Customer service is an essential area of a business. In fact, one could argue that it’s one of THE most essential areas of a business; and that goes for any type, whether it be a massive, global corporation or a small operation run from home. Consumers expect and value a great customer experience. Now, it’s important to realize that a lot of companies claim to provide this superior service, but when push-comes-to-shove, their actions don’t reflect the high expectations they set for themselves and for the customer. With that being said, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re providing bad service (though plenty of businesses do). Rather, it means the service is not setting them apart from the competition. So, what is the difference between good and great customer service anyway? Simply, great customer service requires going above and beyond in order to keep the customer happy whereas good service requires putting forth an average amount of effort to ensure the customer is content.
The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reported that, “on average, loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their initial purchase.” Further, it was noted that it is “six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.” These statistics speak volumes to the frequently overlooked impact excellent customer service can have on a business in all areas of the operation.
It’s simple when you really think about it. When great service is provided, a common response from the consumer is an establishment of preference for your business over the competition because they felt important. The value of establishing such a relationship with the customer is a great one as such a relationship can result in evangelist marketing. You may be asking, “What does religion have to do with customer service?” but not to worry, evangelist marketing simply branches off of word-of-mouth marketing where businesses gain customers who passionately stand behind their product or service so much so that they willingly make efforts to sway the opinions of others to buy and use that same product or service. This is often a result of receiving not only exactly what they asked for in a timely manner, but also from noticeably being valued by the company through excellent customer service.
Kayako, a unified customer service platform that serves to help all levels of a company communicate with customers, ran a survey that revealed some interesting information. “60% of consumers would be unlikely or very unlikely to return to a company that had provided them bad service in the past, even if a trusted friend recommended that the service had improved,” Think about it: You start up a small business from home with fundamental goals of experiencing growth and success, but in order to achieve that, certain things take priority in the beginning stages of your business. What matters most to you is that the product or service is received within a reasonable amount of time, and you’re so busy, you just don’t have the time to answer questions or help customers throughout the sales process. In your mind, this a temporary approach, but to the customers who were brushed off, they wouldn’t dare revisit your business in the future. People are stubborn, it’s human nature, and there’s a great chance those neglected customers you were simply trying to turn over as fast as possible, won’t be coming back and won’t be recommending you to their friends and family. That’s a lot of lost business, isn’t it?
So what can you do to avoid this?
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