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In today’s highly competitive business environment, getting customers is considered much easier than retaining them. To enhance customer loyalty and ensure that your client pool patronizes your product or offering again, having efficient customer service is non-negotiable.
Yet, with your overflowing calendar and a to-do list that seems to go on and on without ending, buffing up your customer service might be a peripheral concern to you. When you’re in the process of growing a business, doing things by yourself seems like the most natural thing in the world. You can cut costs while having control over processes still being strengthened.
Trust me, doing so would be a mistake. Neglecting to secure a good customer service function for your small business because you belittle its importance can have disastrous consequences.
I’m here to tell you why you need to hire a customer service virtual assistant to create leaps and bounds in customer satisfaction and loyalty, and eventually your overall bottom line.
Customer service is the beating heart of a business
Doing business is not the same as it was ten years ago. One of the main issues that businesses face is how to cope with increasing customer expectations. Businesses are under pressure to cater to customers and make explanations upon demand. With the proliferation of social media, once a negative review comes out, the phrase “word of mouth” proceeds in a much-accelerated scale.
Never have we seen such empowered consumers in history as we have today. When your business offers great customer experience, you drive customer loyalty and therefore revenue. Leading scholars suggest that companies who offer great customer experience are likely to boost their revenues by 17% within five years, while those that offer poor customer experience can only go as high as 3% within the same time frame.
Therefore, don’t underestimate the value of customer experience for your business. You need to invest in ensuring great customer experience now.
Why, you ask? We consulted several expert opinions on the subject and here are the key takeaways of our research:
- Enhances customer satisfaction
If you’re a customer, there is no better feeling in the world than being convinced you got your money’s worth. Given the high expectations that customers now have, companies must exceed the expectations by guaranteeing excellent quality of service or product.
Around the world, consultants peg the average customer satisfaction rate of existing businesses at 86%. If you want to surpass this average, customer experience is key to achieving it. To be able to ensure happy customers, brands need to be reliable, accurate, and not only deliver the service promised but also treat customers with a personal touch.
Think of customer experience as an ingredient that completes the recipe for a totally satisfied customer. If you have a totally satisfied customer, he/she will contribute 2.6 times as much earnings for your company as a “somewhat” satisfied customer, and 14 times as much someone who was “somewhat dissatisfied” with the service.
Your primary objective should be creating a customer experience consistently and being extra with meeting customer standards. When you have your vision locked on providing an excellent customer journey all throughout, you create a positive experience for the customer that will be rewarded by their loyalty.
- Transforms patronage into loyalty
We now live in an experience economy. Purchasers not only seek the utility of a certain product but how it fares as an experience. Creating a positive experience for your customers lead to a good impression that can increase the chances of them patronizing your service again.
While acquiring new customers is certainly more costly than retaining an existing now, investing in the clients you already have is more sustainable. Ensuring that the customers are happy and well taken cared of in more ways than one requires that their questions are answered and their problems resolved.
While it is ideal to always get positive feedback about your business, the reality is that you almost always never can. However, great customer service can enhance your brand reputation by responding to complaints proactively and with due respect to the customer. How you respond to unhappy or complaining customers is indicative of how your reputation will be weighed in the future.
It is thus important to respond with tact, politeness, accuracy and authenticity. Show you care about them by not being dismissive on their concerns and being open to taking them through the issue until it is resolved.
And how’s this for a surprising fact? Actually, 95% of people who perceived having a bad experience with a product reported giving the brand another try as long as they were satisfied that their issue was addressed correctly.
- Builds customer advocacy
Many business consultants recommend small business owners to hire brand ambassadors for their marketing campaign. As a result, businesses shell out tends of thousands of dollars annually to get a brand ambassador to advocate for their service or product. When someone influential vouches for a brand, it’s quite a convincing marketing pitch.
It is true that for small business owners, word of mouth and referrals are the best way to get the message across a wider net of potential customers. Advertising is passé. People are starting to lean towards authenticity and third-party validation to convince them that the product can indeed deliver its promise.
This makes existing clients the best brand ambassadors you can have. If you convert satisfied customers to loyal customers, you make them your own brand advocate. Not only will this be less expensive than hiring a brand ambassador, it makes your marketing campaign more believable as well.
- Differentiate yourself
In a world where many businesses are competing for market shares, it is doubly difficult to get product differentiation. What sets you apart from the rest? When everyone seems to be doing the same time, a great customer service will make customers remember.
Dell executive Jerry Gregoire said that, “The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” Evidently, the real competition is not the price or the product quality, but the experience the customer gets out of the product.
This focus on customer experience has made the customer feedbacking system a stable in today’s business. As a decision-making tool, customer reviews allow customers to access people’s experiences and have a feel of what it’s like before deciding on whether to purchase. In these reviews, 88% of customers evaluate the kind of customer experience a brand has.
Improving your customer experience requires embracing a customer-centric strategy.
- Creates a personal relationship
As our existence becomes continually barraged by brands and advertisements, each day, finding a way to get personal with customers seems unlikely. The keyword here really is to “get personal.” Customers expect a personalized touch in the service and experience they receive from you. Customer service allows you to touch base with customers in a personal and positive way so that they feel that their interests are being regarded. This relationship that could come from excellent customer service will build trust and enable a sustainable relationship.
To sum briefly, customer service is a function that you shouldn’t downplay if you want to grow your business and secure a competitive advantage for business success. Also, great customer service allows you to form a lasting relationship with your customers, which improves satisfaction and loyalty.
Now that we have established how valuable customer service is to a small business, what options do you have? Well, this is where a virtual assistant can provide a seamless solution to that.