Every small business owner will tell you they care deeply about customer service, and rightly so. Many of them go as far as swearing it’s their top priority, but how many actually back up their words with actions?
While it’s always been a critical component of successful businesses, in today’s fast-paced, social media-driven world, customer service is perhaps more important than ever before. If a customer has a poor experience with your brand, for example, he or she can simply take to Twitter to vocalize grievances.
And who knows? If those grievances are somewhat well-founded, it could only be a matter of time before your brand goes viral—and for the wrong purposes.
For that reason, and many others, it is imperative that your small business never loses sight of its most important mission: to make sure its customers are enthusiastically satisfied as much is humanly possible.
Consider the following statistics:
While loyal customers may only account for 15 percent of your customer base, they can be responsible for as much of 70 percent of the revenue you generate.
A vast majority of customers are willing to pay up to 25 percent more for a product or service if it’s coupled with fantastic customer service.
Nearly 90 percent of customers stop doing business with a brand following a poor experience.
Customers are twice as likely to share their bad experiences as they are to talk about positive ones.
When there’s a problem with service, customers are four times as likely to pursue a substitute compared to when there’s a problem with the product itself—or even its price.
It costs seven times more to onboard a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one.
With these numbers in mind, how can anyone argue against the virtues of delivering superior customer service?
Don’t become comfortable with your customer service!
No matter how happy you are with your team’s customer service efforts, you should almost never become completely satisfied with them. Instead, you should keep customer service top of mind at all times, constantly devising ways for how you could make customers happier and provide even more value.
Some of those improvements could be made on the operational level. For example, you could implement a customer loyalty program that rewards clients for finalizing 10 different transactions. Or you could offer discounted subscriptions every month your small business celebrates a birthday.
Other improvements can come in the form of making use of new products and services specifically designed to improve the relationships you have with your customers.
For example, you could deploy a cutting-edge contact center solution to provide clients access to a multi-channel customer service portal—letting them choose the time and medium that work best for them to solve their problems.
Or if you find yourself dealing with customers who constantly pay late—with net 30 routinely becoming net 60, net 90, or even worse—rather than badgering them about where their checks are, you can use an invoice financing service like Fundbox to gain access to the cash you’re owed.
For a small fee, Fundbox advances payments on outstanding invoices. When you use Fundbox, you won’t have to bother your customers about late payments anymore. Instead, you’ll rest comfortably knowing the cash you need is always a tap of the finger or a click of the mouse away.
Since you won’t have to continue following up with your customers asking for payments, you’ll develop stronger relationships with them: Nobody likes being pressed about money, especially when they’re waiting for their customers to pay.
You have to think about investments in customer service as investments in your bottom line. Your loyal customers have the spending power to make or break you, so it’s in your best interest to keep them as happy as you can.
When you neglect customer service, bad things can happen—and thanks to the power of social media, it only takes one rightfully disgruntled customer to give your small business a PR nightmare that’s easily avoidable. The best thing you can do is to constantly consider how you can better serve your customers. Your staff, clients, community, and wallet will thank you.