Customer service is the support you offer your customers at every point in their buying journey. This includes the information on your website through to after-sales support and any warranties you offer.
65% of sales come from existing customers, and improving customer service is an important step in retaining clients. Increasing customer retention is essential because it is much easier to sell to someone already familiar with your business than it is to start cold with a new lead.
Regardless of your industry, there are simple steps you can take to improve your customer service that will significantly impact your customer’s overall experience with your business.
One really easy change that will improve customer service is ensuring your contact information is clearly visible on your website. We’ve all been on one of those sites where you have to go through 6 different links to finally find the “contact us” button. It’s not ideal and puts customers in a bad mood before they’ve even picked up the phone or typed out a message.
Scan your website and make sure your contact information is easy to find (your website’s footer is one of the most common places to put it). If you feel like experimenting, ask a friend to find your business’s contact information and time them. If it takes them longer than 30 seconds, look at streamlining the process.
Another easy tweak that will improve your customer service experience is to ensure you’re always addressing customers by name. Avoid generic emails that start with “Dear Valued Customer,” and personalize messages where possible. This could include personalizing appointment reminder notifications, order confirmations, or any responses to customer inquiries.
For automated communications like appointment reminders, add personalization tokens to your templates, so they auto-populate with the customer’s name, the name of their service provider, and the appointment type.
If your business offers refunds or exchanges, ensuring your refund policy is clearly visible on your website and easy to understand is essential. (If you don’t provide refunds, let customers know that too!)
To improve your customer service and reduce the number of unnecessary customer inquiries, make sure to include the following in your refund policy:
Shopify has some good return policy templates if you need help writing yours.
Discount codes are a good option if your goal is to improve customer satisfaction and increase sales. Consider creating a code specifically for new customers and advertising it via a banner or pop-up on your website to convert browsers into buyers.
To improve your customer service, you need to spend time getting to know your customers to predict their needs better. Consider:
A happy customer is more likely to become a loyal customer, and a loyal customer who gets rewarded every time they buy from you could be very valuable to your bottom line. Data shows that customers spend 67% more when they’re part of a customer loyalty program. So, if you don’t already have one, now is the time to implement one.
Introducing a customer loyalty program isn’t going to be an overnight success; it’s more of a long game. But by keeping customers engaged, you have more opportunities to show them the value your business offers and keep them coming back for more.
Reducing response times is an excellent way to improve your customer service. One approach is hiring more customer service representatives, but that costs money. A free way to reduce your response times is to streamline your customer service channels, so customers take fewer steps to speak to someone.
Streamlining could look like eliminating lesser-used contact channels or stopping switching between channels to resolve an issue (e.g., from a phone call to an email or social media message to a website query).
If you use a chatbot (either automated or straight to a live agent), review the information you collect. If all you need is an order number to pull up a customer's file, don’t also ask them for their name, address, postcode, and favorite movie! Keep things to a strict need-to-know basis.
Ok, I know the last tip involved streamlining your customer service channels, but for some businesses, the opposite could improve their customer service. An omnichannel approach to customer service gives your customers the option to contact you via their preferred method.
Millennials hate phone calls, Gen Z does everything from their phone, and 78% of Baby Boomers are on Facebook. By providing a range of communication methods, you can cater to the different preferences of your customer base and keep everyone happy.
Communication channels to consider include:
*Have you met MarketBot yet?
As a small business, providing round-the-clock customer support is not always possible (or necessary). One way to address this is to build a helpful FAQ page that covers the support themes you identified during your customer evaluation.
You could also introduce an out-of-hours chatbot programmed to answer commonly asked questions, take messages, or direct customers to relevant pages on your site when your team is off the clock.
An obvious way to improve customer service for your small business is to provide customer service training for your team. Include anyone that interacts with customers, from support agents to service providers, and make it an ongoing exercise.
Lastly, if you’re taking steps to improve your customer service, it’s important to have a way to track progress. Establish a framework to measure your team’s performance and evaluate whether any changes you’ve implemented are working.
Areas to track include:
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