Businesses put a lot of emphasis on sales — and who can blame them? Your sales team brings in revenue on a daily basis, which not only contributes to the success of the company, but also keeps employees…well, employed. Even the technologies that we use on a daily basis are related to revenue in one way or another, like our email marketing solutions or marketing automation platforms. With so much attention given to sales, it’s easy to forget about the people who actually keep your customers hanging around after sales brings them on board: your customer support team.
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it can be six to seven times more costly to onboard a new customer than to retain an existing customer — meaning that if customer support isn’t already a priority at your business, it probably should be. In fact, data from Defaqto Research indicates that 55% of buyers would pay more for a better customer experience, reinforcing the business value of having a team that’s dedicated full-time to supporting customer needs.
Unfortunately, there’s no switch that will transform your company’s customer service from mediocre to excellent. But there are several tried-and-true steps you can take to ensure that you’re always keeping your customers smiling and happy, which is important in a marketplace where it can take twelve positive reviews to reverse the damage caused by a single negative one. Let’s take a look!
Interact with your customers, even when they’re not having support issues.
The companies with the happiest customers are also the ones that spend the most amount of time cultivating those relationships. Instead of only interacting with clients when they need help or support, businesses should be making an effort to communicate on a regular basis. Start conversations with your customers on social sites like Twitter, and don’t be afraid to chime in when you have something relevant to say. Your customers will love seeing the faces behind your brand — you just have to show them, first.
Your customers can provide some really helpful feedback, but only if you ask them for it. Successful companies seek out feedback from their customers on a regular basis, and are always willing to listen when customers come to them with opinions, thoughts, or advice. Consider setting up a forum for your clients to submit feedback and requests, so that they always feel like their ideas are being heard.
Then, actually act on what your customers are saying.
Your customers won’t truly appreciate how well you listen until they see you acting on what you’ve heard. Make sure that you’re responding to their requests, implementing their new feature requests, and addressing their complaints. The real value in feedback is the chance it gives you to improve, and if you’re not acting on it, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to advance your business.
Customers expect you to be transparent when you have good news. But they also expect you to communicate bad news, pitfalls, price increases, and the like. Honesty isn’t selective, meaning that you can’t choose to be transparent about some things and not others. Always communicating with your customers, even if the news isn’t good, builds trust. And ultimately, customers want to work with companies that they can trust.
Be proactive, not reactive.
Companies with good support teams can solve customer issues promptly. Companies with great support teams are proactively solving problems before they even arise. By checking in regularly with your customers, even if it’s just a ten minute catch-up call or a quick quarterly meeting, you can stay on top of things instead of letting issues pile up until they’re brought to your attention. Not only will this make your customers’ lives easier, it will also mean fewer fires for your support team to put out down the line.
Keeping your customers happy is the biggest factor impacting your customer retention rates, and therefore not something to be taken lightly. How many of the items on this list are you already doing? What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!