Plenty of companies put their ideas and products first when it comes to driving innovation, prioritizing operations and striving for constant improvement. This growth-focused mindset is laudable, but enterprises that take this to an extreme, and generate items in a vacuum, are forgetting the reason they got into business in the first place: to improve or enrich lives.
Customer service is a major factor that sets apart companies with a humanistic approach from those without. Let’s look at the benefits of treating it not as an afterthought or as insurance against disgruntled customers, but as a central pillar of your brand or organization.
1. Inspires repeat customers
First and most importantly, committing to top-shelf customer service produces repeat customers. There’s more going on than just convenience and inertia when people shop at the same places or come to the same people time and again. It’s because the experience they had was above-average or stellar. Even more than the product itself, people connect with companies based on the quality of the personal connection they’ve forged—as well as tone.
Let’s get an idea of what’s up for grabs here. According to research compiled by HubSpot, as many as 93 percent of customers are likely to buy from the same company again if the customer service they receive there is “excellent.” Clearly, kindness, patience and respect go a long way.
2. Leads to higher profits
You can admit it — this is the reason you were really thinking of. Higher profits are a logical extension of repeat customers.
Based on 2016 research from Accenture, American companies forfeit upwards of $1.6 trillion every year due to customers seeking competitors because of a bad customer service interaction. It’s not like that money is just up and vanishing — it’s simply going to somebody who isn’t you.
We said before that every company needs to begin with a great idea and the ability to nurture new ones. That’s a great way to start a business, but if you want to keep it going, you need to make exemplary customer experiences one of your central values from the very first day.
3. Helps build communication channels
Maybe this is hard to believe, but the average company hears from just four percent of its disgruntled customers. That means there may be many more people out there than you realize who experienced subpar service, communication or timeliness—they just didn’t tell anyone about it.
Taking quality customer service seriously, and as a point of pride for your brand, isn’t just the key to more business and greater profitability. It’s also an opportunity to reconsider how your company communicates with itself and with your audience.
Brands with a strong commitment to customer knowledge and engagement make it easy for salespeople and other employees to access training materials, product specifications and the different learning resources they need to answer customer requests and solve problems. These brands may also be more likely to communicate clearly and transparently about employee roles, company values and goals, and long-term strategies.
Consider other communication channels, too—like surveys, questionnaires and social media engagement, for new and long-term customers alike. By doing so, you can better understand what’s working and what’s not, and gather insights to fuel your next round of product or service rollouts.
4. Reduces costs or levels the playing field
There are several technologies available for companies that want to revamp how they approach customer service.
For instance, chatbots are always-available digital assistants that can answer questions from customers at any step in the sales funnel, help existing clients easily check up on the status of their order or account, and place new orders or make service changes. There will always be a place for human customer service and sales representatives, but chatbots can take on some of the busywork, answer common questions, and help with inquiries after-hours.
Think of it as a way to bifurcate your high-priority service requests, where humans excel, and your lower-level service interactions that don’t need to take your salespeople or service representatives away from their other work.
Companies could save money thanks to not needing to retain answering services anymore — and also recoup on sales that might’ve been lost otherwise, since chatbots can answer customer inquiries after-hours. If they can avoid the frustration of a busy signal when they want to ask a question about a product they’ve got their eye on, customers are far more likely to follow through on that purchase.
IBM says chatbots could save companies up to 30 percent on their customer service costs. Even if that doesn’t end up being the case for your company, higher-quality customer service can still help level the playing field.
5. Quality customer service makes a difference
In a world where everybody’s racing everybody else to the bottom of the barrel price-wise, companies that can’t afford to undercut their rivals can still outsell them. It’s all thanks to attentive and proactive customer service.
(Featured image by DepositPhotos)
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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