Customer service can go a long way for you, or against you. A consistently good customer service experience can lead to word-of-mouth referrals and plentiful organic traffic, while a bad one can damage your reputation and drive consumers away.
Increasingly, customer service is being viewed as a marketing strategy for the ways it can impact your company’s reputation and bottom line.
While you know you may not always be able to please everyone who comes your way, there are a number of actions you can take to make sure you are delivering the best customer experience possible and reaping marketing benefits from great customer service at the same time.
The root of a good customer experience is all about your consumers and their preferences. If you leverage the following four tactics and use some technology to help, you can turn your customer service into a marketing strategy by allowing your good reputation to work for you and foster brand loyalty while attracting new customers.The tactics are:
Evaluate your brand's current customer service
Provide self-service solutions
Provide flexible fulfillment options
Amplify your customer service success
Now, let's dive into how to do it.
To maintain a positive customer experience and transform it into a marketing strategy, you have to assess where your customer service stands.
Reading customer reviews can provide valuable insights such as: What do you need to do better to serve your customers? How can you streamline the process and make it easier to execute?
Using customer feedback to drive changes allows you to focus on already-identified areas that need improvement or updating. And if there isn’t enough customer reviews data out there to draw any conclusions about your brand or business, try surveying existing or new customers for honest answers about both overall customer satisfaction and their individual experiences.
We've mentioned both customer service and customer experience, so let’s distinguish the two real quick:
Customer service is the assistance, advice, and overall customer support provided by a company to consumers.
Customer experience is the entire purchase process from beginning to end, including everything from how a customer navigates your site to how they receive your goods and/or services.
Self-service solutions (like a chatbot featured in live chat software) provide predefined and AI-based responses to customers when agents aren’t available, at any time of day, or across different time zones.
Solutions like these are a great way to streamline your customer service and customer experience in one solution—especially as we’ve found small businesses have been slow to adoption when it comes to committing to a dedicated customer service solution.
Surveying small business leaders across the U.S., we found that less than 25% of small to midsize businesses currently use a dedicated customer service application.
See our post-COVID changes survey methodology at the bottom of this page.
Live chat software can also analyze frequently asked questions (such as how to reset a password) and implement them in your static FAQ page or knowledge base.
Such self-service solutions are a win-win for businesses and consumers alike, cutting down on response time and enabling customers to quickly get their own answers.
At the height of the pandemic, businesses saw consumers taking advantage of contactless pickup and shopping experiences for their own safety. It turns out that consumers enjoyed the flexibility businesses offered to receive their goods or services in new ways.
In another recent GetApp survey of nearly 1,000 consumers, 82% of customers told us the availability of a contactless experience from businesses will still be important after the pandemic is over. (Read our contactless customer experience survey methodology at the bottom of this page.)
According to the same survey, when confronted with a bad experience, three out of four consumers (75%) say they are very or somewhat likely to switch retailers or service providers to those with better contactless services.
The right eCommerce and shipping solutions as a part of your tech stack will help you provide consistent deliveries and/or contactless pickup.These solutions can ensure that customers are receiving their products in a timely manner (and to their preference) and can help you stay ahead of any inventory or shipping errors that could result in a negative customer experience.
Small businesses should also keep in mind they aren’t just competing with other SMBs for quick shipping, but giant retailers like Amazon and Walmart who have made fast shipping a mainstay.
Once you’ve taken initial action and understand the benefits of delivering the best customer service experience possible, the final step is amplifying those wins in order to bring in even more customers.
Generating and sharing positive reviews is straightforward with reputation management software. These solutions can help good reviews rank higher in search engine results so more consumers can see (and trust) your good work.
These tools can give you an overall, holistic view of your reviews and how they are being received, and can keep an eye on your competition to see what consumers are liking (or disliking), specifically.
Just as consumers use reviews to help get started with their search, take advantage of thousands of reviews from other small businesses like yours who have tried and tested these tools.
GetApp conducted the U.S. SMB Post-COVID Changes Survey in May 2021 among 601 small-business owners and leaders in the U.S. to learn how they are pivoting marketing, sales, and customer service following COVID-19. Respondents were screened for employment status, business size, and area of responsibility.
GetApp conducted this survey in April 2021 of 455 U.S.-based respondents to learn more about marketing and technology trends. Respondents were screened for decision-making roles in sales, marketing, or customer service at companies with 2 to 250 employees.
Note: The applications featured in this article are examples to show a product, service, or software category in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations by GetApp. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.
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