Customer service is like a “life support system” for any business. A business does all the hard work from market research to product manufacturing, from marketing to distribution. But, if a business has weaker customer support, it not only misses out on a strong competitive advantage, but it may backfire as well.
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What is Customer Service?
Customer service means the support a business provides to its customers that includes post and after-sales service. It can make it a lot easier for the customers and make their experience memorable with a business.
The true essence of the term customer service is to satisfy a customer at all fronts, but these practices have changed a lot. This vital business component has moved from simple telephone support service to emails, text messages, online portals such as websites, and social media presence. In fact, businesses are now offering self-support services where customers can help themselves without waiting for a customer service agent.
Providing quality services to its consumers is now a great way for businesses to build a competitive advantage. According to Gartner’s research, approximately 89% of firms or businesses now compete in the market with customer service as their stronghold. It is evident that it holds the utmost importance for any business.
Importance of Customer Service for your Business
High-quality customer service can work wonders for a business, and here is how:
A proven method to boost your revenue
Everything holds a specific place in a business’s success. However, a firm’s revenue is one of the most important benchmarks for determining how successful a business is. The monetary output must exceed the input for a business to survive and thrive.
Although it is difficult to directly correlate a business’s customer service and its impact on its revenue, still the facts can be very enticing. Stats say that almost 84% of companies saw a boost in their revenue when they focused on strengthening their customer service.
Customer satisfaction ensures business longevity
There is absolutely no chance for a business to survive, let alone succeed, without satisfied customers. Fundera stated that almost 20 percent of small businesses have to face failure during the first year of operations.
Moreover, 50 percent of these small businesses hardly take it to the fifth year. Reason? Unsatisfied customers lead to lesser sales, negative word of mouth marketing, and thus reducing the revenue.
Customer happiness strengthens the business reputation
A happy customer is a “walking marketer” of your business. It draws more sales that can boost your business’s growth. Ultimately, it attracts more investors, highly skilled employees, and of course, more customers.
It comes as no surprise that at least 69 percent of the happy customers recommend your services/products to others.
Positive customer experience spreads brand awareness.
Brand awareness is such a key element for a business to succeed. A business’s popularity itself is a great attraction for people. A happy customer will always spread positivity about your brand. You may be surprised to hear that 55 percent of customers actually choose a brand because of the company’s reputation.
Premium customer service can reduce the marketing expenses
Customer marketing is probably the cheapest or even a free method of marketing. Happy customers will market for your brand, and you may not have to spend hefty amounts on your marketing activities. Stats say 56 percent of happy customers recommend your brand to their family and friends or people around them. It is simply “free marketing.”
Types of Customer Service
Well, there are several modes of providing customer service, but here are some of the most common ones:
Phone Customer Service
Well, no matter how old it gets, it still pays off. In fact, most customers still prefer this option. Besides, it brings a lot of benefits with it, such as:
- Better assessment of customer’s emotion
- Response rate can be faster in contrast to written queries.
- It is easier to explain complex issues through verbal communication.
- Elders or seniors still prefer telephonic conversation.
Email Customer Service
The fact that, on average, 269 billion people communicate through emails on a daily basis is good enough to describe the importance of email customer service. Communicating through emails is a prevalent and old method. Companies consider email a primary channel for customer service, and here is why they do it:
- Customers can send an email anytime without any restriction of working hours.
- It is easier to keep a record of conversation/communication history.
- Repetitive queries can be answered through automated responses.
Modern-day businesses are now focusing on self-service so that customers have “everything” to use a product or service. For instance, companies provide tutorials, demos, documentation, instructional videos, online tools, webinars, etc. This can be very effective; for instance:
- It is 24/7 customer support.
- Repetitive queries can be answered readily.
- Customers with hearing or speaking disorders can find customer support easily.
Customer Service through FAQs
The FAQ is the abbreviation of “frequently asked questions.” Most of the time, customers have the same queries or issues. Therefore, rather than answering every customer individually, companies compile a list of those frequently asked questions and share the answers either on their websites, social media platforms or attach an instructional document with the product. It is a:
- 24/7 customer service.
- Cheaper customer support method.
- Reduces repetitive calls or emails.
Social media Customer Service
Social media customer service means offering support on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, WhatsApp, etc. Providing support through social media is not an option; it is a compulsion nowadays. There are billions of social media users, and a business without social media presence can miss out on thousands of opportunities. It is very effective in different ways, such as:
- Response to one query can solve things for many other users.
- Chatbots can answer the queries with pre-installed data/information.
- Instant and quick tool.
- It is often used as a live-chat.
On-site Customer Service
It is more of after-sale customer service. Companies provide it at customers’ homes or workplaces. Some common examples include installation service, consulting, teaching, repairs, and therapeutic services. On-site customer service offers:
- Face-to-face communication
- Convenience for customers because of on-site solutions.
Mandatory Customer Service Skills
It may look easier on the paper, but your customer service representative must be well equipped with mandatory skills and abilities such as:
Patience is a virtue and a must-have quality for customer service representatives. A business can have different types of customers, and not everybody is equally educated. That is why the representative must show patience while dealing with such clients because frustration from their side can frustrate a customer or a potential customer.
Of course, a customer contacts customer support when he/she is having difficulty with your product. Your customer service should show empathy that they are aware of the troubles a buyer is having. Not only are they aware, but they are also fully committed to providing a solution as soon as possible.
Listening to your customer attentively is extremely important for many reasons. For instance, it happens very often that a customer wants to know about something but cannot figure out the exact word or sentence for that. However, if you listen attentively, you may be able to find out what exactly your customer is looking for.
Crystal Clear Communication
Customer service is all about clarity in communication. Representatives should be very careful and precise with their words. A single word can create mass confusion. For instance, “free mobile oil change” generally means no charges for services. However, a customer may interpret it as “no charges for the mobile oil.”
Customer service representatives without product knowledge can be a disaster for the company. If you are a retailer and sell products of multiple brands, you must be aware of the policies of every brand. For instance, not every air-conditioner company offers a free installation service. If you sell air conditioners of different brands, you need to know the policies of every brand you are selling.
Customer Service Examples
A lot of companies not only exceed customer’s expectations with their products, but they exceed their expectations with their customer service as well.
Tesla- Serve your customers wherever they want
Tesla serves its customers in a different and unique way. They don’t ask their customers to visit their workshops for repair or maintenance; rather, they fix the problems at customer’s homes or workplaces.
According to Tesla’s policy, they try to facilitate their customers with multiple customer support options so that customers can contact them easily. The company believes in providing customer support wherever their customers want.
Adobe- Respond before complains
Adobe faced an outage when the company had some issues with Amazon Web Services. The company recognized the potential load of customer complaints and tweeted about the problem immediately. However, their tweet was not only apologetic, but it was distractive in a pleasing way as well. The video in the tweet had a cute puppy stampede, which communicated the message and calmed the users simultaneously.
Coca Cola- Promote social causes
Along with other methods of customer service, Coca-cola serves its customers in unique ways. Coca-cola is known for its charity work, and they don’t donate its funds to large organizations. Rather, they support locals. For instance, Coca-Cola’s “Thank you fund” in Ireland helps locals with innovative business ideas empowering young people. Moreover, the fund also helps foster sustainability as well. The “thank you fund” donates €100K annually, and that is why millennials get inspired by this act of charity.