Delivering superior customer service is crucial for every brand, but especially for small businesses and new ventures just entering the market. You can have the highest-quality professional service or the best-fitting hiking shoe, but if you don’t have a knowledgeable, consumer-focused support team, you shouldn’t expect to thrive in a competitive marketplace.
People won’t remember how comfortable those shoes are if they can’t get a straight answer from the customer service rep about how to return the footwear for a different size, but they will share about how bad the customer rep experience was. And these days that means telling not just friends and family, but all their social media followers—which could amount to thousands or tens of thousands of people.
Customer service is more complex than knowing what to say when a customer (or potential customer) contacts the help line. Service center employees must consider perception, opinion, cultural influences, and emotions. Responsive representatives know what to say, how to say it, and when to turn the conversation over to higher-up management.
How Can Better Customer Service Improve Conversion Rates?
Two words: pursue excellence. Recognize that every contact, positive and negative, is an opportunity to build relationships. Studies suggest that 25% of all customers are considering leaving their current brand for another company. In an article written for HubSpot, Tony Alessandra says that all encounters fall into one of three basic categories: Moments of Magic (highly-positive), Moments of Misery (frustrating, annoying and irritating), and Moments of Mediocrity (average, neither positive or negative).
Improving conversion rates simply means increasing the percentage of potential customers who take a specific action that benefits you, the most basic of which is to make a sale. And you can do this by making sure that your team shoots for Moments of Magic every time, with the primary goal being to make callers happy that they contacted your firm with an inquiry or problem. Even complaints should be embraced as opportunities to build better relationships and generate new sales.
3 Tips to Improve Customer Service Now
- Make it easy for everyone to reach your brand. Build a website that is attractive and functional and partner with a web hosting service that has near perfect uptime ratings. Optimize your platform for mobile consumers so that you rank high in the search. Provide multiple contact methods, one-click online inquiry, live interactive Periscope Q&A events, telephone numbers, mailing address, and social media and blog comment capabilities.
- Be responsive. Making it easy to reach out to your brand is only half of the recipe for success. Your small business customers expect a timely response, so monitor your social media platforms and respond to comments as quickly as possible. Utilize alerts so your team receives a text or email every time a comment posts on social media or an online inquiry hits the inbox. Survey your customers after each service encounter to find out if you are creating “magic moments” or you are merely frustrating them.
- Train, equip and support your team. Consumers don’t want a robotic, overly-scripted agent on the phone when they have a question or complaint, and nor do they want someone whose go-to answer is “I don’t know.” You must train your staff to respond to your customers with empathy and understanding. Using the caller’s name creates a personal connection, avoiding negative words promotes positive expectations, and reassuring the caller that they will get to the bottom of the issue ensures satisfaction (and relief!).
Knowledgeable representatives know industry-specific terminology and know how to figure out what the caller is describing even if he isn’t aware of the proper term for “that little bracket thingy that fell off.” Well-trained employees better serve and educate consumers about how to use your products, and well-informed consumers make better buying decisions, which leads to brand advocates and repeat sales.
Know What Customers Expect From You
This list from Forbes of ten things customers expect (like money-back guarantees on everything, no shipping or hidden fees, and omnichannel integration) highlights the importance of getting customer service right—every time. If you want to build a better reputation and boost conversion rates, follow the example of e-tailers that excel in customer service, like Amazon.
Yes, Amazon is an online retail giant now, but they didn’t start out that way and without top-notch customer service (among other things) they never would have realized such success. Amazon offers free shipping (standard or with Prime Service, which is an add-on revenue stream) and a variety of affordable paid shipping services. They work hard to make sure their content is accurate and error free, and they guarantee returns. Incorporate these essentials into your customer service plan and, if possible, take it up a notch by offering extended call center hours and bilingual support staff.
Reaping the Benefits
The Internet empowers consumers to voice their approval (or disapproval) for the brands they encounter every day. When you pursue excellence in customer service, you position yourself to excel in the marketplace. Engage your audience on social media, invite your followers to a live Periscope event, conduct surveys along the consumer’s buying journey to gain insights into what your company is doing right and where you can make changes to improve the experience. Whether you use a suggestion box on your website, encourage online reviews, conduct exit polls or monitor social media platforms to gather feedback—listen. Social proof always increases conversion rate potential.
When you operate a transparent company that focuses on creating “magic moments” for your customers, they will share their experiences, expanding your reach and driving higher conversion rates. Give your customers what they need and expect, and then go one step further.
After you build a fully-functioning website and put these tips into action to get your business on the path toward achieving superior customer service, contact Bluehost to discuss web hosting services that will make sure your online customers can reach you from anywhere, anytime, on any device.