Customer retention is imperative for most small businesses. Acquiring a new client is costly, while keeping a client in your product funnel long term is very cost effective. Whatever you can do to ensure the happiest of a good paying client needs to be considered. Providing good customer service can be the differentiator that you need. Even if you’re a business of one, you can provide excellent customer service simply by being aware of current trends.
More customers than ever before enjoy using self-service features through knowledge base technology and FAQs. If a savvy customer can solve their own problems before escalating to one-on-one support, customers are actually more happy with the service over all.
Technology like this enables a customer to attempt self-help at any time of the day or night when they need the help, and often right at the time they need the help, rather than having to wait until business hours. Self-service technology can mean the difference between a satisfied customer and a dissatisfied customer. But, it should never be the only type of customer service you have.
Customers like getting help with issues on social media. Often, people who wouldn’t otherwise complain or ask for help will do so on social media. It’s imperative that you provide answers via this channel.
The fact is, younger people prefer to use social media for customer service than any other method. They don’t like picking up the phone to call like their parents do. Integrating social support into your overall customer service channels will be an important differentiation feature for businesses in the coming years.
More people are using mobile technology than ever before, with mobile outselling PCs now. Some people who access the internet never even had a PC; they do it all from their mobile device. Your business needs to be mobile friendly now.
From the ability to bank via mobile phones to the ability to access your products and service via mobile technology, the time for mobile customer service technology is here. Allowing your clients to access all that you have to offer via mobile technology will win big in the years to come.
Customers expect vendors to keep track of conversations so that if customer service starts in online chat and escalates to voice, the customer service expert knows what already happened and the customer doesn’t need to repeat everything. Even if there is only one person handling customer issues, keeping records will avoid more problems.
Giving customers the documentation they need, along with a knowledge base, discussion forums, and mobile access, will go far in creating excellent top-notch customer service. However, it all has to come together in some cohesive way so that the client feels cared for on a personal level.
Even very small businesses can outsource customer service today, with services popping up that allow a business to only pay for real time handling customers and not a full-time employee. This can be a service specializing in customer care or it can be a virtual assistant whom you train to handle your customers.
Don’t be afraid of outsourcing customer service. Even if you have a small services business or information product business, outsourcing customer service can free up a lot of time – as well as remove the emotional elements of dealing with criticism. The professional customer service provider knows how to deal with issues, making the customer feel like they’re a winner.
The most compelling trend for the future is to give the customer more choice in how they want to be served. Be it self-service, one-on-one chat, a help-desk or by phone, your business should consider providing a little of all of these methods so that your customers can choose how to get help. By providing the best customer service possible, in the eye of the user, your business will stand out.