Have you lost an existing customer? Brace yourself – it’ll cost you 25 times more to acquire a new client than to retain a current client.
That fact alone is enough to justify the $350 billion firms invest in customer service. For a startup, communicating with customers to help solve their problems is a matter of survival. Deliver ineffective customer support, and you can say goodbye to future revenue from clients.
Thus, you need to continually uncover ways of improving customer support to ensure you deliver above par customer experience. Here are seven essential tips to help you do just that.
What Is Customer Support?
At its core, customer support is the entirety of services that you offer your clients to enable them to get the most out of your offering.
As such, customer support can include helping your clients solve any issues they have with using your service or product. Onboarding new clients to your offering is also a critical function of exceptional customer care.
No matter what approach you take in deploying customer care, the rule of thumb is to make your client’s life easier.
Effective Ways of Improving Customer Support
Since customer support is all about enhancing the relationship you establish with your clients, you need to find effective ways of communicating with customers. Here are a few tips to help you sustainably shore up your customer support function.
1. Let Company Leaders Participate
Your customer support function is a broader cog in the wheel than the customer experience you deliver. One of the most potent ways you can grow your support function is by getting the leaders to participate.
Seeing that your startup is still in its relatively early stages, the team is – in most cases- still small. Due to this, the CEO and/or founder, and other top management in this early phase can find the bandwidth to take on direct customer support queries.
As you integrate the leadership, it communicates to your customers that their concerns are paramount.
Consequently, not only does having more hands help solve support issues faster, but it also fortifies brand loyalty as your clients feel their problems are important to you.
2. Uncover the Signals
As a startup where team members handle any and everything, it’s easy to get lost in the fog of endlessly responding to customer issues. However, you need to realize that your customer support service also acts as a feedback mechanism for the firm.
Therefore, it’s critical to groom the support team to learn how to sift insights from customer complaints and comments.
As your people help clients to resolve concerns, they should also critically assess the source of each matter and track any repeat customer preferences.
Through such insights, you can identify meaningful solutions to test and see if they help improve your offering.
3. Create Sustainable Solutions
The scale of your customer support operation can only increase as your firm grows. With that in mind, you need to avoid delivering solutions that’ll need fixing down the road.
While a patch to a pertinent issue can be tempting to deliver, it only kicks the can down the road. The problem is that on top of the matter you have not sustainably fixed, new issues will also crop up. If you let this snowball, you can see how fast customer support can get underwater.
Avoid piling up short term customer support fixes to ensure you don’t spend more over time in revisiting issues to fix them again.
4. Empower the Customer Support Team
If you want your customer support team to deliver lasting solutions, then you need not lock them into a silo.
Customer support interacts with your clients in some of the most troublesome times. The team members get to see how customer frustrations hinder the growth of the brand.
Your senior management needs direct visibility into such feedback during strategy meetings to help make support more valuable. Consequently, you should give customer support a voice at the firm’s executive meetings.
The ensuing ongoing dialogue will help keep customer support productive, which compounds your customer experience over time.
5. Hire Exceptional Communicators
Since customer support is about creating and nurturing rapport with your clients, the team in charge of the service needs to communicate well.
When you’re recruiting customer support employees, hiring stellar communicators who think on their feet is invaluable. That’s because, as a startup, it’s likely that customer support members also have other duties to handle.
You, therefore, need someone who knows how to interact with clients while not losing their composure when multitasking.
For a nascent business like yours, investing significantly in back end processes isn’t the wisest capital allocation move. Instead, you should identify and bring on board a partner to who you can outsource certain customer support elements.
For example, bringing in an IT service company to handle the technological aspect of support can free you from substantial capital investments.
Instead of buying the infrastructure necessary to deploy support, you can outsource it and divert that capital into more critical areas to beef up your customer support service.
7. Don’t Extend the Process to Escalated Help
When a client comes to you for assistance, the only thing that can worsen the situation is more bureaucracy. On the other hand, you have to shield your team from support inquiries that aren’t relevant to them if they’re to get work done.
An excellent way to handle this is to designate team members who triage the support requests that come in. If a customer needs specialized attention, then you should redirect them accordingly without adding further friction.
Ensure that valid specialized customer support issues have direct access to the team members who can resolve it. At that point, if you give your customer the go around without offering solutions, you’ll likely lose them.
Outstanding Customer Support Is Mission-Critical
As a startup, finding ways to keep customers coming back is a matter of life or death. Offering exceptional customer support is a critical means by which you make your offering sticky. You, therefore, need to continually research on improving customer support so that you not only win new customers but build deep loyalty with your existing client base.
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