How to Provide Outstanding Customer Support Without Killing Your Profits

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Customer Support & Profitability

Customer service is a critical and daily activity for many companies. Even if you aren’t interacting with your customers in a one-on-one capacity, maintaining good customer relationships is likely still the lifeblood of your business.

According to a Forbes study over 80% of businesses saw an increase in their revenue after they focused on improving their customer experience. But customer support can also be a major drain on resources without any direct ROI. So how do companies provide amazing customer service and maintain healthy profit margins?

In this article, we’ll break down seven tried and true strategies to deliver a great customer experience while simultaneously increasing your profitability.

#1 – Provide Your Customer a Good Knowledge Base so they can Help Themselves

The relationship between a consumer and your brand does not end when users purchase your product or service. In many cases, this is where the relationship begins and companies need to be available nearly 24/7 for customers.

Without damaging the profits, the safest way to provide high-quality customer service is by putting a cap on direct customer contact.
You can enable a strong customer relationship by building a helpful and easily accessible knowledge base. Doing so also helps in creating a positive customer experience. This way, you can answer their questions before they even ask.

Also, when your clients are busy seeking answers for themselves, questions that are not answered on the website’s knowledge base can be attended to by your customer service team.

According to Freshdesk, over 65% of customers prefer to use self-service tools over a human service and over 90% of respondents claimed to happily use a customer base if easily available.

The eCommerce giant, Amazon has created one of the best knowledge base centers and answers the most frequent requests that it receives from its customers. It has created separate categories for all the services and provides step-by-step tutorials.

Your customer might need your help anytime and you shouldn’t work 24/7. However, if your knowledge base is helpful enough, customers looking for help, even at untimely hours, can get what they want.

An easily accessible knowledge base can enhance your understanding of customers and give them a user-friendly experience. A simple but effective knowledge base is the secret to retaining your customer without compromising your profits!

Amazon Knowledge Base
Source: Amazon.com

#2 – Create and Maintain SLAs (Service Legal Agreement)

You might not be familiar with SLA’s. An SLA or Service Legal Agreement is a service-related document that agrees on many duties and responsibilities.

Simply put, SLA is a level of service that you expect from someone, agree on it, and make decisions if that level of service is not achieved.

How can SLAs help you in customer support?

Depending on each inquiry and priority, you can build simple SLAs that talk about your customer team’s response time. You can not only set the customer service team’s goals but also ensure the time it takes to handle an inquiry.

The greatest benefit of getting an SLA is that the people involved in customer service can’t plead ignorance in the case of a service problem. If there is a big bug in the customer service department that results in lower sales, to make it noticeable, you will have the system in place.

You’ll have to develop specific and measurable standards for the team for this. SLAs can help you organize customer expectations and solve various service issues.

#3 – Integrate Upsell and Cross-Sell into Customer Service

One way to increase your profits is by increasing your sales. Increasing sales is not the priority of the sales or marketing department, instead, every department should share this common objective.

The customer support team has a lot of potential when it comes to making a clear impact on sales. Since they’re already engaged with customers and interact with them one on one, they can help increase sales in two ways:

Upselling – Upselling is generally adopted by companies that offer subscription products like SaaS. It is a process in which customers are induced to buy a higher subscription of membership.

Cross-selling – In cross-selling, the sales team sells additional products or services to the customers that would work as a complementary product to their existing purchase.

By adding these to the sales funnel strategies, you can find new ways to sell your products to buyers. To ensure that the funnel operates smoothly, you can involve your customer service team in your sales funnel software so they are constantly in touch with the customers. This will help you save valuable time, leading to a better conversion rate.

Here are some of the best ways to integrate customer service strategies for your sales funnel:

When your support team is sure the client is happy and you can trigger an offer for upselling or cross-sell. Customers love discounts!

The customer team is great at identifying the unmet needs of the customer. So they’re the best to know what to offer and when to offer it to your customers.

To implement this strategy with optimum results, you can also incentivize your customer service representatives for the cross-sells and upsells they achieve. Make it a win-win situation.

#4 – Create a Social Support Team

Customers are relying on social media to find an answer to their problems. According to Social Media Today, over 65% of consumers use social media to seek answers for their problems.

Social media for businesses has already proved to be quite fruitful but it can also be used to handle customer complaints and concerns. It will give your customers the belief that you are committed to keeping them pleased. Also, clients spend up to 40 percent on the brand that engages and reacts on social media to customer service queries.

Although most of the brands have established their social media presence, we’ll advise you to use a dedicated support team to handle customer queries on social media.

There are plenty of ways to provide the best social customer experience through social media and some of them are listed below:

  • Make sure you reach your customers on the platforms they use the most.
  • Try to use social media channels to build a relationship with your customers. Make it an open and flexible relationship that won’t stop them from asking questions.
  • Be responsive to every customer and deliver effective service.

When offering this kind of customer service, one of the greatest problems you will face is that customers might leave negative comments. Your credibility may be at stake because these comments are public.

Try to redirect these public comments to private conversations. Another great way to handle negative comments is to acknowledge them and give an assurance of providing a solution to the query. This ensures your audience retains their trust in your customer service experience.

Biggest fashion brands like Nike not only excel as marketers but are great at handling their customers. In this tweet, you can see how a customer mentions the main Nike account to post a problem but the Nike Service account directly handles the problem by quickly replying to them. Now that’s what we call smart customer support!

Twitter Customer Support
Source: Twitter.com

#5 – Utilize Referrals with Customer Support

Your customer support team is on the front line for building trust and loyalty among your customers. The team has the potential to exceed customer expectations, subsequently increasing sales.

Since customers tend to recommend the good qualities of a brand to someone they know, you can use the existing relationship of the customer support team and customers to establish referrals.

When a customer is happy with your services, you can ask them for opportunities for additional businesses in exchange for certain incentives. These incentives will induce your customers to refer your brand to others. This process is known as referral marketing.

According to DCR Strategies, word-of-mouth still plays the primary factor for up to 70% of decisions. As compared to the other forms of marketing, over 90% trust recommendations when it comes from their friends or families. Referral marketing helps you in creating a positive feedback loop that helps in generating more and more customers.

All you’ve to do is ask your customer service team to make your audience aware of the referral program. Make sure you provide this important piece of information after you’ve gained your customer’s trust.

Uber has one of the best referral programs that gained a lot of customers. Their ride-share app provides a new customer with a personalized code. Every time someone uses this personalized code to activate their account, both the users get their rides free.

Referral marketing is a great tool for increasing your customer base, and your customer service team is the best to promote it to your customers.

#6 – Integrate Live Chat in your Customer Support Efforts!

A lot of businesses have already realized the reasons to invest in live chat and the trend will continue to rise in the coming days. According to Econsultancy, live chat offers a satisfaction level of 73% as compared to 61% offered by email and over 40% offered by phone call.

As far as the revenue is concerned, live chat runs the market in that too. A recent Harvard Business School report shows that live chat can increase the customer retention rate by up to 5% and revenue by up to 95%.

Live chat allows customers to instantly solve their problems. They have a faster response time over social media and email. Also, a customer can multi-talk while having a conversation over the chat. Moreover, live chat is particularly effective when running a remote support team.

The rapid rise of online shopping has led to a significant rise in eCommerce tools. While you need plenty of tools such as marketing and inventory tools, you should also use live chat tools for your business. This will help in boosting your conversion rate.

According to WittySparks, 40% of people are more likely to buy from a website repeatedly if they support live chat as compared to just 22% of those who don’t. Moreover, 28% of customers will fill their carts more than twice a week.

Isn’t that number worth your attention?

Live chats work just as Amazon reviews impact sales, it is a great tool to build trust. People are hesitant to buy a product if there’s no support for it but if someone guides, it can build trust among the customers. Both lead to an increase in the sale and are one of the most effective forms of marketing.

Live chat has become a primary source of customer support especially for eCommerce platforms and product-based businesses. Even if you are involved in services, utilize this tool to level up your customer service.

If you’re new to integrating live chat in your business, we’ve got a few pieces of advice for you:

  • Keep the live chat support as personalized as possible.
  • When a customer spends too much time on a product page, set an automatic chat pop-up.
  • Provide them with useful information to help them initiate the purchase.

#7 – Embrace the Power of Reciprocity

We’ve already discussed the importance of customer retention and how it can help your brand increase its profits. Acquiring a new customer is 5 times more expensive than retaining a new customer. Oracle reports over 30% of customers don’t buy from a brand after having just one bad experience.

This is where you can take the advantage of reciprocity.

Reciprocity is a mechanism in which two individuals help each other with something mutually beneficial. As straightforward as it sounds, incorporating it in their customer service approach is equally advantageous for organizations.

The power of reciprocity can help you deepen your relationship with your customers.

  • Offer something first to the customers to make them feel special. They feel obligated to return the favor.
  • Make the experience memorable. Try giving free samples to the customers.
  • Don’t let the process of reciprocity end after a single transaction. You’ve to keep this relationship going again and again.

Copyblogger, known for providing content marketing tools and resources, sets a tremendous example of reciprocity services. They offer a wide variety of free content to their customers such as articles, e-blogs, and seminars. They also offer free training to learn about content marketing strategies.

Copyblogger Content Creator
Source: Copyblogger.com

When you give your customers something extra than what they expect, you create a delightful experience for them that stays with them. It results in better-connected customers, more sales, and more revenue.

Takeaway

There are many solutions to satisfy your customers and manage your revenue.

We hope you can maximize your income by using these 7 ways of providing outstanding customer support.

Although many individuals think of customer service simply as a department to keep their clients satisfied, it can be used to maximize profits as a secret weapon.

If done rightly, customer support does pay off and won’t break the bank!

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