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When calculating the ultimate success of your business, there’s a lot of metrics involved. Expenses, salaries, invoices, numbers of all kinds flying in and out of accounts all over the place. Whether or not these numbers are green or red by the end of all these calculations is often what we use to determine if a business has had a successful year; did we make money or lose money? While that’s obviously key to the overall success of any organization, there’s an often overlooked area of success that doesn’t have a dollar sign attached to it. Or does it?
Customer service can be a hugely important area to focus on when determining strategies for success with your business. For one thing, customers are where your business is coming from. By making the customer experience enjoyable, you’re creating return customers or clients, and guaranteeing income for yourself. Let’s take a look at how that’s done.
By investing in your customers, you’re showing you care about them enough to provide an enjoyable experience and want their interaction with your business to be a positive one. Hiring an effective customer service department, whether that be one powerhouse person or a whole team, allows for a focus on service to the customer that is not only pleasant and focused on them, but can streamline their experience and get them the help they need. When you take care of your customer’s needs, you win their trust, making them much more likely to choose your business.
In making that investment, you create a loyal customer base. Customer service and support is one of the largest driving factors behind brand loyalty, according to a 2019 report from Gartner, and increasing the customer experience is key to maintaining it. Even in error, companies that have solid customer interactions and overall success in the customer service area can come out ahead. Maybe it was a drink made incorrectly at Starbucks, followed with an apology and a free, corrected drink with a kind conversation. Maybe it was a quick and easy return to a clothing company when a product arrived damaged, rather than doubting the sincerity of the customer. These interactions lead people back to these brands because, even though the experience in question wasn’t ideal, the service to fix it was.
The person interacting with the customer is, at that moment in time, the face of your business. Whether that’s the owner, a customer service representative, a technician in the field, you name it, they are effectively representing the organization. If the person interacting with the customer is not ready to provide compassionate, patient, and friendly support, the customer will get the impression that the company they represent is the same. On the other hand, if the person representing your company is professional, friendly, and shows a genuine desire to want to help, customers will think the same of your entire organization as well.
An important note; there don’t need to be answers immediately. Sometimes a representative needs to ask some questions to find the answers they need. That’s totally okay! You don’t have to have all the answers right now, just a genuine intention to help. As long as the customer knows the representative is doing their best to make the experience positive, that’s what counts. This one moment could be great, providing that your people are ready to give exceptional customer service!
In a literal sense, customer service affects the bottom line through some pretty intense statistics. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, just a 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase profitability by 25-95%. Those numbers are too big to ignore; with such a notable increase possible with just a small increase in loyalty, customer service and support are essential to driving the success of businesses.
Negative customer interactions could be costing you more than you think. In such a social age, where shares through social media happen instantly and often virally, one customer’s negative experience could turn into a huge loss for your business. Unhappy customers will also be avoiding future business with you, and tell their friends, thereby reducing new customer intake from negative interactions. It quite literally pays to prioritize quality customer support!
Customer loyalty and ultimately businesses’ bottom lines are often determined by having consumer’s best interests at heart. Providing learning opportunities for the leadership in your organization as well as the people representing you in the field is key to their soft skills accurately depicting how much your business cares about its customers. Building these skills within each person on your team creates a business that customers want to do business with!