By Katy Dormer of Desk.com
As a CMO of a small business, you certainly have your work cut out for you. You need to build a breakthrough brand despite entrenched competition. You need to grow pipeline exponentially on a shoestring budget. You need to recruit a world class team to accomplish your goals. With everything you have on your plate, customer service may seem like the last thing you want to worry about. Wrong! Awesome customer service can be the thing that sets your company apart from the rest — not to mention its glorious effects on your bottom line and reputation. Here are just a few of the ways customer support can aid your marketing efforts.
It’s often said that it’s cheaper to keep existing customers than to find new ones. (Some even estimate that acquiring customers costs 6-7x more!) And it’s true: bad customer service is a key driver of churn. The U.S. Small Business Administration claims 68 percent of customers leave because they’re upset with the treatment they’ve received — and you can’t afford that. It’s critical to make support a priority so you keep all the great customers you are bringing in the door through your marketing efforts.
Word Of Mouth
When today’s hyperconnected customers defect, they don’t do it quietly. Every opinion and experience is amplified on the social web with as many as 31 percent of people posting online after they’ve have a bad experience. With the average Twitter user having more than 200 followers, negative “word of mouth” has the potential to reach a lot of people. Not only do you need to make every experience great, but you also need to be proactive about addressing experiences that aren’t. Failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15 percent increase in churn, and nobody wants that.
Customer service isn’t just about retaining customers. It can also help you drive sales. Fifty-five percent of customers will abandon an online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer, so it’s imperative to get them what they need, when they want it. Actions as simple as adding relevant support center links to your web pages or integrating support can keep customers from abandoning transactions. You can also give your service team the ability to manage opportunities and sell product to customers who are in a buying frame of mind.
Improved Customer Experiences
The days when companies battled primarily on price or product are over. Eighty-nine percent of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of experience (versus 36 percent four years ago). But only 11 percent of companies actually deliver an outstanding one. Support is one of the key drivers of customer experience, so there’s a huge opportunity for companies that focus on support to uplevel their offerings — and to outmaneuver the 89 percent of companies that are falling short.
Address Expanded Competition
It used to be that you defined your competition by product category. If you made tissues, for example, your competitors were Kleenex and Puffs. Today when customers evaluate their experiences with you, they aren’t just comparing you to others in your product category. They are comparing you to Nordstrom, Amazon, and Uber, and any other product or service they have a relationship with. If you want to win with customers you need to offer the same level of service as their favorite brands.
Targeted Marketing Campaigns
One of the most unrealized benefits of a customer support solution is that you have an incredible amount of data about your business right at your fingertips. Your support team can help you get to know customers better, understanding their likes and dislikes. Especially if you integrate with CRM or other apps (like customer survey tools). Not only can you help your product team build the products that customers really want, but you can also more effectively target your campaigns.
Customer support can be the secret weapon that helps your marketing team increase sales, retain more customers, and offer better experiences. It’s time to start prioritizing customer support at your small business.
Katy Dormer is Chief Marketing Officer at Desk.com, the all-in-one customer service app for fast-growing businesses. Katy oversees the marketing organization at Desk.com, where she is focused on driving market leadership, brand value and awareness, demand generation and the development of strategic events and communications.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.