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Providing good customer service is a great way to ensure your customers’ continued patronage. After all, a happy customer is a loyal customer, while an unhappy one is a customer that’s gone forever. Customer service allows your business to interact and connect with its customers and clients, address their needs, and collect information on how you can further improve your services or products.
That said, what kind of customer service should your company have? There are many types of activities that can be offered under this umbrella of services, and each has its pros and cons. Here are some of the most common activities a customer service team or department carries out:
Answering customer inquiries. Even if you provide physical and online resources on the products or services you offer, you can still expect many questions from your customers. Promptly answering inquiries through phone, email, social media platforms, and other channels can help attract the attention of potential clients and convert individuals into paying customers. This service also helps create opportunities for upselling your products and services.
Nearly all companies require this type of customer service, whether they sell products or provide services themselves.
Providing customer support. This type of customer service function involves helping the customer once they’ve paid for your product or service. Customer support is often concerned with the following:
- Delivering the product or service to the client’s address
- Helping them set up the product
- Answering further inquiries about the product or service
- Adjusting the product or service to fit the requirements of the customer
Unlike customer service, customer support doesn’t offer opportunities to upsell. Customer support is considered an unnecessary expense on the company’s part as it is basically going the extra mile to provide satisfactory service to the client. However, this function sustains customer loyalty. It shows that the company is not just concerned about getting the client’s money but also serving the customers. It humanizes the company and endears it to its client base. Because of this, customers will be more than willing to bring their business back to the company next time, and they are more likely to spread news about their good experience to other potential clients like family and friends.
Receiving customer feedback. Collecting customer feedback is another major function under customer service. The collected information can be used to improve the products or services the company provides. This function is often done alongside customer support. At the same time, it can also be carried out as an after-sales support routine, where the customer service team calls up the customer and asks for direct feedback after the client has purchased the product or service.
Getting customer feedback allows the company to be proactive when it comes to identifying its shortcomings and addressing them. It’s useful in identifying and pinpointing issues such as workflow bottlenecks, problem employees, or quality control issues that may have been missed or ignored. It allows the company to refine its products and services, as well as dramatically decrease causes of customer dissatisfaction.
While it’s generally recommended that all companies indulge in this specific function, startups and smaller businesses, more than the others, can benefit greatly from it. This is because this function allows them to find out their weaknesses and immediately resolve them before the said weaknesses hamper their growth.
Direct upselling. While direct upselling is more closely associated to marketing, it is more often carried out by the customer service team. Direct upselling through customer service can be done through:
- Recommending a different product or service if the customer’s first choice seems to be unfit for their needs or demands
- Recommending a better product as a way to ‘reward’ the customer’s loyalty, adding freebies and exclusive offerings to make the offer more tempting to the customer
- Calling the customer directly to advertise a different product or service in lieu of an aftersales support call or feedback request call
The importance of this customer service function is obvious; it helps set the spotlight on the company’s more expensive offerings and provides opportunities to earn more revenue. Take note, though, that overdoing this can have a detrimental effect on customer satisfaction. Big companies may see a strong upselling program to be worth the risk, as they can probably deal with its negative effects. Smaller companies and startups, however, are advised to go about this more carefully.
Social media interaction. A company’s social media pages now also serve as customer support/service pages. These pages allow them to interact with their customers and automatically provide assistance regarding their products or services. Obviously, a customer service team can man this page and provide customer service and support and gather customer feedback.
Providing customer service may seem like a huge manpower and financial expense, but it’s all worth it in the end, as it ensures that your target market – your customers – will always be there to support your business. Consider outsourcing your company’s customer service in order to enjoy reduced overhead and labor costs and added flexibility for your in-house team. Find out the cost of outsourcing customer service to the Philippines and other important information that will make the task easier by reading Outsource Accelerator’s guides and articles about the topic.