Customer service has evolved substantially over the course of the last ten years. Customers now have more expectations for businesses than ever–they want to interact with businesses that are present, responsive and ready to work with them to help address their pain points and achieve their goals. In many cases, consumers typically form an opinion of your business before they ever think about purchasing your product. They expect responsiveness on social media, an easy-to-navigate website and a personalized experience, at the very least.
With these expectations, the reality is that failing to offer high-quality customer service will cause your brand to start to fall behind. Consumers who do not have a great experience with your brand will share their stories, and often share them both quickly and to their network and beyond. Customer service needs to be your #1 business priority–and with good reason.
Reason #1: Customers will pay more for a great customer service experience.
68% of customers, in fact, are willing to pay more for a product or solution that comes with a great customer service experience.
Customers don’t want to interact with brands that just deliver base products and services. They want to know that you’re taking care of them, you care about their needs, you understand their pain points and that you will go the extra mile for them.
They also want the confidence that comes from knowing your brand will stand behind its product. If something goes wrong once your customers have already purchased your product, what are you going to do about it? Will you support them and provide options, or will they get stuck having to deal with a complicated mess? Your best-in-class customer service lets consumers know they can count on your brand.
Reason #2: When you offer a great experience, customers are more likely to stick with your business if they experience a bump in the road.
Most customers understand that sometimes, things just don’t go according to plan: a product doesn’t work as anticipated, the software experiences a glitch, or there is a miscommunication about onboarding and implementation.
What your customers care about, however, is what you’re going to do about it.
If you address the problem quickly, deal with it head-on and provide solutions, consumers are more likely to stick with your business in spite of what went wrong in the first place. A streamlined onboarding process, for example, will make it easy for customers to get acclimated with your product. On the other hand, if you have a complex onboarding system or none at all, customers will not come back to your business for future needs.
Reason #3: It’s typically cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to bring in a new one.
Most of the time, it costs less to keep your existing customers–through excellent customer service and a genuine connection–than it does to bring in new ones. Customer acquisition cost varies by industry, as does the cost to keep a customer happy; however, most businesses find that it costs less to make things right for a customer than it does to bring in a new one, to compensate for churn.
Imagine, for example, a restaurant. One day, the cook is off his game. You deliver a plate to a regular that tastes nothing like she expected: over-salted, undercooked, and unacceptable. The manager has several options for how to deal with this. If he brushes it off, she may not return to the store. On the other hand, if he provides her with a great experience–comping the cost of her meal, offering a free desert, and/or providing coupons for the next visit, for example–it could be a relatively low-cost way to make that customer happy and keep her coming back in the future. Likewise, if the diner had a great experience with her server, she may be willing to overlook a single lower-quality meal.
Over time, as that customer continues coming to the restaurant, she will continue to increase in value to your business. On the other hand, if she chooses not to return, it may cost far more to bring in a customer with the same level of loyalty.
Reason #4: Customers talk.
Today’s customers have a wide reach. Not only can they connect with their immediate friends and family–including a wider reach to those individuals than ever before, thanks to the ready availability of social media–they can share their experience with your business with countless others at the press of a button. A negative review, often the result of a poor customer service experience, can cause other potential customers to look elsewhere for their needs. A positive review, on the other hand, is more likely to bring an increase in business to your doors. 76% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust an in-person review from friends and family members–which makes it more important than ever that you provide an exceptional customer service experience for your customers.
Reason #5: Excellent customer service grows customer lifetime value.
Not only does excellent customer service increase the odds that a customer will stick with your business, naturally increasing their value over time, it may increase the value of the purchases they will make from your business or the frequency with which they will purchase from your business.
Imagine that your online store offers a wide variety of items. Some of those items, customers have a hard time getting anywhere else. Others can purchase from anyone. When you offer a great customer service experience, consumers will be more likely to choose to purchase from you, rather than looking elsewhere for those items. On the other hand, if you offer a poor customer service experience, customers will be less likely to trust recommendations and communications from your business.
A great customer service experience can also encourage add-on purchases, further raising the value of each customer to your business. A customer that has a great experience with your business will be more likely to follow you on social media, check out the products you have to offer, and choose to make additional purchases–even if they didn’t necessarily set out to buy that product.
Are you offering a great customer service experience to your customers? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make the most of your customer interactions.