(This article was originally published at Customer Think)
Customer service experts agree: customers have changed. They are more likely to share their feelings on different channels such as social media or blog articles, have higher expectations and are keener than ever on the customers’ lifecycle.
As mentioned in a study by Hubspot, 89% of customer service professionals agree that customers are more likely than ever to share the good or bad experience they had with businesses.
On the other side, most companies are not equipped to connect with and answer with their customers on every channel. They simply haven’t adapted yet to this new multichannel environment that is growing fast.
I believe companies still have to shift to a customer-first-mindset to just not grow bigger, but also better.
As mentioned by Andrew Chen, the “law of shitty click-through” is the result of intense competition between actors of the same industry. As competition arise, Chen states that engagement decrease and leads to a low customers interaction rate.
Andrew Chen finds a solution to intense competition by tapping into undiscovered marketing channels. And here is my statement: What if customer service was the new untapped marketing channel that could help you to grow your sales?
Customer service is the new marketing, here is why it’s important
As stated before, customers lifecycle has been modified and is now increasingly complex. Customers can interact with businesses on multiple touchpoints and are waiting for the fastest answer at the highest level of quality.
From your social networks to email and Live Chat on your website, customer service is becoming an important part of businesses today.
As mentioned, ads have seen their CTR decrease by a ratio of 1500x. Customers are used to ads and tired of it. Satisfied customers through customer service led to a high level of word of mouth which makes free acquisition cost for your business.
By 2020, it is believed that customer experience will be the main brand differentiator instead of price or product.
For example, according to Forrester’s customer index, customer experience leaders gained 43% in performance compared to customer experience laggards who saw a decrease of 33,9%.
Customer service is a form of marketing
Whatever people say about the customer service they experienced, it has more impact due to the internet. A potential customer usually wants to know what are the main feedback about your product and there are lots of ways to do it.
In the SaaS industry, there are now lots of websites that gather customers’ review regarding their experience with multiple products.
For example, if you are looking for live chat software, you can now have a look at g2.com, getapp.com, softwaresuggest.com or saashub.com. They are now totally part of the customers’ lifecycle.
Customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
85% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.
With a great customer service strategy, you can market your services or product through word of mouth, reviews, comments on social media, testimonials and so on. This is way more trustworthy than any ads(and way cheaper too!).
Customer service is important for affordable growth
Scaling growth is hard and when you study the most successful companies, we see a common pattern: they all have one or two channels they are optimizing to perfection.
Most of the time, these channels are effective but cost a lot. Paid acquisition, for example, is a channel that is worth but needs a huge capacity of investments.
Furthermore, what’s the point of investing heavily in acquisition if you can’t serve them the best way. If we look at the AARRR framework, retention is the key. I’ll cover this subject later on.
Customer service is cheaper in different ways: Customer service trigger word of mouth, reduce customer acquisition cost and enhance customer satisfaction.
According to this infographic, the cost of bad customer service is worth $62 billion annually.
Customer service is important for your company to grow
When you offer good customer service, you retain your current customer and gain more customers. The only side effect can be your growth and the troubles that go with it.
With their great customer service strategy, Zappos has been able to make sales of over a billion dollars annually. When digging into the stats, 75% cames from returning customers and 43% came from word of mouth.
Customer service is very powerful when focusing on repeat buyers and I believe every company should have that focus rather working on acquisition.
More than repeat buyer, it can also increase the global lifetime value of your customers which is even greater if you want to invest in acquisition then because it will increase your acquisition cost.
Regarding B2B, great customer service leads to a shorter sales cycle which leads to a lower acquisition cost too.
Live chat has been a huge uplift in customer service industry, too.
More than acquisition, customer service can also help your business to retain your customers. Bain and Company revealed that increasing customer retention rates by 5% could increase profits by 25%
As customer retention is key for every business, the latest technology can help a lot to improve your customer service.
Technology is important for customer service
As the world goes global, customer service has to be open 24/7. Many time people are browsing through your website at night or on weekends and they need an answer to their questions. Are you able to offer this?
Well as technology now provides great tools for customer support, here are a few tools that you’ll need to set in your company to build the perfect customer service.
Customers service reps don’t have to stay in front of their screen all night long. With innovations like live chats, chatbots, knowledge management systems, Customer Data Platform, and other technologies, customer service can be automated.
That’s why I’ve built a list of the modern tools every company should have set in his company to be able to offer the greatest customer service.
Best tools for customer service
Considering the effectiveness of technology regarding customer service, it’s quite surprising to see how companies are missing the step regarding software and tools that can bring performance for customer service.
For example, when talking about live chat customer support, only 24% of companies use a Live chat for customer service. When you know the impact that can have a live chat on support efficiency, this is a huge missed opportunity for companies.
The importance of a knowledge management system for Customer Service
Hubspot tells us that only 43% of companies have knowledge management systems to offer self-service customer service to their customers.
When you know the impact that can have a knowledge base on your customer support efficiency, you can easily understand how your business can take advantage of this software.
Many companies have built some knowledge management systems. That’s why you should take notice of these great knowledge base examples to build your own now!
The importance of co-browsing for customer service
Co-browsing is the act of helping the customer by providing a way to see customers’ screen and take control of the screen if needed.
Co-browsing lets you see instantly the users’ screen and direct him towards his goal. When combined to audio and video call, it’s very powerful when doing customer service.
As this article on Medium explains, users who enjoyed a co-browsing session saw an increase in their profit margin of 7.2%
More than the profit margin, it’s also a way to increase customer satisfaction.
There are multiple ways co-browsing can help your business and increase customers satisfaction rate.
The importance of live chat for customer service
Still wondering if you should set a live chat on your website? Well, there are 93% of companies that have been satisfied when trying to help customers via live chat, as this Hubspot study shows.
It’s still surprising that 76% of companies are not using Live chat to offer the best customer support. Moreover, live chat is also a great way for your company to save money as support case are smaller, which enables agents to handle more conversation and help more customers.
I strongly believe that live chat is a big opportunity for many companies. Following this article, here are the best ways to greet website visitor through a live chat.
Through this article, we’ve reviewed what were the different reasons that led us to think that customer service is important. More than important, it can impact your sales but only if you give your teams the ability to offer a delightful experience. Give your team the right tools to let them succeed at customer service!
This articles is written by Antoine Goret:
Antoine joined Crisp as the head of sales & marketing in January 2019. He now leads marketing, sales & growth strategy. He is regularly writing articles on various blogs, speaker and coach for companies who yearn for inbound success.
AnswerDash's AI-Powered Self-Service Platform Can Help You Improve Customer Service and Overall Customer Experience
Want your customers to share positive feedback about your business and keep coming back for more? Then consider AnswerDash.
AnswerDash’s AI-powered Q&A helps you gather useful data from your customers and turn that information into predictive Q&A that actually answers their questions and solves their pain points directly at their point of need. No confusion, no frustration, and no more failing to meet their expectations.
That way, you can actually start putting your customers first and improving their overall customer experience. Sounds like a win-win.
So what are your waiting for? Learn more here!