As a small business owner, you might have seen people preaching about customer service and its impact on customer experience. They will go on and on about the importance of customer service and how it will help you retain your customer. Moreover, they will also state some obvious benefits of customer service along with some examples. However, if you ask them about some practical ways to offer customer service as a small business, they will have nothing to say because customer service is a little expensive.
Similarly, if you end up boosting your operational cost and ask them about some effective tricks to help you improve the customer service they will give you vague answers. Most people have the same old tips and tricks to offer like being human, being empathetic etc. Step into the shoes of the customers there is no doubt that these practices are important but for beginners. This is the reason; most brands pay millions to work on the training of their customer staff. They recruit specialists who can design a training plan and eventually, they have an elaborate system of training as well.
There is no doubt that these training plans pay off. However, for a small business or a startup, this can be very inconvenient. Most businesses lack the operational and training budget, so they send untrained customer service agents into the field.
These inexperienced agents do more damage to the business rather than any good. To help small businesses train their customer support agents, we have designed a list of the best tips and tricks for small businesses and startups. Companies like Optimum that are setting a benchmark with their customer service are also using these tips. If you want to test out the customer service department of Optimum, you can also visit https://www.localcabledeals.com/optimum/customer-service.
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Top 5 Customer Service Hacks for Small Businesses and Startups
For customer service, tips need to be clear leaving no room for confusion. These tips will not just help you to retain customers and keep them coming but also open avenues to convert any lead into a sales opportunity. Apart from selling, these tips are perfect for small businesses that want to keep the investment and operational cost minimum while boosting customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Here are the top five simple and most effective customer tips that will help you transform your business.
1- Sell Your Product after Offering a Solution
Imagine attending a call amidst your boring routine and someone on the other side is selling you something. It doesn’t seem like a pleasant idea, right? Well, not every interaction with a potential customer is your cue to pitch your business.
This is not just boring but also comes off as offensive to some people. When you interact with your customer, start by solving a problem. This will make them happy. Just by offering solutions, you will open an avenue of growth for your business. Then comes the basic skillset of reading the room.
You need to know if the customer is happy with your service or customer still requires some help. In case the customer is happy, you can proceed with the selling but selling to an irritated customer means you are bound to fail.
When you interact with your customer, you will realize the potential. If there is extra value you can offer or a product you can sell, only approach the customer with a suggestion. Forced selling or knowing that you are selling something your customer does not need will only make it difficult for you to proceed.
2- Let the FAQs come
Yes, you read it right. FAQs are important to address but not the way you have learned so far. Most companies address FAQs publically. They add a rich snippet on their website. Eventually, if a customer calls in, they redirect them to the FAQ page. Eventually, customers get to the FAQ page every time they have a question.
Technically, you might be trying to reduce the waiting queue by redirecting the traffic from customer support but you are losing an opportunity to address the problem. When you keep the customers coming to customer service, you will never know how widespread the issue is. Moreover, you are losing the chance to improve your service and upgrade your product.
When the customer support team receives a question about the same issue, this raises eyebrows in the production and management departments. Eventually, this leads to some direct questions. In the majority of cases, the product team ends up improving the product based on issues reported by the customers.
3- Make a Personal Connection
If you like to read about customer service, you might have come across the idea of personalization a lot. Experts believe that when you add a personal touch, you are offering your customer a sense of attachment and this improves customer loyalty. However, when you have a startup to run, a personal touch can be a little more emotional.
Most small companies, startups, or online stores add a personal note to their package. If you are not doing this, you are missing an opportunity to tap into the emotions of your customers. There is no doubt that most people would like to keep things digital but with customer experience when things get a little mundane and regular, you become part of the crowd instead of standing out.
For strictly digital, shoot an email. However, keep in mind that bombarding emails will land you in the trash and if things get more annoying you might even end up in a block list. With the right words and the right expression, you can charm your customers into customer loyalty.
4- Work On Loyalty and Retention
Now that we have landed on the difficult topic of customer loyalty, we would like to take a moment to address the retention rate as well. Within customer service, most companies try to go the extra mile just to boost the customer retention rate. No doubt going the extra mile helps but you also need to know where to draw the line.
This is where you need to use a powerful psychological tool. This tool is called the idea of reciprocity. It is similar to exchanging favors. When your customer does something good for you, you have to condition them by offering a reward. This is the reason customers receive gifts for completing one year with the company or discount cards on the yearly anniversary.
This concept is not just used in the product and service industry but in small businesses as well. Complementary food or add-on cannot only help you sell more but adds to the customer retention rate as well. Companies that offer services like phones, TV, or the internet generally add free equipment. Similarly, for digital marketing companies free courses and e-books are very simple and effective complementary gifts.
5- Feed the Cravings
This might seem weird but most of us have selective hearing. We do not want to listen to things we do not like and only focus on things we are interested in. Similarly, when we have a question to ask for customer service, we do not like them to beat around the bush. We would hate the idea of selling when we are stuck in the problem. Most customer service agents are asked to wrap up the call within 3-5 minutes. This seems like a good deal for the company but it irritates the customers.
The goal is to give up and listen to your customer before you try to solve the issue. Listening is one of the most powerful tools that can be used for calming your customers. This can be applied in any possible situation even when someone is trying to pitch you an idea.
For instance, when someone reaches out to you and asks for your opinion, it is better to ask questions. If they are asking you to listen to their music, listen to it and then offer an opinion. This will not only make your opinion appear genuine but also it will be valued.
Similarly, when you do not listen to your customer and just offer them a solution, this shows your disinterest in their issue. Without catharsis, your opinion stands no chance and it is not valued.
While running a business, you will be able to attract a lot of customers by awareness campaigns but retaining the customers is only possible with the right customer service. Although most startups lack the skill, resources, and budget to comply with the advanced customer support benchmarks but the above-mentioned tips can help with customer satisfaction and customer retention.
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.