When you are starting a business, the secret to faster growth is a happy and satisfied client base. Having a loyal customer base is crucial for staying successful in any industry, especially when consumer trends and demands are constantly changing.
If you own a startup company, it’s completely normal that you are still in the process of trying different strategies to serve your clients well. Happy customers will always find their way back to your business, and they can also generate more leads and referrals through word of mouth. To ensure the best service for your customers, prioritize taking care of them and prioritize their satisfaction. Your team should understand the importance of customer service.
What is Customer Service, and Why is it so Important?
Customer service encompasses a multitude of definitions, yet the most concise and comprehensible one can be distilled as follows: it pertains to the act of delivering services to customers both prior to and following their purchase of a product.
It is also defined as a series of activities organized to improve the overall experience of customers, meet their expectations, listen and answer to their queries, and keep them satisfied. According to a 2017 report, customer service is an essential element for 96% of consumers in brand loyalty. Can this result be considered an exaggeration? Absolutely not.
Customer service can be seen as a continuous cycle that needs to be monitored to ensure consistent quality and performance from the professionals and representatives involved. It defines the class of customer journey and paves the way to building relationships with lifetime customers that could bring lifetime value to your startup business.
How Can You Tell if a Company’s Customer Service is Good?
Customer service quality can be crucial for a business. Dedicated customer service professionals use various indicators to determine if a company’s customer service is good. Here are some of those indicators:
- Great focus on service
- Affordable or free service
- Repeat customers
Good customer service in a company requires management and employees who care about their customers. They should provide dedicated and passionate service and understand their customers’ needs. Going the extra mile to keep customers satisfied, providing more than what they paid for, and maintaining polite and friendly communication are also important.
As mentioned in the first part of this article, customers stay and repeat their purchases with a company that serves them well.
9 Helpful Tips for the Best Customer Service for Startup Businesses
1. Identify common customer issues.
Customer satisfaction rates increase when startup company owners and their customer service teams know the most common causes of customer issues and complaints. By identifying the causes, your team can come up with the appropriate and effective customer service solutions to avoid issues from occurring in the future. To do this, you may immerse yourself in the entire customer journey and put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Seeing how customer interactions go can help you spot specific actions or words that trigger the emotions and reactions of your clients.
While observing real-life customer behavior may be more straightforward, leveraging artificial intelligence to foster strong customer relationships can be extremely beneficial. CRM platforms help businesses analyze customer conversations and inquiries, improving customer relationships.
2. Train your customer service agents thoroughly.
Knowledge without practice won’t make sense, and in the case of customer service reps, actions do speak louder than any technical knowledge or skill. Training your customer service team members is a sure step to providing top-notch customer support to your customer base.
Training and skills development workshops usually focus on communication, rapport building, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Your agents should be highly capable and knowledgeable in these areas to effectively answer customer inquiries, handle complaints and customer requests, and provide solutions to prevent the said complaints from happening again.
As the initial point of contact, customer feedback relies so much on the interaction between your customer service team and your clients, thus, any form of customer pain and problem should be properly assessed and resolved.
3. Form a strong CRM plan.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is defined as the combination of processes, strategies, and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. CRM is crucial in every organization because it facilitates all interactions between your business and your customers. A good CRM plan can result in a great customer service experience which starts from the moment your customer service associate receives customer queries, down to the planned resolution and after-sales service.
In forming a CRM plan, you should be actively involved in the process so that you can identify the strong and weak points of your agents, and come up with plans to improve them. If you have an extra budget to fund your CS efforts, then investing in a CRM software would be better.
4. Invest in a reliable customer relationship channel.
Human connection is an important part of customer relationships, but when customer demand increases, technological intervention could help. Sales managers usually take charge of maintaining a CRM software or a customer support channel to monitor customer operations as well as the actions of customer service team members.
With the latest technological advancements, most CRM software also features productivity metrics for employee performance, task delegation functions, scheduling, and report generation.
5. Use KPI as a guide for performance and service improvement.
After hiring and training the best people for your teams, this one is another customer service practice to follow. Implementing performance management practices is crucial for ensuring that every team member performs at the highest level, meeting both the company’s internal standards and the expectations of clients.
To improve customer service, use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track call center and help desk team performance. This includes monitoring call center metrics and other important aspects of agent performance. Here are some examples of call center metrics that you must track regularly to maintain excellent agent and team performance:
- Customer Service Satisfaction (CSAT)
- Average handle time
- Average response time
- Call abandonment rate
- Service level
- First call resolution
- Call volume
- Net retention rate
This is a crucial part of call center management wherein customers are given the right to assess and evaluate factors such as call quality, product quality, transaction flow, etc., and make these factors the basis of a call center’s performance. Call monitoring is also done so that the employees may improve their communication and negotiation strategies.
The number of inbound calls received, outbound calls generated, and metrics like average handle time are also a few of the important factors that call centers consider during a stress test. Most of the time, high call volumes and slow response time are two of the most common issues discovered in a stress test.
6. Know your company’s priorities.
When you are planning for your startup business’ customer service strategy, knowing your priorities is necessary. Customer acquisition is a challenge for almost all new businesses and having vast knowledge of the different aspects affecting customer behavior and customer retention rates. While revenue generation is the main priority of any business, securing a loyal customer base is equally important.
Know your priorities in customer service: Is quick response time to customer queries your priority? Do you value quality over quantity? Is your strategy direct and intimate, or do you want to encourage clients to do self-service? Identifying which factor you want to highlight can help you and your team deliver exceptional customer support that resonates with your branding.
7. Value customer feedback.
You might have gotten tired of the saying: “Customer is always right”, but if you are only starting your company, customer feedback will serve as your compass to make sure that you are serving your customers the right way. Customers come in different kinds – happy and understanding, friendly and approachable, nonchalant yet strict, or demanding and irate. Whatever type of customer you encounter, listening to their feedback (whether it’s positive or negative) can help.
Unsolicited or not, feedback is an integral part of a customer’s experience that could serve as a reminder for business owners and customer support teams to highlight strong points and enhance weak points. More often, customers comment about an agent’s mode of communication and way of negotiating with them. Take good note of these factors as you can also use these to measure your team’s performance and productivity in the longer run.
8. Have an organized filing and documentation system.
Once you have successfully set up your CRM platform, it’s time for you to organize your files and document your customer journey. Keeping track of your customer’s lifecycle and journey is a useful way to create a reference for your team to remember what to do and what not to do in future business transactions.
Document everything. From customer inquiries, complaints, requests for calls and assistance, escalated issues, duration of responses, and case resolution. Documentation helps you track the status of issues raised by your customers, the actions taken by the designated teams, the quality of solutions implemented, and ways to prevent the same issues from happening in the future.
9. Take care of your customer service teams.
Happy agents make happy customers, and happy customers make happy and successful businesses. Taking care of your agents plays a vital role in company growth and scalability. When customer service agents are happy, their positive outlook on business and customer service can have a great impact on your business. Make sure that they are properly paid, receiving the right benefits, and recognized for their efforts and contributions to keep your startup company strong and reputable.
Always involve yourself in providing incentives and perks that will motivate your customer support agents to deliver exceptional service from the heart.
The key to a successful startup business lies in its loyal customer base, and the most effective way to honor and appreciate these customers is by consistently delivering exceptional customer service throughout their entire journey. Since they have different needs and wants, applying different approaches to handle customer demands is highly recommended.
Here’s a summary of the 9 customer service tips to help your startup business serve your clients better:
- Be familiar with common customer issues.
- Give proper training to your agents.
- Implement a strategic CRM plan.
- Use KPIs to measure effectiveness and productivity.
- Know your company’s priorities.
- Give importance to customer feedback.
- Have an organized and active documentation system.
- Take care of your employees.
No company is perfect, but every company can have the opportunity to extend the best services to their customers, after all, they are the reason why businesses thrive, even during the toughest times.
Excited to start your customer service team but worried about high demand and costs? Digital Minds BPO can help you get in touch with your existing and prospective customers at affordable costs. Message us now and get ready to build your dreams with us!
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