer service is the thing people will remember the most, even more so than your product or service. Incorporate these five tips into your day-to-day support strategy and your business can soon reap the benefits of excellent customer service.