Invest in Customer Service, Invest in Yourself

Does Customer Service Even Apply Here?

It’s easy to think of customer service as something for “bigger” businesses to worry about. It conjures up images of endless call centers and sad return desks at big box stores. If your business is small, it’s tempting to think that as long as you provide a stellar product, you’ve got your bases covered…and to an extent this is true. The truth of the matter is though, that you’re more than just the product or service you sell. From conception to “add to cart” there is an experience that happens, and the team and tools guiding said experience determine whether it’s good or bad.

If your goal is growth and expansion, then all points of your customer’s journey are important not only to know but to enhance. At some point, if all goes well, you’re probably going to have to hire outside your business to get things done. This means delegation and a distance between you and your customers and their experiences. That’s why it’s crucial to have:

  • A knowledge of your customers and their expectations
  • An understanding of a typical (and atypical) customer journeys
  • A solid way for customers to still feel like you care and are involved

Once you get these three concepts nailed down, it’ll be easier for you to incorporate them into your everyday procedures, and eventually pass down to future employees.

An Investment in YOU

If done right, expansion with an emphasis on consistent customer service will help you achieve a loyal customer base – which is so vital to your bottom line. Think about it; a customer who’s already worked with you before and enjoyed the process is likely to be a customer again. An established client is easier to sell to than a new lead. In providing the same reliable customer interactions time and again, you’re establishing yourself as a vendor your customers can count on.

We’ve also seen that, especially once-burned, customers are willing to pay extra once they find a business they can trust, for instance the airline industry. How many times have you heard someone say, “Well, I never fly brand X, not after what happened. Brand Y might be a bit pricier but they’re reliable. Now I always just book with them… I even joined their loyalty program.”

Saving a buck isn’t worth misery, and people will pay not only for your product or offer, but for how you made them feel while they bought it.

Cool, but How?

At this point you’re on board with the fact that customer service is important, but how do you go about making sure yours is up to par? Not to worry, we’ve got a few tips for you to close things out:

  • Become a team player: If you started your business from the ground up, we get it, it’s your baby. But a willingness to let go and intentionally expand your business will mean sustainable growth in the long run. By this we mean you will need to be selective. Be picky about who you let onboard your ever-expanding ship. But do let people on. Delegate. Remember above, when we encouraged a thorough knowledge of your customer base and journey? This is where that comes in handy. Now it’s inherent to the way you do business and is incorporated into your onboarding process. Assembling the right team means more hands ready and willing to assist your customers in whatever they might need. As long as your people have been well-trained, to your customers it shouldn’t feel all that different from doing business with you.
  • Invest in your tech: Is your website up to date? How simple is your checkout process? Do you take Apple Pay? How’s your readability on mobile devices? If you answered “no” or even “I don’t know” to any of the above, it’s time to ante up and invest in your website. Digital traffic shows no signs of slowing down, and the last thing you want is for someone to abandon their full cart at checkout because they encounter an online bottleneck thanks to your outdated software.
  • Encourage Loyalty: Is a loyalty program something that makes sense for what you provide? If so, it can go a long way in maintaining customer relationships and loyalty. We’ve definitely driven out of our way to get ice cream from that one place where we had a punch card. Human minds love a reward system, and each time they get one step closer to the pot of gold at the end of the loyalty rainbow, their brains get some sweet, sweet dopamine. That means they will literally start to associate your business with the reward or pleasure centers of their brains.
  • All the Support: From time to time, things will go wrong. You’re human, it happens. If you typically provide a positive customer experience, then your mistakes will be more forgivable, which is another positive for customer service. But when things go awry, try to provide multiple forms of support to rectify the error. Some people prefer talking on the phone. Others would rather utilize a chat feature or email support ticket. The key here is meeting people through the communication channel they prefer, and ensuring you have adequate staffing will mean an expeditious solution to their problem.

And there you have it. Making sure your customers enjoy the actual process of working with you is almost as important as your product itself. By making sure the customer service you provide is consistent and aligned with your company mission, we know that you can look forward to a solid and loyal customer base.