You created your resolutions and sent them out into the universe to bring them to fruition. Or maybe you’ve committed them to paper. Or maybe you only told your best friend in between swigs of champagne on New Year’s Eve.
No matter how you’re committing and tracking them, goals matter for small businesses. I have to ask: did you include making your customer service a priority in 2016? If not, it’s definitely something you should be considering.
That’s not just my opinion. Here are some statistics that should grab your attention:
- 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service.
- 58% will never use the company again after a negative experience.
- 84% say that their expectations had not been exceeded in their last customer service interaction.
- 95% of customers share bad experiences with others.
There’s also proof that providing exemplary, high-touch service builds brand loyalty and incites company growth.
- 58% of consumers are more likely to tell others about their customer service experiences than they were 5 years ago.
- 73% of consumers say friendly customer service reps can make them fall in love with a brand.
- 58% of consumers are willing to spend more on companies that provide excellent customer service.
Customer service should never be viewed as a perk or something that happens when you’re in a good mood. Rather, it should be seen as the core that drives your business. Don’t have better customer service on your priority list for this year? There’s still plenty of time to add it.
Here’s what your business should focus on this year to provide crazy good service to your customers.
Awe-Inspiring In-Person Service
I was at one of my favorite sandwich shops with my preschooler recently. I misheard something the guy mumbled when he took my order, so I answered to a different question. Apparently that was comedy gold to the entire staff; they began snickering while I was still ordering and then, the moment he was done taking my order, started talking about me and laughing while I was right there. My intention was for my daughter and I to have lunch out together, but I was so uncomfortable that I had them change my order to go.
The importance of stellar in-person service cannot be underestimated. Though situations like this are not in the norm, they do happen and are always upsetting.
Take the time to train your employees how you expect them to treat your customers and then reinforce your expectations with consequences. Customers should never have to be party to smugness for being your customer or client.
Hyper-Personalize Your Customer Experience
Small businesses are often under some pretty tight budget restrictions, so it can be difficult to spend more money to make your business accessible to a wider range of people. However, it can be done and there are a range of tools to create a more personalized experience for your customers online.
What does it mean to hyper-personalize the customer experience? In short, it’s using any customer data to create a more targeted brand experience. As mobile usage increases, this method of engagement is increasingly important to customer loyalty. Read more about hyper-personalization and learn about tools to get you started.
Incorporate Live Chat
Adding live chat as a feature to your business’ Web site is relatively easy and is an excellent option for businesses that have the manpower to answer customer questions. According to Forrester, “44 percent of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”
Live chat allows customers to quickly ask questions while they are looking at products. Most of the questions are perceived as easily answered and customers hesitate to pick up the phone to dial customer service. Live chat eliminates that hesitation and has the potential to increase sales.
And now a warning: Live chat is great, but customer questions do need to be answered quickly. Customers who feel ignored or have to wait for too long will move on to competitor. If you can’t answer questions 24/7, make sure you clearly state your availability.
These are just a few ways you can begin to create customer service that will make your customers fall madly in love with your business. Stay tuned for part II to learn more about the importance of providing awesome phone customer service.
Have something to add? We would love to hear from you! Share with us in the comments below.