It may seem obvious that there are many benefits of customer service. This is especially true for small businesses, which typically have limited budgets. Fortunately, customer service often costs only a little time while reaping long-term rewards. However, not all the benefits of great customer service are obvious.
Why Customer Service is Important for Small Business
Customer service is essential for any business, but it’s more important for small businesses. Why is that? As a small business, you typically have a smaller budget and fewer customers. One unhappy customer can put a big dent in your profits or hinder your ability to continue operating, especially if they make up a significant part of your profit.
Because you don’t run a chain of superstores, you can’t easily offset losses at one facility with gains at another. In short, the spotlight shines brighter on your customer service skills because you’re a small business.
Benefits of Great Customer Service
1. It Offsets Higher Prices
While your small business may not be able to compete with your industry’s big players when it comes to price, you can beat out the competition with your customer service. Small businesses often feel like part of the community, not simply placed there by a corporation that saw an opportunity to profit. Often, people want to use small businesses to support their neighbors.
Additionally, you can take the time to really get to know your clients and their needs. Developing these relationships allows you to greet someone by name, and that familiarity makes someone feel like they’re genuinely appreciated rather than another statistic. If you’ve ever said you’d rather pay more with a smaller business because of great customer service, you know firsthand the influence of good customer service. If you consistently provide better service, you can build a reputation as a high-end company to increase your earnings.
2. It Keeps Customers Coming Back
Some business owners overlook that good customer service can turn even a disgruntled buyer into a repeat customer. Often, all it takes to reduce their dissatisfaction is to make them feel acknowledged. However, if you can go the extra step to solve the customer’s problem, they may become your most loyal customer.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s okay to lose a customer because you can replace them with a new one. Research shows that it’s cheaper to keep customers than to make new ones because repeat customers spend more than first-time customers—300% more! Great customer service shows your customers how much you appreciate their patronage and keeps them coming back. It’s a no-brainer.
3. It Generates New Customers
Of course, excellent customer service can bring in new customers, which is crucial to growing your business. First, happy customers can tell others directly about their experiences. This word-of-mouth advertising is invaluable, and you may be able to leverage it by offering discounts to customers and their referrals.
In the Internet Age, word-of-mouth advertising can happen virtually. If you make a customer especially happy, they might post about it on Yelp, Google, Facebook, or other sites, reaching a far greater audience than typical word-of-mouth advertising. Some customers may even run their own websites, where they might be happy to talk about a positive experience with your company.
Many happy customers will let you use their testimonials on your website or even speak directly to potential customers, which is why asking for feedback should be part of every successful transaction. Testimonials from real people prove that your company is established and trustworthy.
Finally, if you provide customer service online where others can see, you might convert new customers that are impressed with your tactics, especially when working with an existing customer who may have had a less-than-stellar experience with your business. Polite, professional, and productive communication goes a long way toward attracting new clients.
It’s relatively easy to see the benefits of customer service, but implementing it is sometimes more of a challenge. Your staff will need to be familiar with your customers, products and services, and the industry as a whole. This may require more training and higher wages than your typical big-box store. On the flip side, your company may be able to answer more queries. If it’s viable, you might expand to offer related services, which opens up other avenues of income.
When we talk about great customer service, we genuinely mean great. Most people don’t talk about standard customer service. They may even forget they spoke to someone as soon as they leave a store if it’s a run-of-the-mill interaction. It’s the outliers that stick out. This may be one reason why people seem more likely to discuss their negative experiences with a company.
Great customer service is memorable. Your customers feel empowered to spread the word. Yes, it takes a bit of effort, but that effort pays off.
If you want to ensure you’re doing everything to provide great customer service, download the eBook “The ROI of Word-of-Mouth: How Better Customer Service Increases Small Business Revenue” today.