Customer service has changed drastically over the past few years. With so many different ways for a customer to interact with a brand, and social media to amplify those experiences, customer service has a far bigger impact on sales these days.
Great customer service improves your bottom line because happy customers are loyal customers that will continue buying from you and tell their friends and family:
- Studies show that 86% of people will pay more for great customer service
- 89% of customers will go to a competitor because of a bad customer experience
- People are 4x more likely to buy when referred by a friend
- Referred customers have a 25% higher lifetime value
We’ve rounded up six key tips that will help you provide the type of excellent service that increases sales.
1. Listen and always respond to customer feedback
There’s no better way to improve your product and service than to go straight to the source. In particular, negative feedback provides valuable insight into what’s not working and pain points. These customer comments can help you increase sales by providing direction on what your customers want, giving you guidance on how to improve your product or service and increase sales. Set up CSAT and NPS surveys to capture customer feedback that you can action on.
It’s also not enough to just use the customer feedback to improve your product, you also have respond to your customers - especially if it’s on social media. Customer interactions are no longer a one to one interaction - your responses are on a public stage. How you answer has the potential to either gain you strong advocates or alienate customers.
You should aim to respond to every mention on social media but it’s extremely important to address the negative ones. 58% of people who have tweeted a bad experience never get a response.
Addressing negative comments shows your customer - and other potential customers - that they’re being heard, and more importantly, that you value their opinion. It also gives you a chance to turn that negative experience into a positive one, reducing churn and lost sales.
2. Respond quickly
Customers these days are used to instant results. Speed is key - the faster you’re able to respond to a customer, the better. Customers expect a speedy response to their comments - an angry customer or one who has a time-sensitive issue will expect an even faster response.
Research shows that 72% of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour. Fast and genuine responses help keep customers satisfied, which head to higher sales.
Another way that great customer service can help you increase sales is cross-selling, which means recommending products or services that are relevant to the ones that the customer already has or has expressed interest in.
However, there’s a fine art to cross-selling. The product or services you recommend have to make sense to the customer or else they will think that you are just trying to squeeze more money out of them.
Cross-selling is also only appropriate in certain situations, for example when the customer is satisfied with the company - never try to cross-sell to an angry customer - or when the customer has a need for a product or service.
4. Go the extra mile
To create loyal customers, you have to go the extra mile and provide excellent customer service. Some tips to achieve that are to:
- Properly manage customer expectations
- Make a good first impression
- Really listen to what customers are saying
- Turn bad experiences into good ones
These tips above will help make your brand more memorable to your customers, build deeper relationships, and encourage them to sing your praises. To learn more about the tips above, read our resource, Delivering Excellence through Customer Service.
Nurturing deeper customer relationships through excellent service results in stronger brand loyalty and increased likelihood to recommend - both of which translate to higher sales.
5. Anticipate customer needs
Anticipating your customers’ needs help increase sales because it’s easier to sell to your customers when you understand exactly what it is they need.
Customer service isn’t only responding to technical issues or complaints, it’s also about providing relevant value to your customers at the right time. Once you identify their pain points and provide a solution to their problem, customer satisfaction and sales go up.
Do you have a company blog? Consider using that medium to create blog posts on topics that your customers are interested in. This keeps you top of mind and shows your customer that you not only understand their needs and interests, but are providing a solution, encouraging referrals and repeat purchases.
6. Invest in new technology
Whether it’s a social media platform or ticketing system, invest in the technology that will help you best communicate, engage, and nurture your customers.
Customer service has evolved over the years. Where customers used to interact with a company in person or over the phone, customers can now connect with brands through social media, email, live chat, text messaging, and the list goes on. Consider implementing technology that will allow you to keep up with your customers in today’s technology-driven age.
Great customer service can help you increase sales by turning customers into repeat buyers and brand advocates. And the key to achieve great customer service is to provide a fantastic experience for your customers that leaves them satisfied and happy. Focus on that, and watch your sales increase.