There’s simply nothing more important than customer service.
Both your business’ online reputation and its success are dependent on the kind of customer service you offer.
Let’s face it, customer service is a key part of your success, both online and offline. No matter how much money you spend on advertising, or how many man-hours you spend handing out flyers or hosting community events, none of that matters without great customer service. At the end of the day, your daily interactions with your customers are truly what determines what people say about your online and in-person to their friends and family.
When you provide great customer service for the people you serve, it makes asking for reviews — or simply reminding your customers that leaving feedback for you online is an option — all the easier. It will also help you rest easy in knowing that, regardless of which customer decides to give you a review, you’ve given it your all and are more likely to end up with a positive, five-star review than the kind of review that makes you cringe and want to hide it. And the more reviews your business gets, the more visible it will be because reviews play a role in SEO (search engine optimization).
8 Reasons Why Customer Service is Essential to Your Business’ Success
#1. Satisfy your customers.
While, ultimately, no one is in business out of the goodness of their heart — we all need to make money to eat and live comfortably after all — but any business that’s worth its salt aims to meet their clients’ needs first and foremost. And the very best way to do so — and to stand out while you’re doing it — is to make customer service your number one priority.
When you open the door to building relationships and communication with your customers by providing great customer service, you’ll also be opening the door to more honest feedback, which will only help to further the cause to satisfy your customers’ needs. Customers who feel more comfortable with you will be more comfortable sharing their thoughts with you as well, and you can use that feedback to ensure long-term relationships with existing customers, as well to attract new customers.
#2. Reap the benefits of repeat business.
Acquiring new customers is important for every business. Your business needs to stay relevant, and you want your brand to spring to mind when consumers in your community have a need you can meet. But here’s the thing about acquiring new customers — it’s not cheap, or quick for that matter. Whether you’re spreading the word about your business through a giant billboard on the side of the interstate, Google ads or television commercials, that sort of advertising may be well worth the money but it doesn’t come cheap. In fact, it costs approximately an average of five times more to attract a new customer to your business than it is to keep an existing one.
Not only does it cost a lot more to acquire new customers, but new customers — on average — won’t spend nearly as much money as your lifelong customers will. One study found that a repeat apparel customer will spend an average of 67 percent more in months 31 to 36 of shopping with a business than in the first six months combined. As a result, another study found that if a business can increase its customer retention rate by just 5 percent, it can yield a 25 percent increase in profit.
#3. Build an online reputation that speaks for itself.
The sheer number of businesses that come up when someone googles “restaurant near me” or “electrician near me” is overwhelming, and when there are pages and pages of plumbers to choose from, how could anyone possibly determine which one is which and which one is right for their needs? The one and only way for someone to differentiate between the many businesses online is through their online reputation.
Building and maintaining your business’ online reputation is not something that happens overnight and not something you can just set and forget. It’s something that you build and maintain over time through lots of consistent hard work. Much of this work happens online, but what it largely boils down to is the kind of service you provide for your customers face to face.
Providing above-and-beyond customer service is a great way to encourage your customers to write reviews for your business online (it doesn’t hurt to give them a little reminder as well), but it’s also a great way to protect your business’ online reputation. That’s because people who have a negative experience with your business are a whole lot more likely to write a review than people who have had a positive experience. In other words, you only have to mess up a little to get a one-star review, but you have to really go out of your way to compel a customer to leave a five-star review without any prompting. This means that, by making outstanding customer service a priority in your business, you’ll not only prevent negative reviews from tarnishing your reputation but when one does come up, all of your many positive reviews will drown it out.
#4. It reduces employee turnover.
Just as a commitment to providing fantastic customer service leads to happier, more satisfied customers, it also leads to happier, more satisfied employees. The fact of the matter is that most employees want to be seen as professional and capable and to satisfy the customers they serve on a personal basis. When a company treats its customers like pure gold, it creates a sense of empowerment in their employees and makes them proud. Additionally, no one likes to be the focus of a customer’s dissatisfaction or to be unfairly mistreated because of a company’s reputation for bad customer service. All of this leads to increased employee satisfaction, which leads to employees working harder and helps to reduce employee turnover.
Retaining more employees means that you’ll have to spend less money on attracting new employees, going through the hiring process — including paying for background checks — and training employees. It also means that your customers will consistently be served by people who have more experience and are better equipped to handle their needs, which will, in turn, lead to even better customer service in the future.
#5. Customers are willing to pay more for extraordinary service.
Your competitors probably offer a lot of the same things you do in terms of the services or goods that you provide, and for most businesses, the only real way to stand out is in the kind of customer service they offer. A lot of businesses may not think that that means much to their customers, but the reality is that consumers value customer service quite a bit — so much so that they are often willing to pay more for it.
A survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay as much as 25 percent more for the same product or service if they also get better service. Not only that, but half of all consumers also feel compelled to spend more with a business after they’ve had a positive customer service experience. The best part is that all it takes is one out-of-the-ordinary experience to make a lasting impact on a customer.
#6. You can’t buy word of mouth.
When someone needs a roofer or a financial advisor, the first place they’ll look is likely online, but this doesn’t mean that word of mouth is dead — far from it in fact. When someone gets good service from a business, they tell their friends and family about it. Ninety-seven percent of customers will tell others, and that’s not a number you can easily ignore.
Although most people trust online reviews as much as they trust a referral from a friend, even online reviews aren’t quite as effective as word of mouth. Even if consumers’ needs are already being met by a business, 50 percent of them will be willing to make the switch for better customer service.
Not only is word of mouth the most effective form of advertising a business can have, it’s also one of the only free forms of advertisement out there. And the best, and possibly the worst, part of all is that word of mouth isn’t something you can buy no matter how much you may want to. The only way to generate word of mouth for your business is by earning it through exemplary customer service.
#7. Increase customer loyalty.
When you provide incredible customer service, it leads to customers who are more satisfied and more willing to remain loyal to your business. That means that whenever your customer needs a product or service you provide, they won’t waste their time by relying on your competitors or looking for other businesses; they’ll just turn to you.
As we’ve already mentioned in this article, customer loyalty leads to an increase in profits because long-term customers are more likely to spend more with a business they trust than new customers are with a business they’re in the process of getting to know. Customer loyalty also leads to referrals and reviews, which heavily impact your business’ on- and off-line reputation. The bottom line is that customer loyalty is worth its weight in gold, and the only way to get it is by providing the kind of service that your customers will remember.
#8. Reduce the chance of business failure.
The sad fact is that the vast majority of businesses will fail within 10 years of opening their doors — 96 percent of businesses in fact. And although there is a wide range of reasons why businesses don’t make it to their 11th year, the problems that can arise from providing poor customer service can’t be overlooked.
By simply focusing on customer service day in and day out, you can avoid (or at least reduce the chance of having to deal with) many different issues that can lead to business failure, including a bad reputation, a high employee turnover rate, profitability issues and even lawsuits.
Become a Top Rated Local® business today!
As we mentioned, focusing on customer service is a must for the success of your business, which includes its online reputation. And when you take the lead and become a Top Rated Local business, you can better show off your customer service skills online (in how you respond to your online reviews) and attract even more new customers to your brand. The fact is that, when it comes to your business’ online reputation, there’s no better first step to take than becoming a Top Rated Local business, and the absolute best part is that signing up is free! Get started today.