When you head to a fast food restaurant for dinner, you generally expect to get affordable food and reasonable customer service. You likely don’t expect to witness a gleaming example of an employee going above and beyond. Diners who decided to enjoy dinner at a Chicago McDonalds in September of 2015 saw just that, however.
Despite the fact that it was the height of dinner rush in this particular downtown McDonalds, a profoundly thoughtful employee temporary closed his line to cut up a meal for a disabled customer who needed this uncommon service.
This example of singularly thoughtful customer support isn’t entirely unique. While it was distinctive enough to garner a viral amount of sharing on social media, it’s not something that other businesses can’t or shouldn’t replicate.
Quality customer service interactions are ones in which customers are truly supported by employees. They are no longer exchanges in which customer service representatives behave like used car salesmen, pouncing on anyone who asks for help in hopes of getting more dough from their pockets.
This doesn’t mean, however, quality customer service can’t actually bring more money into your business. In actuality, there are a number of ways that providing strong customer support can prove profitable. Here are a few:
1. Build a strong base of repeat customers.
The most obvious benefit of providing great customer service is that, in doing so, you have the opportunity build a loyal base of customers. Customers who are supremely satisfied by the service they received (or see others receive, as in the case of the social media documented McDonalds event) will return due to the law of reciprocity. Simply by making customers feel like they matter with support or a little bit of extra attention can make them happy to do something nice for you.
For most customers “doing something nice for a business” means spending more of their hard-earned money there.
Keeping customers instead of continually having to round up new ones will save you a substantial amount of money. Studies show that it costs between six and seven times more marketing dollars to get a new customer than to retain a current one. This means that any money you have to spend on keeping your customers happy will almost certainly end up saving you money in the long run.
2. Create up and cross-selling opportunities.
When your employees provide customer support, they have additional face time with customers. This can prove financially beneficial if customer support reps can use this time to up or cross-sell.
By taking advantage of the friendly relationships built while troubleshooting, your employees can encourage customers to pick up other odds and ends to pair with the products and service they’ve already purchased. And that’s more money in the bank.
3. Increase referral counts.
Customers who feel supported from start to finish are more likely to speak positively about your business to others. And we all know how powerful word-of-mouth advertising can be. This unsolicited praise can translate long-term to sales as you convert those referrals into loyal customers.
Quick tip: To encourage existing customers to refer new business, consider adding an incentive to serve as helpful motivation for customers to share their satisfaction with friends and family members.
4. Facilitate the close of an initial sale.
Supporting your customers from entry to exit can substantially decrease the likelihood that would-be buyers walk away empty handed. Something as simple as not being able to find the fitting rooms, for example, can dissuade some from making a purchase.
Think this only applies to brick-and-mortar businesses? Think again. A study found that nearly half of customers said they would abandon online shopping carts if their questions weren’t answered immediately. This could translate to a major loss for your business. So physical and virtual business alike must do what they can to ensure customers have a seamless shopping experience.
5. Keep social media clean.
When a contemporary customer is unhappy, that customer can easily share his or her upset with the world with just a few keystrokes. Because would-be customers commonly consult social media before making purchase decisions, keeping your online image squeaky clean through the provision of quality customer service is a must.
“Squeaky clean” doesn’t mean you never have a complaint or issue (or that you delete the ones that you receive). It does mean that you treat complaints and troubleshooting via social media with care, working to resolve and respond to the issue as quickly as possible and gain a happy customer in the process.
Now for your input. In what ways has your business cultivated quality customer support and yielded sales in the process?