The challenges facing small businesses are similar to any other — the difference is, they have to address them with smaller teams and fewer resources. They need to be creative in solving any emerging issues without compromising quality customer service. One of the main reasons some small businesses never reach their full potential is because they neglect customer service; whether you are a team of one or working with a small group, you should be using your time and resources wisely.
Here are six customer service tips for startup businesses to help them reach their goals.
The Importance of Customer Service for Startups
Retain customers: Acquiring new customers is far more costly than retaining existing ones. Some studies estimate that it is between 5 and 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain your existing ones. So working hard to deliver great customer service will save you money and effort in the long run.
Increase revenue: In a study from Khoros, 83% of clients stated that good customer service was the deciding factor in their purchase decision. Winning over your clients with top-notch customer service will guarantee you a loyal clientele base and more revenue in the future. That same Harvard study showed that people who have had a satisfactory experience with customer service would spend 140% more in comparison to those who had a bad one.
Build reputation: Word of mouth and online reviews affect customers’ decisions when choosing a business. Each excellent customer service experience will create a ripple effect, one where happy customers will share their positive experiences with friends, family, and online. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that satisfied customers will tell 4–6 people about their positive interaction with your business, while unhappy customers will share their dissatisfactory experience with 9–15 people.
Gain insights on new customers: When you listen to your customers' needs, problems, and concerns, you have gained invaluable insight into their decision-making process and online behavior. You can take tangible steps to fix any recurring issues, customize your service to meet their individual needs, and strategize to put that knowledge into action.
Don’t Worry About Scaling (Right Now)
Many small business owners are too concerned with scaling too soon, rushing to find the right process, programs, and technology to grow their operations — but there’s more to the story of exponential growth. Factors like great customer service can help support your overall scaling vision. Start by creating a happy and loyal customer base while finding the right systems for your operational needs right now.
Create Self-Service Content
There is nothing more irritating to your customers than trying to contact you and failing. When you have a system in place that provides existing and potential customers with the answers they need, you are guaranteed to save time and free up your schedule to focus on other important issues.
Get the Right Tools in Place
Choosing the right communication tools for your start-up business can make all the difference, and the best ones allow your customers to get in touch with you when they need to. An emerging tech solution is a chat tool that sends inquiries directly to your phone so you can answer your customers’ questions immediately.
Depending on their needs and strategy, many businesses choose to outsource their customer service — the market has come a long way from the days of the dusty call center. Answering service companies like A Better Answer can do even more than handle calls; they can schedule appointments, send reminders, and more.
Always Leave the Customer Happy
Offering a positive customer experience from the start will build a good reputation for your business, but the opposite is also true. According to Microsoft, 60% of customers stopped doing business with a brand because of a single negative interaction. As a small business owner, you should keep in mind that great customer service translates into more revenue.
Salesforce reports 91% of customers would make another purchase from a business based on the quality of their customer service experience. Leaving your customers happy will also mean they are more likely to forgive your business for any mistakes — 78% of customers said they would forgive a business based on a great service interaction.
Gather Customer Feedback
Customer feedback should be an integral part of any business' roadmap to success. It is a valuable tool that offers you insight into what you are doing right or wrong and how your customers are feeling and behaving. By gathering feedback, your team can analyze weaknesses, strengths and recurring issues. You can gain insight into customer behavior, guide your marketing campaigns, target upsell opportunities and get a sense of what adjustments need to be made in order to meet your goals.
Hire Optimal Help
Choosing the right people to join your small business is critical at the start. As the face of your brand, they can help or hurt your reputation. The hiring process should be thorough and include written tests and personal conversations to understand your candidates’ values and motivations.
As a small business, you also want to consider hiring candidates with multiple skill sets who can wear different hats and help you in different areas.
Offering the Best Customer Service
Despite your lack of resources as a small business, it’s crucial to focus your energy on growing your customer base by providing excellent customer service. Answering your customers' questions promptly and solving problems facing them will make a monumental impact on the growth and sustainability of your business.
There are many factors to consider when deciding between in-house customer service help or outsourcing. A Better Answer will guide you through the pros and cons of each option depending on your business needs and goals.
Read more about how we can help grow your small business.