Every company says that customer support and customer satisfaction are crucial to them. However, when it comes down to it, few are willing to deliver on their promises.
I know it all too well because I’ve seen customer support from different perspectives at different times – as a client, as an employee, as a business owner. These are the things that I know for sure.
As a client, I hate poor customer service. We all do. That’s why I will never use your product or service again if you don’t care about my issues after I’ve made a payment.
As a software developer who worked in companies ranging from small studios to corporations, I can guarantee that you will not know how your users use your product until you take a hard look at support tickets, Facebook customer chat or get any other source of feedback.
As a former customer support department employee, I know that your customers have the questions that you could never imagine. That’s why it’s crucial to have some tools to analyze customer support queries.
Finally, as someone who’s proud of his product and strives to make sure my clients can use it to their benefit – I can promise you that solving your customer problems will promote you better, than any Ad platform. But I digress.
According to HubSpot research on customer service, 77% of customers are willing to share their positive experiences with their friends and colleagues.
This lack of commitment to providing excellent support could be decisive for the growth or decline of the businesses in years to come.
It can also become a significant competitive advantage for the new startups and small businesses who are competing for market share and are willing to go the extra mile for their customers.
This is especially important today when more and more businesses are switching to a subscription-based model for their products. It’s undoubtedly a good idea to treat support requests seriously when your client can cancel the subscription any day!
Acquiring new customers is becoming more and more expensive
With hundreds of thousands of businesses competing for clients today, it’s clear that the customer acquisition costs (CAC) are not going down anytime soon. According to this ProfitWell research, CAC for both B2B and B2C businesses have increased by nearly 50% over the past five years.
Clicks in PPC campaigns at Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and other advertising platforms can cost up to 10 or 50 dollars in some industries.
As a result, actual lead can easily cost hundreds of dollars. What this means is that client retention is of critical importance to any company’s success. Businesses focused on one-time sales will find it harder and harder to stay afloat.
On the other hand, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase on average, according to the research conducted by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. That’s why many smarter entrepreneurs and startups are focusing on increasing the LTV of each client.
LTV (LifeTime Value) – is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
In other words, it’s better to sell more to the customers that have already purchased from you in the past. It’s much easier, too, as these clients already trust you. Well, at least until you shoot yourself in the foot providing poor customer support to your customers.
As Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. Don’t be that business. Seriously. Value your clients, and they will respond in kind.
Customer support can be your competitive advantage
Nobody’s happy when a business offers poor service. Except for their competition, that is! If you are a promising startup that wants to drive the more prominent players out of the market and earn a place in this world, then going the extra mile for your customers might be your winning strategy.
The fact is that right now, people are expecting customer service to be poor. They are used to automatic replies, bots, providing the same details to different support agents, explaining their issues multiple times, and so on.
Imagine what happens when a typical client calls to the support center. His expectations are very low. However, this time, his or her call is answered quickly and by a real person, who’s willing to help and asks only for the necessary details. A couple of minutes and the issue is resolved.
Shocking, right? That’s a very pleasant shock for the customer. Such experience is going to be remembered and shared with friends and colleagues, no doubt about it. Spending hundreds of $$$ on AdWords won’t have such a positive effect on sales, I promise you.
In summary, exceeding the expectations can significantly help you to increase your loyal customer base during the early stage of your business development, which would not be easy otherwise. Many businesses know it very well and use it effectively.
Poor customer support can create more competition for you
You all know the story of Lamborghini and Ferrari, right? If not, here is it in five sentences:
- Ferruccio Lamborghini, son of a grape farmer, was very wealthy from his tractor business.
- Being wealthy, he naturally had a passion for luxury sports cars and owned many, some of which were Ferrari.
- Knowing a lot about car mechanics, he found some issues with his cars, specifically with clutch and noise reduction.
- He told Enzo Ferrari about it, only to hear that they didn’t need advice from tractor mechanic.
- That’s why he started his own luxury sports cars company.
The rest is history.
You never know what may happen when you treat your customers poorly. Some might accept it as a norm, most will avoid your business like the plague. However, there are cases like the above, when you can create a strong competitor for yourself.
In fact, that was one of the reasons I’ve made the initial version of our knowledge base plugin. I needed a way to organize documentation for the plugin I was developing at the moment, so I looked around and tested many free and paid products. Some were just bad. Some were ok. Most of them had very basic features, even the most expensive versions.
But what shocked me the most was the trend to answer customer questions once a week. I mean, really? I’ve made the initial version in a matter of weeks, and it has been growing for the last 2.5 years.
That’s why you should be very serious about solving the issues of your customers. In fact, I firmly believe it’s part of your product.
Excellent customer support results in positive feedback and reviews
The purchasing behavior of people is evolving rapidly. Multiple studies have shown that more than 85% of buyers read product or company reviews before making a buying decision.
The world is becoming more and more transparent. One negative review can make potential buyers suspicious, and a dozen can destroy your product and throw you out of business.
That’s why reputation management is all the rage today. However, it’s much easier to prevent reputation damage by reacting to customer queries than to handle negative feedback after the fact.
What this means for businesses is instead of focusing on a larger and more aggressive sales team, perhaps it makes sense to concentrate on making your existing customers happy first.
You will find your weak points and get feature requests
Besides helping to build trust with your clients, proper customer support can considerably help with improving your product or service. Consider this: an enormous amount of business books stress that companies must solve people’s problems to be successful.
Corporations spend hundreds of thousands on various researches focused on the needs of their potential customers. Then why would any entrepreneur or business avoid receiving detailed feedback from their clients for free?
But to receive the most benefits from customer feedback company must make sure the customer support is not an afterthought but an integral part of business processes. All the customer complains documented by the support team must be collected, stored in a database, and regularly reviewed by other departments.
“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.”
Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos
For example, software developers might receive useful insights on how clients work with their product and redesign user interface or fix hidden bugs. The sales team may learn what product features are more often used by the customers and adjust their pitching strategy.
So, long story short, listening to complains of your customers can provide you with a vast amount of information to make your business more effective and more profitable as a result.
Happy clients = happy employees
Multiple surveys show that employees care about how their company treats their clients. If the business cares about making customers happy, it shows that the company mission is not lip service.
Employees respect such businesses much more; they are more engaged and tend to stay with the company during challenging times. On the other hand, those companies that do not prioritize support may face an increase in employee turnover.
In this article, we’ve covered the most important reasons why customer satisfaction is becoming more and more critical to businesses and why you definitely should embrace the idea of providing the best customer support possible to your existing customers.
There’s no excuse to ignore customer support, especially with so many tools available.
Even if you don’t have resources to hire support assistance, you can quickly start with building an FAQ page. Once it grows too big to contain all the questions, you can move on to better, more organized options, like a knowledge base.
What’s great about the online knowledge base is it can answer the customer questions 24/7 without your participation. Of course, you have to do the homework and continuously improve it adding new content as your product and business grow.
Most importantly, instead of treating customer support as a burden, you should see the benefits of it and turn it into a powerful tool that can transform your business and take it to the next level.