Having a stellar customer service department is the key to keeping customers happy and your small business in business. According to a Microsoft report on the state of customer service, 69% of people think customer service is the most important factor for brand loyalty, and 59% of people have stopped doing business with a brand because of a poor customer service experience.¹

As a small business looking to grow, you can’t afford not to have great customer service.

How to Use Your Customer Service Department to Grow Your Business

If you’re interested in growing your brand, consider these 5 ways to supercharge your customer support department:

1. Create an Online Help Desk and Monitor Support Tickets

You’re most likely using an online ticketing system to manage customer requests and issues. If you’re not, you’re missing out on important customer information. Every help desk makes it easy to run metrics to see what people are reaching out about and how often, like how many times people couldn’t figure out how to reset a password or had a question about how to return an item.

Once you figure out why people are reaching out to your support team, you can begin adding a knowledge base to your help desk to give customers the option to solve their own problems.

For example, if your customers don’t know how to pay their bills online, show them via a video tutorial that they can view within your help desk. Do customers have questions about your terms? Make them easily accessible. The more information and tools you provide to your customers, the less they will need to reach out to your customer service team, and the happier they will be!

2. Be Available 24/7

Nothing says you love your customers more than being there for them. Whether it’s in the middle of the night, on Christmas morning, or during the final drive of the Super Bowl, if you’re there when they need you, they’ll love you.

However, if your small business is like most small businesses, chances are you can’t afford to be available 24/7, and that’s okay. Instead of trying to make it work by answering all the calls yourself, outsource your calls to live virtual receptionists who can be available when you can’t. Call centers are generally pretty affordable, many offering multiple cost-effective plan options that can be tailored to fit any budget.

Services provided by call centers can include:

  • Screening calls
  • Dispatching urgent messages
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Providing tier 1 help desk troubleshooting
  • Processing orders
  • Providing hotline services

Depending on your outsourcing budget, a call center can be a stand-alone live operator support hub, or it can be set up to log requests and triage them for your own support team to tackle.

3. Offer Multiple Ways for Customers to Reach You

Giving your customers multiple channels to reach you on is another way to beef up your customer support efforts. After all, not everyone feels comfortable talking on the phone, and not everyone has access to a computer. The more accessible your customer service team is, the better your customers will feel about working with your brand, which is what makes multi-channel support so important.

Aside from being available via phone and email, you can also implement live chat and social media channels to broaden your support efforts. Since 47% of consumers use between 3-5 channels for customer service, the more you offer your customers, the better.

4. Ask for Feedback and Use It

Asking your customers what they think about your business and how they think you’re handling things is the best way to fix whatever’s not working. Considering that 78% of people have a more favorable view of brands that ask for customer feedback, showing your customers that you care about what they think is more important than it may seem, even if you may not always like the answer.

You can ask for feedback by:

  • Sending out surveys each time a support case closes, in which your customers would be able to answer questions and leave comments.
  • Ask customers while they are on the phone through saying things like “Were you happy with the assistance you received from me?” or “What could I have done to improve your experience today?” While the customer may retort with something unrealistic, at least they’re telling you something.
  • If someone calls to cancel, a good approach is not to make it hard for them to leave, but to ask them their honest opinion of your company, their experience, and their reason for leaving. You can then use that feedback to make changes that will hopefully decrease the number of cancellations going forward, and may even get old customers back in your pipeline.

5. Offer Rewards and Give Gifts to Customers

Who doesn’t love free stuff? When companies offer reward programs that give customers the chance to earn cool gifts or discounts, they’re more likely to delight customers by keeping them engaged and happy.

If your business doesn’t have a reward system, there are other ways to say “thank you” to your customers without breaking the bank, like:

  • Send branded merchandise like shirts or notepads periodically to surprise customers.
  • Mail out “thank you” cards with hand-written notes from your support reps.
  • Reward customers after they complete feedback surveys.

Your customers will not only feel special that you were thinking of them, but the token of appreciation may also encourage them to stick with your brand even when the going gets tough.

Gabby Rolette is from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and manages the marketing department of Specialty Answering Service. She loves reading and writing, and when she’s not at work you can find her helping animals or spending time with her nieces and nephews.

1. Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report

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