05292017

4 Ways to Optimize Your Customer Service (and Boost Conversions in the Process)

Image credit: ESB Professional

Use these four simple tips to take your customer service to the next level.

Today’s businesses are obsessed with conversions—and that means they should be obsessed with their customer service. But too many companies fail to make the connection between the way they treat their customers and customers’ willingness to purchase their products. In case you’re among the group who remains unconvinced, consider this: One survey found companies that invest heavily in customer service report an average conversion rate that’s 11 percent higher than their less-customer-focused counterparts. Other research has found customers are willing to pay more from, remain loyal to, and refer other people to companies with great service. In short? If you want to boost your conversion rates, you’d do well to improve your customer service. Here’s how to make it happen.

Minimize customers’ effort.

Customers should have to put in as little work as possible to get their questions answered, overcome any purchasing friction, and buy your product or service. That’s why it’s important to consider all the ways customers can interact with your brand and make sure you have customer service options in place to meet them where they are. To that end, add a detailed FAQ page to your site and offer support across every medium possible—i.e., over the phone, via live chat or email, on social media, and so on. No matter the medium, make sure your hours are convenient and that you respond promptly to all customer inquiries. Make it easy for customers to communicate across these channels, and make sure you have appropriate systems in place to track a given ticket across multiple communication channels.

Invest in your customer service team.

Customer service reps are notoriously overworked and underpaid. When you consider the importance of customer service, this is a pretty ludicrous set-up. Your service reps have the potential to make or break your relationship with every potential and returning customer, so it’s critical to invest in them. Keep your customer service team members at the top of their game by compensating them well, maintaining reasonable workloads, giving them functional service tools, and providing them with regular professional development opportunities to enhance their listening, empathy, patience, communication, and follow-up skills.

Advocate for your customers.

Customers don’t want to feel like you’re only interested in them if they’re buying. They want to feel like you get them and you’re on their side. That’s why it’s important to demonstrate a true understanding of and concern for your customers via your both your branding and your actions. For example, casket maker Willow & Werth makes customer advocacy a core part of its mission by providing better-quality caskets for a lower price than most funeral homes, informing customers about their options when it comes to purchasing a casket, and providing customer service that is sensitive to the emotional and logistical difficulties of funeral planning. No matter your industry, there are ways for you to enhance your customers’ knowledge, provide them with unique resources, or simply help them feel a little more understood. Seeking out these opportunities will help you stand apart from the pack.

Solicit feedback.

Customer service is a two-way street. In addition to getting their questions answered, customers should have opportunities for sharing their feelings about your company and your customer service. To that end, consider sending out customer surveys, asking for feedback after purchases and/or customer service interactions, and so on. Just as important: Really listen to what customers have to say. If customers repeatedly share similar sentiments in surveys and on social media and these sentiments go ignored, that’s not going to endear you to your clientele. But responding proactively and positively to customers’ experiences? That can develop customers for life. Customer service is never set in stone. Instead, it’s an evolving process that functions best when it’s tailored to each individual customer. Putting these pieces in place will provide you with the foundation you need to continue enhancing and refining a customer service program that nets you happy customers and boosts conversions in the process.

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