You and your customers are now just a simple click away from each other in this increasingly connected world. But, you know who else is just a click away? Your competitors. If your customers suffer through a stressful experience with your business, they can be on a competitor’s site entering their credit card information in less time than it takes to leave a scathing review.
When your business is small, keeping your customer service top notch is relatively easy. The fewer people involved in the process, the fewer chances of having a bad slip up. And the founder will almost certainly be heavily involved in those early startup stages.
However, rapidly growing startups have the challenge of keeping their customer service at a top level while their operations are expanding and they are bringing more people on board. Companies that aren’t able to keep their customer service in peak condition are in danger of losing customers.
A study from 2016 found that negative customer service experiences are up to 12 times more impactful on a person than positive ones and even a single negative experience can completely change a person’s mind about a company, with 60 percent of respondents saying they have failed to complete a purchase because of a bad customer service experience.
Rapid expansion at the expense of customer service is something many small businesses learn the hard way. Signing up new clients can be downright addictive as you have visions of growth and increased revenue dancing in your head. But, when you sign up too many new clients, you risk inadvertently neglecting your current clients.
When you increase your client base, you automatically increase the demand for your company’s attention. The number of calls and emails your company receives will increase. Your clients will find themselves on hold for longer than they (or probably you) would deem appropriate and emails may not be answered in a timely manner. What you may not consider when signing up a bunch of new clients is that you might be unprepared to handle the amount of new business you’re bringing on.
If complaints start piling up about customer service, you also might think the answer is going to be as simple as bringing on new team members. But it’s not.
While bringing on new staff will certainly help, you’ll need to train them. Many of our own clients have found that animated videos are ideal for training both new and existing staff on not only customer service, but on the entire corporate culture of the company.
Speaking of corporate culture …
While bringing on more staff and upgrading your customer management software to help with the increased number of clients and their demands certainly helps, changing the culture of your company is really the biggest key to making sure your customer service keeps up with your rapid expansion.
In order for growing companies to remain successful, your customers have to be a central focus for everyone in the company. That obviously starts with the leader. When the CEO or founder makes an effort to be customer focused, it sends a clear message to everyone on the team.
When implementing this cultural shift toward customer service, follow these three steps:
Stop treating customer service as an island.
You’ve heard that no person is an island, but that also holds true for customer service. You can’t just have a “customer service department” anymore. That just doesn’t cut it these days. Every person from those in the call center to those running the call center to people who don’t even know where the call center is located should receive customer service training. Even if employees don’t deal with customers and clients directly on a regular basis, they should still feel comfortable if they ever do need to contact a client directly.
In maybe the most extreme example, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has sent thousands of managers and employees from all levels of the company to attend Amazon call center training so they can experience firsthand what it’s like to deal directly with customers. (That included Bezos himself, by the way.)
Stress the value in making each customer feel like your only customer.
The 2016 Consumer Experience report released by NICE Systems and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that customers are not using social media for customer service as much in the last few years as they used to. This is at least in part because businesses aren’t checking their social media as much as they used to.
You can easily stand out by taking the time to at least acknowledge customers. Completely ignoring them is never a viable option, even if you are struggling to keep up with messages. Many customer service issues cannot be dealt with immediately, but they can all be recognized right away and those customers can be reassured that a solution is on its way.
Use the right tools.
Bleeding over from the last point, you should take advantage of tools like social media to engage with customers. Like it or not, we live in a world of immediacy. Waiting is akin to torture in a world where many of your competitors are offering live chat customer service. A SproutSocial study found that about one-third of customers polled expected companies to respond to complaints on social media within a half-hour. That’s the kind of immediacy we’re talking about. Not only do you have to devote enough employees to the task of social media customer service, but you have to provide them with the right tools, like quality CRM software, a good phone system and quality training.
There will never be a perfect formula to follow when scaling your customer service to match your rapid growth. But, by instilling a culture of customer service that espouses dedication to every customer you have and supplying the tools to enact this culture, you can make sure your customer service never lags behind your expansion. Click here to schedule an appointment with WizMotions to see how we can help you make the perfect training video for your staff.