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Small Business Customer Service: A Guide for Business Owners

We all acknowledge the fact that customer service is a vital gear in the business machine. A few decades ago customer service departments were nearly non-existent, now they are a large part of all growth-focused businesses. 

In fact, we are cognizant of how enterprises are striving to deliver service beyond the imagination of their customers and competitors. Every day, news articles and tweets are posted appreciating the distinctive ways implemented by businesses for their customer service.

Now, amidst so much competition, where do SMEs stand? Is this need to deliver superior customer service confined to big brands? Should SMEs be concerned about their customers’ experience?

Well, looking at the year 2020, I’d say Yes. Customer service is extremely vital for SMEs and they should be bothered about it. 

In fact, to quote a source here, 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps.

With modern advances in digital and communication technologies, customer service has transformed and evolved quickly. There’s a reason that customer support tools and CRMs are being launched at affordable prices as well, which would assist SMEs to level up their customer service game. 

Many small businesses might still perceive it as an extraneous expense but then let’s face it, customers have more than 500 alternatives for each product in the market. Besides pricing, anything else that could help you outstand your competitors is your customer service.

No customer would visit your office to verify your business professionalism and credibility. The way your executives communicate with them, the way services are described and particularly the way they are treated after payment, it all articulates a lot about your business reputation and reliability. 

Attributes that define superior customer service

1. Your Time-to-resolution (TTR) of customer queries

Customer service starts from the first point of communication, it is, however, majorly tested during the worst time. When your customer needs your assistance with the product, the way your executives help them, it speaks tons about your business authenticity. Herein, businesses that just state 4-5 working days for resolution of customer queries can never deliver high-grade customer service. Customers would never appreciate automated and robotic replies during their difficult time. The more time you’ll take to deliver a resolution to your customer query, the more are the possibilities that your customer might get furious and right away demand a refund. 

2. Accessibility towards your service

In most cases, customers and prospects of a particular business are geographically widespread. Some might be from the northern region while some might be located in the South. Herein, instances like:

1. Your support systems facilitate limited language options

2. Your executives can’t speak in the comfortable language of your prospects

3. Your customer care team is not available to take calls after 6 pm

They only degrade the sort of customer service delivered by businesses. It is essential that your support options can be easily accessed and utilized by your customers. If your business claims to serve customers of all kinds, your support system should also fulfill the same. 

3. Omni-channel support options

Some might be comfortable on call while some would prefer conversation through emails, your business should have all the areas covered as per your customers’ preference. In the modern world, there are specific channels that businesses should utilize as their mode of customer communication. When a person visits the website, a live chat popup, email, contact number of the company, FAQs, points like these generate a positive impression in front of your prospects. More than anything else, they find your business accessible, which is indeed crucial for almost all customers. It’s an undeniable fact, everyone appreciates a company that can always be reached in case of emergencies with the product. 

4. Personalization in your service

When a customer connects with your company executives they look for a professional person proficient to solve their query, as soon as possible. Your executive asking ten questions about the information of a customer who has been using your product for 3 years, it is surely displeasing. In fact, giving the same details repeatedly to different executives is another attribute which annoys most customers. They would certainly prefer a fixed SPOC who is informed of their history and details, and hence, can serve them in a more efficient and agile way.

5. Initiative to serve them

When company executives themselves call the customer to give an update of their inquiry/issue, this majorly promotes the level of your customer service. Every customer wants to work with the business that genuinely cares for their requirements. Customers want to be informed of the current situation of their query given and herein if the customer has to regularly call the executive to know the same, it just builds an adverse opinion towards the company. A call, email or a simple SMS to give the latest update or to know if things are going well, features like these only help businesses to win your customer for life. 

Outcomes of inferior customer service

Lost customers/revenue/referral/reviews:

Imagine yourself as a customer who paid for software and later your software isn’t working and it’s been 10 days, no one from the company is responding, your money is basically stuck!

What would you do besides getting furious? Probably go to your social media account, post about your unfavourable experience with the company and even give them a 1-star rating. Well, it’s the time of Millenials and this is what modern entrepreneurs would do. 

Needless to say, your prospects and existing customers would see it. Certainly, they won’t ask for a refund instantly, but let’s face it, this would bring some second thoughts in their mind. 

The customer who had a bad experience with your company will tell 20 more people about the same, hence, damaging publicity for sure. 

Together this will not only drive your future customers away but might also end up in a situation where one-two of your existing customers starts demanding a refund.

This is why 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service.

Major customer-interaction points to invest in for SMEs

As this article is inclined towards SMEs we are certainly talking about businesses that don’t have hefty investments for expensive CRMs nor can they afford to hire 50 people for their customer service. Does that mean they won’t work on their customer service? 

Certainly not.

Good customer service is a combination of smart people and advanced technology. You should be smart enough to hire both these things perfectly. 

So, as a next step, here are some major divisions that you should direct on to take your customer service one step ahead:

1. Your ‘hello’ to the customers

In most business industries, calls still stand as the prominent and most reliable way for customers to interact with the company executives. The Indian market has gradually been able to trust businesses and make payments on the basis of telephonic discussions. However, a minor skepticism still endures in their minds. 

In this scenario, it is relevant to deliver a professional and appealing experience for your customers. Needless to say, it would involve how your customer-facing executives attend their query, help them with their requirements, and all this, in the fastest possible time frame. 

2. Your customer chat support

In this digitally active market, companies have to be active consistently on all online and offline modes. Website chat support is considered as another convenient way for customers to inquire about business and its product details. Herein, a customer unquestionably expects a faster and satisfactory response.

Situations like late replies, grammatical mistakes in replies, repeatedly asking for customer’s information is perceived as a huge turn off for many users and it makes your business management look vulnerable. This is definitely not healthy for businesses who are striving for a positive and reliable reputation in the market.

3. Your email responses

Emails are recognised as the most professional mode of communication in the business industry. Without any official stamp, email content is taken to be as good as the official words of businesses. Herein, it is vital that your business actually communicates the former things in a proficient manner.

Your appropriate response on emails with a proper resolution to the customer query, communicated in well-drafted content holds a major influence on your business impression. The way your official email account looks, the way it’s addressed, and the way your signature looks, everything matters. And, it is surely a duty to look into the details of these email templates and how your team is utilizing them. 

4. Your hired people for the work

An agent which appears like reading a script as a response to your question can never be relished by your customers. Customers are humans who would prefer a humane and personalized conversation with business executives. It is imperative that your staff is tutored to be a professional who is engaging and dynamic rather than being a robot equipped with predefined lines to be conveyed to the customer. 

All your advanced methods and implemented technologies will turn out to be a bummer if they are not conveyed properly through your customer-facing professionals. They might be the executives attending calls, or replying through chat or email, the way they interact with your customers, it conveys the most about your business sophistication and credibility. 

6. Your space for customer feedbacks

Whenever you finish a call with your customer or close their inquiry, always facilitate them to give their feedback. In fact, it would be wise if you could just ask for their feedback once in a two or three months. Make your customers identify the fact you want to serve them to all intents and purposes. Customers always admire companies which are open to feedback and execute modifications as per their customer’s needs and experiences. 

At last, I’d pick a quote from American Express which states that consumers are willing to spend 17% more on a company that has outstanding customer service. It clearly goes without saying that top-level customer service is an absolutely justified point for your product pricing which customers will be more than happy to pay for. Therefore, a profitable investment option for SMEs

Providing the best customer service doesn’t have to take a lot of time or require you to personally interact with customers all day long, which could quickly lead to burnout. Instead, good service is a matter of putting systems in place to identify your customer service issues, training yourself and your employees, and harnessing the right tools and services to get the job done.

And that’s MyOperator Call Management Solution!

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