Customer service, or lack thereof, can make or break a business. Implementing some customer support best practices can help ensure success for small and midsized businesses. Follow these three recommendations to create a celebrated customer support system.
Employ the Right People
Hiring the right people from the start can help your business set the foundation for a strong customer support system. Understand firmly what your company stands for and what you set out to accomplish, and consider that angle when you implement your hiring strategy. This will help you attract the best customer service candidates to fit your culture and needs. According to Entrepreneur, "the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the cost of a bad hire can equal 30 percent of the employee's potential first-year earnings." Considering whether the candidate aligns with your customer service strategy and values can help you avoid these costs in the future.
Part of delivering exemplary customer service is being available to respond efficiently to customer requests. As more consumers become accustomed to social media, they are expecting faster service responses. According to a Lithium-commissioned study by Millard Brown Digital, 53 percent of those surveyed expect a business to respond to their Twitter outreach in less than an hour; 72 percent expect the same response time if the issue is a complaint. "When companies don't meet these lofty response expectations, 38 percent feel more negative about the brand and a full 60 percent will take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction," the study notes.
Use multiple channels, such as phone, email and social media to keep communications as open as possible to help promote customer service on demand. Keeping track of customers' preferred mode of communication is also helpful. Cloud solutions, such as virtual call centers, are also available for businesses that have difficulty taking on customer demands.
Proper training is often an integral part of your employees' development. Not only is it important to train your employees at the beginning of employment, it is also important to educate them on an ongoing basis. Investing in employee development can pay off down the road. According to the Huffington Post, businesses that train their employees benefit from "24 percent higher profit margins than those who spend less on training." Therefore, if resources permit, proper training can allow your business to grow. Further, training is an opportunity to receive feedback and make incremental improvements over time to help your employees deliver the best customer service possible.
Follow these customer support best practices and you can set yourself on a clearer path to creating a customer support system that benefits you now and into the future.
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