Many businesses today approach customer service as the necessary evil. The common perception is “people are buying from me and I’m just bound to have this customer service department to solve their problems, otherwise they won’t buy”.
The underlying emotion of such an approach inevitably leads to bad customer service and creating dissatisfied customers. Just come to think of it: 87% of customers (have a look at this infographic) would pay more for a better customer service!
It means that 87% of them are basically dissatisfied with the level of service they are receiving.
Does there exist another type of approach which could switch our attitude from reactive to proactive and reverse the perception of customer service from being a problem to being an opportunity? I think there does. If we actually come to an understanding how many business areas are touched by the customer service and how many challenges of growing and maintaining a business can be solved with it, we would not spare the effort and time optimizing all the aspects of it and achieving many business goals by doing well customer service alone.
The objectives of customer service
Let’s have a look at what business areas are influenced by the quality of customer service and what roles it plays for your company.
- Standing out from the competition – The development of easily accessible online technologies has given equal opportunities for many people and thus created immense competition in the business world. If two online stores can have the same design, product and features, which are all tangible things, the only area left where they can truly compete over the client is the quality of their service. How they treat their customer is a thing rather ethereal and hard to measure but it plays a hugely significant important role in achieving success in business.
- Creating a referral system – Excellent customer service allows you to turn your clients into the advocates of your brand who will spread the word through word of mouth and online product reviews, by leaving their comments on different community discussion platforms and social media. It is the kind of advertising that you don’t have to pay for, which works on self-start and creates ripples that drive traffic to your website.
- Improving branding and reputation – This is closely tied to the previous point. If there are enough satisfied customers who shared their experience with others, there is already a common perception of what your company is like, a certain level of customer expectation originating from the experience of past consumers. Users will be buying based on your public image alone, on their trust in your standards. The stronger the brand reputation, the less advertising it needs. Customer service becomes a tool which helps you leverage your advertising budget.
- Creating customer loyalty – Customer service delivered with care contributes to creating a human face of your brand. It helps to establish a stronger emotional connection with the customer and nurtures their trust, appreciation, sense of security and reliability. This allows you to create long-term relationships with your clients and ensure your business survival and success.
- Customer retention and repeat business generation – According to statistics by Gartner Group 80 % of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. Another survey by Harris Interactive finds that the top two reasons for customer loss are poor treatment and failure to solve a problem in a timely manner. This shows us how important the customer service both for the company and for the customer. If the client has a pleasant experience interacting with your company, he is more likely to do business with you again generate more revenue for you.
- Driving more sales – Besides the many strategic benefits that customer service can bring to your organization, there are also short-term and immediate advantages to doing it well. There are a great deal of users who contact the service centers to get acquainted with the product or service and learn some additional information about it. There lay your chances to acquire new customers and improve your conversion rates. If your service agents are trained to identify cross and up sell opportunities, you will be able to generate additional sales from existing clients.
Have you come to recognize all the potential that customer service holds for your business? Sales and marketing, advertising and PR are all affected by how you handle customer service, and benefited if you do it right.
Have you optimized your customer service procedures to help the other areas of your business and minimize your efforts in them? If you haven’t looked at this yet, now is a good time to give it a thought and revolutionize your customer service to become a strong independent, multi-purpose asset of your company.