Updated: Feb 3
Fifty years ago, customer support was nearly unheard of in business circles. The competition was sparse, and every business had a dedicated set of customers.
However, the scenario today is different. 54% of all customers say there’s an improvement in customer service over the last year itself. With a distinct change in customer mindset and expectations over the years, 48% believe they deserve superior service.
It is vital to understand today's customer’s requirements and fulfill them to their satisfaction. With an exponential increase in competition in every sphere of business, as much as 91% of unhappy customers will leave without lodging any complaint.
By the time businesses can identify the problem, revenues can plummet or even shut down.
Let’s find out exactly why customer support is so crucial:
1. Customer retention vs. acquisition
Do you know that an increase of 5% in customer retention can lead to a 25% increase in profit?
It’s quite logical. Customers who’ve done business with you previously are more likely to trust you. As a result, they spend 67% more on your brands. It has the twin effect of enhancing both your topline and bottom-line profit margins.
Companies that offer sub-standard customer service lose customers all the time. As a result, they have to invest heavily in acquiring new customers. The ‘cost of marketing’ for them increases significantly, which eats away the company’s bottom line profits.
The cost of acquiring new customers can run up to 5X that of retaining and communicating with an existing customer. As a result, US companies are losing more than $135 billion every year due to avoidable brand switching by customers.
2. Customer service is your brand image
Customers in the market lack direct contact with companies. They are unaware of the brand values they uphold and represent. Every business must reach out to the customers and make them see the core values of their hearts.
The first point-of-contact in such an initiative is always the customer support team.
While companies are increasingly focusing on optimum customer satisfaction, the sustainable businesses of tomorrow must aim for something more – providing ‘delighters. They serve to overwhelm customers over and above their expectations and tend to win them over immediately. They tend to become regular customers.
These happy customers help spread the word about your business, professionalism, emphasis, and customer friendliness. It can get you 55% more customers simply based on your reputation!
3. Improve the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
We’ve seen the advantages of customer retention over acquiring new ones. We’ve also noted how a customer will avoid going elsewhere once delighted with the customer service.
This serves to enhance the customer lifetime value of every customer.
So what is CLV? Quite simply, it is the summation of the purchase values made by a customer over their lifetime.
Businesses can benefit tremendously when they have high CLV. The same customers keep coming back, and the frequency of purchases is also high. Businesses can avoid looking at new customers.
With such customers, businesses can make personal recommendations and indulge in upselling and cross-selling as well.
This can provide a terrific boost to the coffers of any company.
4. Competitive advantage
The world is increasingly becoming a single global market, and local businesses are facing intense competition. To survive amidst such cut-throat competition, companies must have a competitive advantage that differentiates them from their peers.
Prompt and effective customer support is one of the best ways to do that.
89% of customers have switched companies after a terrible customer experience. There’s a bigger problem involved with bad customer experience - 4 out of 10 consumers will recommend others to avoid doing business with you.
67% of such instances can be nullified simply by solving problems for the customer the very first time.
That means that you can retain your customers with excellent service and ensure they avoid making the switch to your competitors.
This can have far-reaching implications as well since 68% of customers will reject business with a company once the company has lost them.
The millennials are also ready to pay 21% more on companies that focus and excel in customer service. Therefore, a company that displays proficiency in this field can also expect significant enhancement of revenue generation.
5. Happy customers will find more customers for you.
A recommendation in the business world matters a lot in the long run in maintaining a loyal customer base. A recent survey has proved that people are 4 X more likely to do business with a company if it’s referred by a friend.
Every positively engaged customer can refer to 2.68 friends on average. This means that any business can sustain and generate revenue – even without a proper customer acquisition process. More and more companies today have realized this. They instead emphasize on keeping the existing customers happy and cater to all of their needs to ensure they have a 360-degree experience. Satisfied clients go out of their way to recruit new ones for the company.
To measure your customers’ level of satisfaction with your business, you can use a key customer experience metrics known as Net Promoter Score (NPS).
NPS essentially indicates a customer’s desire to recommend your product/service or brand to others. It’s measured by asking a simple survey question, such as "On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends and colleagues?”.
As shown in the scale above, NPS classifies customers into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.
Promoters are happy and loyal customers who would love to spread positive word of mouth. Passives are satisfied customers, vulnerable to the marketing influence of your competitors. Detractors are unhappy customers who may consider advising people against doing business with you.
After you survey your customer base, take the percentage of Promoters, and subtract the percentage of Detractors to determine your NPS. The NPS can vary from -100 (everyone is a Detractor) to 100 (everyone is a Promoter).
NPS is a simple yet strong indicator of other vital key performance indicators (KPIs) like customer churn, average spend, and customer lifetime value, all of which are key to increasing revenue and overall business growth.
Reach out to your Promoters and encourage them to spread a good word, and contact Detractors to understand where you’re lacking and what you can do to convert them into Promoters.
A tool like Hotjar is great to store your NPS survey results, track fluctuations in the score, and get insightful feedback from customers on what needs to be improved.
It’s a good idea to measure your NPS at least once every six months so you know how satisfied your customer base is. Keep monitoring your score for six months and if you note a 5-10% increase in your NPS, you’re surely heading in the right direction and progressing towards building a successful business.
6. Employees are your customers too.
Every business has two types of customers – internal and external. While we all know about the external ones, the internal customers, also known as the company employees, are just as important.
Richard Branson once said, ‘Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your customers.’
Company-centric, knowledgeable employees are in high demand globally across every industry. They can leave your company and do a fabulous job with one of your competitors. Making new recruitments is an expensive process. Then there’s always the risk of bad hires. That’s why it’s essential to appreciate and value your employees.
Keeping your employees happy can be one of the best investments you can make as a business owner. It is crucial to engage them, take an interest in their career graphs, nudge them down the right job roles, and value their perspectives. Businesses need to train their employees to deliver their best performance even in times of remote working.
Companies can make use of the various employee training software in the market today aimed specifically at that. It can not only improve the skills of the employees and streamline outputs but can also help companies serve their customers better.
As businesses are becoming more and more specialized, there is a significant stress on the pursuit of competitive advantage in the marketplace. Businesses can differentiate either in their service or product offerings or in the way they offer them.
Customer stickiness is decreasing for companies worldwide. In such a scenario, 96% of customers opine that customer service is what makes them loyal to a brand.
Companies with excellent customer service also end up earning nearly 6X more revenue. With stiff competition globally, it is getting challenging to separate companies based merely on their product or services. The new focus is on how companies offer their services, rather than what.
90% of global CEOs’ also believe that it’s the customers that have the most significant impact on business. It’s time to realize that customer support is at the heart of success.
Author Bio -
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.