Businesses across the world are engaged in a never ending quest to acquire customers. The environment is cutthroat, and you need every edge that you can get to stay ahead of the pack. What’s surprising, however, is that customer service is often neglected on the ever growing list of things to do to get more sales! Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing agency. My company specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and remarketing. I have been around for over a decade and I fully understand the link between customer service, better reviews and growth for businesses. That's the information that I am going to share in this article. The post is divided into the following sections;
What is Customer Service?
Customer Service is how a business interacts with its customers before, during and after a sale. That definition has several crucial components. One of these is that customer service does not start and end with making a sale.
In fact, a business’ success often hinges on it’s ability to extend the relationship with the customer well into the future. Repeat business accounts for 50% of sales in the world of eCommerce. That's a lot! So, the relationship with your business' customers should be an ongoing one.
It’s all about perceptions
The challenge for most businesses is that no two customers are ever the same. In fact, even a single customer may exhibit different traits from one interaction to the next. Customer service is the ability to create the perception of good service. It’s all in the mind of the customer.
Why Customer Service is Important
There are several reasons why a customer service tends to be a matter of life and death for businesses around the world;
1. Good customer service helps businesses retain customers
No business can hope to grow through new customers alone. Instead, customer retention should be a priority for all businesses. Did you know that getting a new customer costs up to five times more than retaining an existing one? That’s an astounding bit of information.
Great customer service often means that the customer will keep coming back, which is essential for achieving sustainable growth for a business. Think about it; would you go back to buy from a business that did not treat you well in the first place?
Well, not if you could help it! And today, the customer is spoiled for choice. There is stiff competition from other businesses, not only at home, but also abroad. If you are a business operating in the United States, chances are that you will be competition with other businesses in China, South Africa and Japan. The world has truly become global.
2. Bad customer services drive customers away
Bad customer service means a customer will most likely look for other businesses from which to buy the next time they need something. They won’t come back! That’s important considering what we have just been talking about.
Business owners should know that making improvements to customer retention can boost a company’s profits by up to 95%. So, this subject is important. It’s essential for all business to avoid bad customer service that drives people away.
3. Good Customer Service can get you positive reviews
Good customer service often translates into positive reviews. I have previously written on how eCommerce businesses can use reviews to achieve growth. Indeed, reviews are a great tool as far as marketing for every business is concerned.
More often than not, they are the thing that has the most ability to convince a doubting buyer that your products or services are worth purchasing. One point to note is that the internet makes reviews doubly important.
Positive or negative reviews can be read by anyone in any part of the world who has internet access. And reviews can be enduring. The ones that are written today will be around ten, twenty or even thirty years in the future.
Nothing ever gets lost on the internet. So, once the damage is done, it can be hard to unravel. Conversely, good customer reviews are an asset that will keep people coming back to a business well into the future.
4. Bad Customer Service can translate into negative reviews
If you do customer service wrong, then this can translate into negative reviews. Negative reviews and how to deal with them is another subject that I have covered a lot on this blog. What I can say here is that negative reviews can be very damaging.
In fact, a drop of one star on Yelp can translate into a fall in profit of up to 9% for some businesses. Reviews are all about building trust. Over 90% of people out there first refer to them before making a purchase. And over 88% trust these reviews even though they are left across the internet by complete strangers.
So, a negative review can be very damaging. However, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, negative reviews can be turned positive by taking proactive measures to satisfy the customer. This is where good Customer Service comes into play.
It’s essential for businesses to have people on their staff who are able to convince irate customers to give the business another chance. It’s also worth pointing out that customers expect a certain level of negative feedback for any business. A five star rating only serves to raise people’s suspicion. They begin to think that the rating system has been gamed somehow.
5. Good Customer Service makes cross-selling and up-selling easy
Imagine trying to up-sell to an angry customer. They will most likely think there is something wrong with you. The great thing about good customer service is that it allows a business to upsell, which translates into more sales and higher profits.
In fact, a business whose customer service is good is 33% more likely to have success when upselling than one that has a bad customer service. So, this is important. Upselling and cross selling are important tools as far as business profitability is concerned. So, addressing issues with customer service can have a positive impact on a business’ bottom line.
How to Offer Better Customer Service
It’s clear that Customer Service can get you more sales and better reviews. But how what do businesses need to do to offer their customers better service? There are several things that you can do to offer your customers great customer service;
1. Training goes a long way in preparing your staff to interact positively with customers
So, training is essential. Teach your staff how to interact with their customers. Show them that the customer is always right. In most instances, you need to lead by example. If, as a boss, you treat other people rudely, then chances are high that your staff will do the same. That’s a recipe for disaster.
2. Understand that people are different
Interacting with people is never easy. One thing that you need to teach your staff is that people are different. How they deal with each individual should therefore be different. Some people are friendly. Others are difficult.
Some will make seemingly outrageous demands while others will never be happy in spite of the fact that you may have gone out of your way to please them. One of the keys to offering better customer service lies in understanding these differences that are inherent in people.
3. Motivate your staff
Of course, the entire thing can be rather complex. Perhaps your employees do not themselves feel that they have a stake in the business. They are just going through the motions. Did you know that up to 53% of Americans are not happy at their current workplace.
If you are an employer, how does it make you feel to know that your staff are only there because they have to be? They do not have much motivation. And they would rather be elsewhere. Given a chance, they will leave without even saying goodbye. Or they will say goodbye just to rub it in.
I am not exaggerating here. I have written a lot of articles on passive income. Truth is, people are on the hunt for ways through which to liberate themselves from the drudgery of their work lives.
So dissatisfied employees do not offer good customer service. At best, they will treat the customer indifferently. At worst, they will be rude, and you can kiss goodbye to recurrent business from that individual.
4. Communicate with your customers
Communication is the key to offering better customer service. But how do you communicate? In this day and age, there are seemingly countless communication channels. You can reach out to your customers face to face. That’s something that we have already spoken about. Teach your staff to foster better relations with your customers.
Most businesses will have Facebook Pages. I have previously written an article in which I talked about how to better run your Facebook business pages. You can use your page as an interactive tool with your customers.
Communication can also be through a Live Chat tool on your website. There are many such tools, and they can be instrumental in boosting your conversion rate. A few days ago, I published an article in which I spoke about using Facebook Live chat on an eCommerce site.
That’s even better because people will have access to your chats even on their Facebook profiles. That’s different from a chat on your site that gets lost the moment somebody leaves your page.
Communication can also be via online review platforms. You should always respond to online reviews. If it’s a positive review, then it’s a simple matter of thanking the customer. And if it’s a negative review, there are a number of things that you can do to turn it into a positive, as already mentioned at the top of this article.
5. Carry out Customer Surveys
The key to better customer service lies in understanding the customer. But how do you understand your customer? Well, you can start by carrying out surveys to get a pulse on what people are looking for. Get your customers to fill out surveys where possible.
In the world of eCommerce, you can have your customers give you feedback on checkout. This feedback can then be displayed on your website as customer reviews. Everything is intertwined. From online reviews comes better understanding of the customer. And better understanding fosters better Customer Service.
As an example, if people complain about shipping, then you can try and make improvements on that. If people complain about moody staff, then you can train your personnel to offer better service.
If people complain about hidden shipping costs, which is a major cause of abandoned carts by the way; you can try to be more transparent. Make sure that the checkout page displays all costs associated with the product.
6. Offer your customers incentives to stay put
Customer service is all about the customer. It’s not about you? But what’s the customer getting from relating with you? There are a number of things that you can do to foster the relationship between your brand and its customers. Building that relationship is one of the ways that you can use to get more sales and great reviews from your customers. You can offer the various incentives, including the following;
- Free shipping
- Gift cards
7. Turn customer complaints into a positive
Complaints are something that you are going to encounter as you do business. It’s inevitable. The mark of greatness is whether or not you are going to be able to turn those complaints into a positive. I have previously written on how to respond to negative reviews. I even have an article in which I give templates for responding to customer reviews. So, how do you turn customer complaints into a positive?
- Quickly respond to all reviews, both negative and positive.
- Teach your staff to be civil whenever responding to negative reviews.
- Offer to resolve the issue with the customer.
Summary: Can customer service get you more sales and better reviews?
That’s it! Hopefully, I have shown you how customer service can get you more sales and better reviews. Indeed, sales and reviews are linked to how well you treat your customers. The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that everyone on your staff is well trained to handle customers. They should understand that people are diverse. Your staff needs to be able to adjust to be able to handle different demands. Good reviews on platforms such as Yelp and Shopper Approved are a direct consequence of offering great service.