The following post comes to us from Keith Coppersmith, an experienced business consultant who servers small businesses and startups.
How to Master Customer Support for your Small Business
Did you know that 51% of customers stop doing business after just one negative experience? Research further shows that businesses lose over $62 billion every year on poor customer service.
Precisely because of that, wise small business owners don’t look at great customer support as a cost. For them, this is a chance to increase sales and boost brand loyalty.
Now, when it comes to providing spotless customer support, there is always room for improvement. Here are a few great tactics that will help you take your customer relationships to the next level.
Don’t Overcomplicate Customer Conversations
Providing customer support is not an opportunity for you to showcase your impressive industry knowledge. When reaching out to you, a customer expects to get a specific answer that solves their problem.
Using overly complex technical jargon may cause miscommunication issues and hurt user experience. It may even seem as if you yourself don’t know the answer to the question. To keep your customers happy, you need to speak their language. Simple and effective explanations will boost their satisfaction and motivate them to buy from you again.
Help your Customers Make Payments Faster
The flexibility of your services can get you a long way. Let’s take an example of invoicing, as this is one of the major problems businesses face. Stats say that 64% of businesses have unpaid invoices that have gone unpaid for at least 60 days.
Sure, in the short term, you need to find the right financing method to boost your bottom line. For example, you can improve cash flow with invoice finance. This financing option brings numerous benefits to small businesses and startups. First, invoice finance firms usually pay businesses about 80% of the total sum within 48 hours, meaning you’ll get your money fast. Second, unlike with bank loans, there are no high-interest rates. Finally, invoicing doesn’t hurt user experience and helps you maintain stronger client relationships.
Sure, these are all short-term solutions. To boost your cash flow in the long run, you need to manage your late payments strategically. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your customer support:
- Offer multiple payment options to boost their buying experience and encourage them to buy from you.
- B2B businesses should also have a billing policy, where they would clearly state when and how you want to get paid and how you will handle late payments.
- Send invoices on time to get customers to take them seriously.
- Automate your rebilling process. With the help of the right software, your customers will be able to track their payments directly from an app, get informed about any failed payments, and get actionable tips to solve these problems faster.
Answer Customer Questions in Real-Time
The demands of a modern customer have changed. They now use multiple channels to communicate with brands. Unsurprisingly, they expect businesses to use these channels, too. Research says most customers expect to get an answer within 2 hours, while 84% of them don’t want to wait longer than a day.
Precisely because of that, you need to need to provide multichannel customer services. Update your contact information on your site regularly and get listed on all major business directories. You should also provide your email address, links to social media support profiles, and live chats. Multichannel communication increases user satisfaction and helps them resolve the problem faster.
Leverage the Power of Social Networks
Many brands have started seeing the value of social networks in building customer relationships. First, you can use AI-powered software like chatbots to provide customers with timely and relevant answers. Today’s chatbots are smart and they’re constantly learning from customer interactions to understand their intent and give relevant feedback.
You can also use social monitoring tools to track your brand/product mentions on social networks and participate in customers’ conversations instantly. These tools give you a great opportunity to identify customers experiencing problems with your products, help them fix these problems effectively, and turn them into brand advocates.
Collect Customer Feedback Regularly
There are numerous metrics you can track to assess your small business’ performance. And, one of the most important ones is customer satisfaction. You need to understand how your customers feel about your brand, what they like, appreciate, or hate about it.
Collecting customer feedback is one of the most significant aspects of customer support, given that 91% of unhappy customers won’t complain about poor experiences with your brand. They will simply leave you for your competitors.
There are numerous ways to do gather user feedback. I’ve already mentioned the importance of social listening and AI-powered chatbots. These tools let you see what questions your customers usually ask and what problems they experience.
You could also create a dedicated feedback form on your website and even reach out to a customer that abandoned the shopping cart. Live chat support can also be effective. Once a customer support agent helps a customer, they can send them feedback. Finally, you can always call a customer and ask them for their opinions directly.
Over to You
With the rise of sophisticated customer relationship management tools, providing subpar customer services are not acceptable anymore. You need to provide timely customer support, answer customer feedback professionally, and customize your customer services. This way, you will build stronger customer relationships and increase brand loyalty.
About the Author: Keith Coppersmith is an Adelaide based business consultant with a degree in Media Management. With experience in numerous small businesses and startups, he enjoys giving advice on all things marketing.