High-quality customer service is essential to growing your brand and setting your company apart from the competition. When a customer has a bad experience, you can be sure their friends, families and colleagues will know about it faster than ever thanks to the internet. Customer service is the human face, or voice, of your brand so make the first interaction a positive one.
Customer service is dangerous to undervalue, because bad experiences can ruin brands, sometimes in irrecoverable ways. So before you cut costs by cutting through the customer service budget, think about these ways that the quality of customer service affects the value of your brand.
1. It’s how you’re remembered.
Customers tend to remember their poor customer service experiences more than their positive ones, meaning a bad image is harder to shift. Ruby Newell-Legner, author of Understanding Customers, asserts that 12 positive experiences are necessary to make up for just one unresolved negative one. So aim to get it right the first time.
2. It’s a statement about your business.
Your customer service reflects on your entire business. People assume that if your customer service is good or bad then your product or service is too. As a business owner, you should adopt the same attitude, devoting time and money to your support team just as you would your product or sales. Lowe’s home improvement store makes sure employees are everywhere and eager to help. More than just pointing customers in the right direction, Lowe’s employees are knowledgeable in all aspects of home improvement and can provide personalized tips for customers. The company has repeatedly won awards for its top customer service and satisfaction.
3. Make it easy on the customer.
If you reduce the effort it takes for customers to get in touch with you, you’re simultaneously making it easier for them to purchase from you. Add contact forms on your site and customer service tools in your app. Provide an FAQ page. Don’t make your phone number impossible to find. Place interaction opportunity directly into their hands and you’ll ultimately guide them from interaction to purchase.
4. It’s a profitable marketing strategy.
Word-of-mouth is the holy grail of marketing. When your customers speak favorably and widely about your business, they are doing more for your brand than any advertising can do. Promote your company’s customer satisfaction standards by using customer testimonials and happiness ratings to show just how much you do for your client base. If you can get customers to sing your praises of their free will, you’ve hit the jackpot.
5. Your competitors are always watching.
Undervaluing customer service is a risky strategy because there’s always a competitor who’s doing the opposite. An American Express survey found that a staggering 78% of consumers have backed out of a transaction or failed to make an intended purchase because of sub-par customer service. If you don’t have the tools in place to make doing business with your business easy, customers will quickly find an alternative.
6. It directly affects retention.
Keeping hold of current customers costs considerably less than attracting new ones. Retention matters—big time. On average, loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase, but that worth won’t pan out unless you prioritize customer success. An experienced client who sticks with you means reduced efforts for you in the long run.
For these reasons, you should consider customer service an important part of your training and budget. It’s a vital part of your branding efforts. Your customer service representatives are the face of your brand that buyers interact with, so they need to be the best!