Are you aware that most businesses get around 80% of their sales from repeat buyers?
Are you tapping into this market? If not, or you think you could do more, read on because this blog is all about how customer service can lead to more sales.
What is Customer Service?
We commonly think of customer service as the department in a business that deals with complaints and returns, but it’s really more than that. Customer service is how you interact with your customers from the point of sale and after.
We’ve all seen the smiley face on our bill at a restaurant – that’s customer service. Some businesses include a thank-you note with their shipment – that’s customer service. Other businesses, especially service businesses, will communicate with their customers via email after their purchase – and that’s customer service. Any communication you have with your customer is customer service.
I like to think of it more in terms of customer CARE! Call it what you will, do not miss opportunities to build customer TRUST and LOYALTY. It is the cornerstone of long-term success.
How Does Customer Service Lead to More Sales?
Trust is a huge component in sales. A customer will buy more often and spend more with a business that they trust. If your customers trust you and your business, they are more likely to think of your first and then come back to buy from YOU (not your competition) the next time they need what you offer.
I’m sure you know that a bad experience makes for a good story, and we all love to talk about a bad experience long after it happens. While a good experience may soon be forgotten if it happens EVERY TIME for your customer you are building trust.
Good experiences build trust and trust leads to loyalty which leads to word-of-mouth referrals. Think about it. Have you EVER referred someone to a business where you had a bad experience? If the experience someone has with you is good, that’s what they’ll tell their family and friends. These referrals are then coming from a trusted source which creates an instant transfer of trust.
The bottom line is… keeping your customers happy brings them back and brings in their friends.
What Can You Do to Improve Customer Service?
To improve your customer service, you first need to identify how you interact with your customers after the sale. If you are not currently doing something already to interact with them, it’s time to start!
Email – This is a very common and fairly simple way to interact with your customers after a sale. Send out a monthly or quarterly newsletter to stay at front-of- mind. But remember that good customer service is about SERIVCE. You want to be emailing them something useful or that they have told you they want. If all of your emails are targeted at sales, then they aren’t customer service. Provide helpful tips on how to use your product, or benefits of your product or service that they might not have thought of. Newsletters should be new information and unique to that platform. This means if you’ve posted it already on Facebook, they might have already seen it. While this can be a good thing since it takes about 10 touches in today’s fast-moving information stream, you do want to be sure you’re providing lots of interesting content. Also, use your customer’s name in their email.
Phone Calls – This is an uncomfortable area for many business owners, but it’s a great way to establish a connection with your customers after the sale. If you’re a service provider, call them to find out about their experience and see if there is anything more you can do for them to give them the best value and the most benefit for what they’ve purchased. If you sell a product, you could simply touch base with them to make sure the delivery was smooth (and that your product didn’t break/melt on its way to them). Note… if you call them and there is a complaint or anything that needs handled, DO IT. Paying lip service to customer care is POINTLESS and will merely add another bad experience that they are going to remember. It breaks trust. I’m not saying that the “customer is always right.” However, you do need to “hear” the complaint and do what you can to resolve it.
Social Media – Inviting your customers to follow you on social media is a great way to continue to stay connected with them. They’ll see your posts which should be full of engaging information and providing a benefit to them for reading them. Remember to always send social media invitations with a reason to follow you; let them know you offer promotions or discounts exclusively on social media and they’re much more likely to click that follow button. Groups are a great way to build trust and loyalty. But remember… your customers only care about WIIFT (what’s in it for them).
Once they’re following you, keep your word. If you tell them you offer behind-the-scenes information, remember to post it frequently. If you promised them special promotions, get them online as often as you can. If you offer tips, post them often. Note here. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Only about 3% of your audience even sees your posts. You can post the same or similar content about every 6 to 9 months.
Say Thank You – One of the types of posts on social media that receive the most engagement is a thank-you post. Consider sending thank-you cards in the mail or sending a special email that conveys your gratitude that they chose your business for their need. The timing of a thank-you is important as you want to reach out to them after they’ve had a chance to consume your product or service (meaning they’ve used it or have completed their service).
Ask Your Customers – Surveys can be very beneficial for you as a business owner, but they can also be used to let your customers feel heard. This is a technique you won’t want to use too often but asking what you can do to improve your customer service will both improve your service to your future customers and give your current customers the feeling that you truly care. You do CARE don’t you? This can be especially useful if you have employees interacting with your customers and you let them know that you, the owner, want to hear how the experience was. Ask them what you can do better. Express your desire to be there for them.
Exceed Their Expectations – I don’t condone the practice of purposefully underselling yourself to exceed client expectations, but I do encourage all of my clients to exceed their customers’ expectations as often as possible. That can be by including a free sample or small gift with an order, or sending out a birthday card with a coupon, or providing a bonus with their first purchase. Sometimes even an email can exceed expectations by offering extra resources. Think of ways you can make life easier or enhance the benefit your product or service provides and include that with your sale.
Value Before Cost in Customer Service
Good customer service takes extra time and resources to achieve. However, the benefit to you is huge when you know that you’ll get a return of about 80%. This result really outweighs the cost.
Here’s a tip to see how this works. Take your monthly sales number and multiply it by .8. This is 80%. What is that number? Would that make a difference for you?
Good customer service does not need to break the bank. Get creative. I would love to hear your best customer service tip! Please drop it in a comment below and let us all know how you like to dazzle and delight your customers!