As a young entrepreneur just starting out, you’ve probably read every article there is on how to run a business. But you know what? Many of those articles aren’t actually geared toward the young entrepreneur.
What’s more? Most if not all of those articles are general listicles reminding new grads to “Believe in themselves” and to “Stay focused.” While both of those points are definitely two things you should do, those tips aren’t really all that helpful. (Your mother probably tells you those things every time you speak to her, right?)
What you need are solid examples of how and why something is right for you and your business–and what better place to start than the realm of customer service? Think about it: When all of your customers (and future customers) are just one mouse click away, good customer service is the one variable you can control 100 percent.
Communication is key.
It may sound cliché, but communication is the key to every relationship out there. This time, we’re talking about your client-to-customer relationship status. How’s it looking? If you’re unsure, ask yourself: Am I present? Do I respond in a timely manner? Can customers contact the business easily, if needed? If you answered “No” to any of those questions, you’ve got a serious problem.
This is because customer service is all about being present, from the front desk to social media to email. You need to be there. Taking days or even hours to respond to your customers could cost you a sale (or several). Before you get yourself into a hole you can’t get out of (AKA a PR nightmare with an irate customer), put a plan in place and get your team on the same page.
If you’re worried or freaking out, don’t. There’s a quick and easy way to fix this–by implementing a cloud based call center. Sure, legacy contact center tech is something to admire, but let’s face it, most customers are online. Legacy systems don’t offer channels like Facebook messenger or SMS. With a cloud based call center, you can speak with your customers via phone, in-app chat, or via a social platform.
Offer a self-service option.
Providing your customers with a self-serve option may seem counterproductive, but trust us, it’s not. By giving them a way to help themselves, your reps will have more time to focus on improving “big-picture” aspects of your overall service strategy.
According to a study conducted by Zendesk, 91 percent of customers preferred some sort of self-service over speaking to an actual representative. And, according to research from Nuance, most consumers prefer to help themselves. What does that tell you? Self-service isn’t out of style just yet.
But don’t get ahead of yourself. Self-service is a great option when it comes to quick questions or clarifications, but you’ll still need qualified reps to take care of the more detailed issues. Remember: There are still customers out there who want to talk to real human beings.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
According to a study conducted by Reputation Refinery, 96 percent of unhappy customers won’t (publicly) complain about their problems. Instead, they’ll take their business elsewhere and tell everyone and their mother about their bad experience. You can probably see the obvious issues with this scenario.
How do you fix this? By checking in with your customers. Pay close attention to their feedback. Send out customer surveys or include an open invite to share reviews on Yelp or on your company site via a newsletter or social media post.
Make promises, but only if you can keep them.
Ridiculous promotions and promises will, without a doubt, encourage viewers to become customers. But, there’s nothing worse than making a promise you can’t keep. This is what we call click-bait. It’s dishonest, and will (even though it brings the clicks) eventually ruin your business.
Aside from that, click-bait attracts the wrong visitors. Upworthy, for example, is a long-time winner in the click game. This is because their audience is constantly wondering what comes next. Take this title for example: “5 Bizarre Features of American Politics That Shock People When They First Hear About Them.” It gives you the “You’ll never guess what happens next” vibe, doesn’t it?
The problem? As soon as the reader realizes that the end isn’t really all that shocking, they’ll click right out, boosting your bounce rate and encouraging the algorithm (all the algorithms, especially Facebook) to hate your site. Not to mention, your reader will be disappointed–which means they probably won’t come back.