Customer service is one of the stickiest points for any business.
It’s a fine line between giving the right amount of care to customers and giving too much and costing your business more than the customer is worth. At the end of the day, however, what many business owners need to realize is that customer service is an investment in their customer base.
After all, customers who are more engaged with a brand tend to spend significantly more than customers who have no particular brand loyalty.
Building Better Branding with Customer Service
Customer service is as much a branding tool as your marketing pieces, it should be treated with the same level of importance.
Marketing is never an afterthought, you carefully plan how you’ll spend those dollars. Customer service should be the same way, whether you use your own team or hire an answering service company.
Here are three simple ways to improve that customer service effort right now:
- Include self-service options. Your customers often call simply to verify basic information or learn about special opportunities. According to a Forrester survey, 43 percent of callers have utilized voice self-service in some form in the last 12 months. It’s clear that many callers would be happy to get the details for themselves, so why not give them that option?Your telephone tree or interactive voice response system can be loaded with self-service information so that your callers get more of what they want without tying up a customer service representative. Make sure to include an escape hatch to reach an operator, just in case the information you share doesn’t quite fill the bill.
- Re-evaluate your handle time goals. When Forbes asked companies in B2B, B2C and B2B2C categories about their approach to customer service, they quickly learned that these businesses held seemingly contradictory positions when it came to handle time.Communications and telecom companies, for example, overwhelmingly said they wanted to learn about their customers’ needs during a call (81 percent felt this way), but 84 percent also expressed a desire to minimize handle time.Again, a customer service relationship needs to be nurtured and treated like an investment, not a hassle. Allowing more time for each operator to ensure that your customer is totally delighted will ultimately pay off in referrals and additional purchases.
- Try out your own customer service. It’s interesting how much you can learn by simply calling your own company and trying out your customer service. Doing this without giving away who you are means you have a chance to truly interact with your customer service representatives and navigate through your own telephone tree to see exactly what your customers experience.Take notes, this is an opportunity to improve your customer service to a level you would like to experience yourself!
Your customer service may be pretty good right now, but it could be so much better. Instead of hoping that your customers stick around for your products, ensure they want to be customers because of your service level. When they know you can be counted on to really listen and solve their problems, callers become lifetime brand ambassadors.