If you have a fledgling business that you’re just trying to get off the ground, or a venture that has hit a plateau, one of the best ways to turn things around sales-wise is to really hone in on the customer-service experience you provide.
However, this means more than just being pleasant when dealing with potential clients, or answering the phone or emails quickly; it involves thinking about what you offer customers at every step along the way in the browsing and buying process. Read on for some of the key ways that you can really increase the experience you offer consumers today, and enjoy sales growth as a result.
Know Who Your Ideal Customers Are and What They’re After
First up, it’s important to be clear on exactly who your ideal clients are so that you know how best to serve them. You should understand the demographics of your target market, plus their motivations, needs, lifestyle, shopping preferences, preferred forms of contact, and more.
Once you know this kind of information, you can then examine your customer service and think about how best to design it so that it aligns with the desires of your customers. For example, think about where, how and when people will want to get in touch with your business, and what they might need.
- Do your customers want to shop in person generally, or online?
- Does your target market prefer to make a phone call, send an email, utilize a live chat conversation, pose a question on social media, or engage with your customer service team in another way?
- Do you need to have support staff available 24 hours a day, or is a more typical nine-to-five support option enough?
- How much information do your customers need about products and services, and do they prefer that information to be in the form of text, videos, pictures, or some other format?
Make notes about the various times and ways that customers want to interact with your business, from the first time they might ever need to get in touch, to the after-sales period when they might need some assistance with their purchase. From there, tailor all processes to suit the people you’re targeting. This will get potential customers more engaged with your business, and make it much more likely that they will finalize their purchases too.
Provide Payment Choice, Security and Ease
Next, if you want to keep your clients happy you need to carefully consider the experience you provide when it comes to payments. For example, in this day and age, people expect to have a variety of choices when they go to finalize transactions. They prefer to have the chance to select the type of payment that suits their needs best at the time of purchase.
As such, to provide the best service possible to your customers, you should try to expand on the payment methods you currently offer. In addition to accepting cash and credit or debit card transactions, for example, you could also allow shoppers to pay by gift card, PayPal, loyalty points, mobile wallets, individual or recurring ACH payment processing, virtual currency, pay-by-phone solutions, electronic checks, and the like.
Incorporate Self-Service Support Options
Another good way to increase the customer experience you provide to people is to incorporate self-service support options into your business. Consumers want to be able to get answers to their questions, complete tasks, and source information at any time of the day or night they choose, without having to wait to hear from a company’s customer service reps. As such, self-service tools are an important factor in saving people time and energy, and ensuring that they are more satisfied.
For starters, it’s important to have a comprehensive website that customers can go to when they need help. It pays to incorporate dynamic FAQs and Instant Answers. Dynamic FAQs are searchable and make use of Natural Language Search technology to help people locate the information they need in a hurry.
The tech works by analyzing the questions typed in by users as they go, and then presenting people with the most relevant answers. This allows customers to get what they they’re after quickly, so that they can then go ahead and buy the product or service they’re interested in, or solve some type of problem.
Instant Answers are also helpful in customer support. They are designed to allow people to serve themselves by directing them straight to the information they require. Using semantic search, Instant Answer technology analyzes typed-in text (usually inputted into help-desks), and then presents relevant content.
Another self-service option that’s worth considering is Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology. IVR is used when people interact directly with computers via the phone, through speech-recognition software or programs which interpret the tones sent from a keypad.
Interactive Voice Response technology increases the customer experience because it means that, when people call your business, they can be quickly directed to the right person, without having to wait for long or be transferred from department to department.
IVR is also used to allow people to make a fast payment over the phone at any time of day or night, or to find out a variety of basic account and other information when they require it (such as account balances, bill due dates, business trading hours, payment options, and the like).