Customer service is arguably the most important part of running a profitable business. Your customers are your most valuable asset, and making them feel as such is vital to your success. If your customers don't feel valued, they'll be unlikely to return for future business with your store. In some cases, great customer service can turn a very angry shopper into a loyal, repeat customer. But how can you take your customer service to the next level?
Consistency is Key
As a company, it's important that you provide every one of your customers with an excellent customer service experience. When you provide stellar customer service, your shopper will tell others about their experience. You want your customers to praise your service publicly, but you must be able to meet or exceed the expectations of shoppers who want the same level of service.
Take a look at Zappos, a massive online clothing and accessories store. The company's customer service is renowned in the eCommerce world, thanks to dozens of stories about how their customer service department went above and beyond their call of duty. As an online shopper, you might expect the same level of service when you make a purchase from Zappos – unfortunately, cases of excellent customer service by their team are few and far between. This doesn't mean they provide sub-par customer service, but it may appear sub-par to someone who was expecting much more.
When you provide every customer with phenomenal customer service, there is little room for future customers to feel disappointed by their treatment. Manifest consistency by creating effective customer service policies, and sticking to them. Policies ensure fair treatment for all customers, allowing your customer service to meet and exceed the expectations of shoppers.
How Does Effective Customer Service Impact Your Conversion Rate?
Inbound and outbound marketing are common ways businesses improve their conversion rate, but what about customer service? How does customer service impact your bottom line?
According to StellaService, a new company that tracks customer service for a number of companies by secretly buying and returning items, roughly 89 percent of online shoppers have stopped buying from a company because of poor customer service. That's right: nearly 9 out of 10 customers will not return to your store if they receive sub-par customer service, which can heavily impact your conversion rate.
Conversely, quality customer service can have a very positive impact on your conversion rate. Happy customers share their experiences, both online and face-to-face. How many times has a friend or family member asked you where to purchase a product, and you gave them a recommendation based on your experience? I once purchased a liquid eyeliner from Birchbox.com as a gift for a friend, and the product was faulty when it arrived – in fact, it didn't work at all! I contacted the company, and within three days, I had received a replacement product. Now, I recommend the store to anyone who asks for a good place to buy cosmetics. Why? Because BirchBox offers such excellent customer service.
The Value of Omnichannel Customer Service
Today's shopper doesn't rely on in-store transactions to make a purchase, and they no longer rely on phone calls to work with customer service. In fact, companies without omnichannel customer service rank much lower than those with multiple customer service channels in surveys and studies. Why? Because customers want help in the most convenient way possible, which can vary from person to person.
There are many shoppers who don't care to speak on the phone – in fact, many people get anxiety from the mere thought of calling a customer service department. As a result, email, social media, and live chat customer service are growing in popularity. They're much more convenient than making a phone call for many, and many customers become frustrated when internet-based customer service isn't available.
According to new studies:
- 9 out of 10 customers expect consistent customer service over multiple customer service channels.
- 88 percent of customers are less likely to shop from a store who doesn't answer their social media customer support queries.
- 90 percent of your customers will visit your website for answers to their questions before calling or emailing your support team.
- 77 percent of customers say online live chat support leaves a positive impression about your company.
With omnichannel customer service, you can provide your customers with a seamless customer service experience. They can submit their request through an email, social media message, or live chat, and continue the process on the phone or using another method. They may call to resolve an issue which requires a screenshot or photo of the product, which can they can then send using an email or social media message. Alternatively, they may have a complicated issue which can be more quickly resolved over the phone, so they can call and pick up where the email query left off. Every channel should tie in together, providing a seamless customer service experience.
Tools for Providing Quality Customer Service
Your goal is to respond to your customer service queries as fast as possible, whether they're submitted through social media, live chat, or email. Customers who reach out by phone shouldn't be put on hold, as this can turn them off immediately. The longer you let your customer service queries go unanswered, the more likely your customer is to leave and never return. Fortunately, there are tools you can use to improve your response time:
Measurements of Great Customer Service
Your customer service department should work to meet certain goals with each query they receive. Measurements your customer service department should measure include:
- Net Promoter Score: Simply put, how will your customers rank your service on a scale of 1-10? How likely are they to return to your store? How likely are they to recommend you? The higher your net promoter score, the better your customer service (and vice versa!).
- Response Time: How quickly do you respond to customer service queries? 71 percent of customers expect help within 5 minutes, so work to keep your response time within this time frame.
- First Contact Resolution Rate: Do you resolve issues on the first try? Do your customers have to call back two or three times before finding a resolution? The more issues you can resolve on the first try, the higher your first contact resolution rate.
- Total Volume by Channel: This metric determines how many requests per customer service channel you receive. Measuring this will allow you to determine which channels need the most attention by your customer service team.
- Churn: Are your customers returning for future purchases? When you have excellent customer service, you can expect higher rates of returning customers.
- Cost to Resolution: How much does it cost you to resolve customer service queries? Use this to cut back on areas where you might be spending too much.
Customer service is among your company's most valuable assets. By investing in quality customer service, you can improve your conversion rate and establish long-term, loyal customers.
What are your tips for excellent customer service? What are some compliments your business has received for their resolution process? Let us know in the comments below!