The Changing Face of Customer Service
By Jane Garfinkel - Review Response Specialist
Businesses work hard to prioritize the customer during regular hours, but is this true after their employees have left the store? With the advent of the internet, customers have the power to interact with businesses at all hours of the day. This has changed what true customer service looks like, moving it beyond the confines of a brick and mortar store. Small businesses have the power to compensate for these changes, and even use them to their advantage.
The Stakes of Great Customer Service
Business owners don’t need to be told that customer service is important. Just a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% increase in profit. What they may need to be reminded of, is that customer service no longer begins and ends in the store. More and more, customers are interacting with your company online. That’s where they decide to invest in your business and where they can be turned into lifelong customers.
Moreover, 77% of consumers are likely to recommend a company if they’ve received great customer service. And they aren’t just telling their coworkers about their experience, they’re posting about it online to an audience of millions. Since 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much an in-person recommendation, these reviews matter.
Virtual Customer Service
So what does this mean? You need to up your virtual service game. A car dealership can service thousands of cars a month and work hard for hundreds of sales. With all the effort that goes into making sure repairs go smoothly and deals are closed, there are not a lot of resources left over to properly monitor and respond to customers who leave their feedback online. Even for the busiest small business, there are two simple but effective ways to provide customers with exceptional online service.
One) Customers must have easy online access to your company. All of your social media should be clearly linked and contact information highlighted. This must be updated regularly: no dead links or bounced emails allowed. Customers should feel that your business is truly available and even eager to talk to them. A reputation management service like this one from Podium is a convenient way to engage with potential customers. It allows website visitors to talk to representatives via text, getting them the information they need and your business a sales or service lead.
Two) Responding to reviews online is imperative. Reviews are just another conversation with the customer; neglecting them is neglecting potential business. Customers recognize this too: over half of them expect businesses to respond within a week. To put it simply: not answering online reviews is bad customer service. A dependable review monitoring and response service is the easiest way to provide customers with the same quality service on review sites that they receive in-store. By enlisting an outside service you are taking one extra item off your staff’s long to-do list and making sure no customer is left behind.
As customer service changes, your business must adapt. Improving your virtual availability will help you stay competitive in a digital world.