Customer service is too often thought of as a necessary evil – something which you have to provide, but a service that’s not a priority when you’ve got 101 things on your mind.
However, for SMBs – and businesses of any size for that matter – good customer service is key to growing. After all, if customers aren’t happy, they won’t come back.
Here, we explain why good customer service is essential for growing your SMB – and how you can get it right.
What do some of the world’s leading companies have in common?
The answer is great customer service. And why should a small business be any different? Leaders at small-to-medium-sized businesses need to instill a culture of good customer service, which will aid growth – and continue to be the company culture as the business grows.
There are loads of stories where successful entrepreneurs have led by example. For instance, J.Crew CEO, Mickey Drexler, has been known to call customers back in response to an email query. Apple’s Steve Jobs was well-known for answering customer emails on the frontline and Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has made his email address public so that customers can get in contact with him directly.
The CEO of Karmaloop has gone one step further and made his phone number public, as well as his email address, making himself personally accountable for anyone visiting the website.
So, it’s clear many leading and fast-growing businesses get it right, but how exactly does great customer service help your small business grow?
The power of word-of-mouth marketing
Marketing is a big expense – but if you can provide fantastic customer service, you could get the best kind of marketing for free: word of mouth
The CEO of Greenvelope told Salesforce, “I have a really strong belief that our growth is directly tied to the experiences that we create for customers and the positive word of mouth growth that gets results.”
Businesses grow organically when happy customers spread the word. It’s worth spending more than you would first consider on customer service to try and encourage organic marketing. However, it’s also worth considering the cost of poor customer service – upset a customer and the speed in which negative feedback spreads can be devastating for SMBs.
It’s more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep existing customers
It’s a well-known fact that it’s cheaper to keep your existing customers than to acquire new ones. While you’re going to need new customers in order to grow your business, you can’t expand at all if every time you gain a new customer, you lose another.
You need to make sure that you have a strong focus on keeping your existing customers happy, before rushing to gain new ones.
Awesome customer service can create the “blowfish effect”
So, how do you succeed as a small fish in a big pond? Well, you can try the “blowfish effect”. Coined by Salesforce, this phrase describes a way that small businesses can use good customer service to seem bigger.
To “blowfish” and give the impression that your business is larger than it seems, your customer service needs to be responsive across multiple channels, speedy and personalized.
Plus, you need to ensure that your website can give consumers the answers to FAQs – as many will check for a solution themselves before getting in contact. So, whether or not you have an informative website can change the way you are perceived.
And then you’ve also got to consider the impact social media can have on your reach and how your business is perceived. Not only can your marketing efforts on social media reach a wider audience, but you can deliver fast, personalized and efficient customer service regardless of the size of your organization.
ContactWorld Quickstart can help you deliver customer service that aids your growth – as well as allowing your team to be scalable, ready to expand and adapt.
Read our whitepaper, Small Business Guide to Cloud Communications to find out more about how cloud customer service solutions can help your business grow.
Why do you think good customer service is essential for growing a small business? Have you had SMB customer service success? Share your thoughts below.
Image by Unsplash
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About Tim Pickard
Tim joined NewVoiceMedia in July 2011 with over 20 years' experience as a leader in the IT industry. He served as VP and board member of RSA Security's international business for seven years where he ran marketing in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Japan. He spent two years as Chief Marketing Officer for SaaS/Cloud-based email management provider Mimecast.Read more from Tim Pickard