Customer Service: Your Secret Weapon for Growth with Nicole Baqai [EP. 55]
Is great customer service the secret to growing your business?
Rising customer acquisition costs mean securing happy, returning customers is more crucial than ever. A key player in retaining customers and transforming them from one-time buyers into brand fans is customer service.
In this episode of The Opportunity Podcast, we’re joined by Nicole Baqai to discuss how to create customer service experiences that translate into business results.
Nicole is the Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager at Gorgias, a full suite customer service solution for eCommerce entrepreneurs. In this interview, Nicole gives us some keen insights into the relationship between customer service and generating more sales, and increasing marketing ROI. She also talks about optimizing, automating, and personalizing your communication to make customer service your greatest marketing tactic.
Listen to The Opportunity Podcast Episode #55
Topics Discussed in this episode:
- What the DTC industry looks like right now and the growth opportunities available
- How Gorgias helps brands of all sizes connect to customers and improve their customer service
- The biggest customer service pain points for DTC entrepreneurs
- What entrepreneurs get wrong when managing their own customer service
- How to generate more sales and improve your ROI
- What the best type of marketing for a DTC eCommerce business is
- Nicole’s number one piece of advice for entrepreneurs looking to scale
Why Customer Connection is More Important Than Ever in DTC Ecommerce
Nicole is a passionate DTC eCommerce consumer and pays close attention to the industry. She notes that it’s an incredibly exciting time for the sector right now as there’s so much possibility when it comes to product innovation and branding. More than ever before, this comes through in everything from how a product looks to how brands communicate with their customers.
But the opportunities aren’t just there for existing founders. They extend to anyone with a great product or marketing idea. In other words, DTC eCommerce entrepreneurship is for everyone. Nicole is seeing more and more people selling anything and everything by embracing the entrepreneurial path and launching a business with an eCommerce site.
“We’re seeing that you can pretty much start any DTC eCommerce business overnight. You could wake up tomorrow and decide you want to start a new toilet paper brand – just set up a website and get a plug and play like Shopify, which allows you to do just that.”
In the last year, Gorgias jumped from 2,000 to 6,000 customers in just 12 months as huge numbers of people moved online to meet their customers’ needs or take advantage of the growing opportunities in the eCommerce space.
With all of these new players entering the game, consumers need more than just products to differentiate who they want to buy from. Nicole suggests that the DTC landscape is changing as “people want to connect with brands and the personalities behind them”. More entrepreneurs are creating brands that market their products in ways that capture attention in a more connective way, such as on social media channels.
How Brands Connect with Customers
Each brand has its own way of communicating and connecting with its customers. Depending on its audience, brand voice, and offerings, one brand may talk to their customers over text with emojis, and others may stick to traditional phone call support.
Gorgias empowers brands by allowing them to communicate with customers in their own voice with a plug-and-play solution. Through a variety of mediums—email, chat, Facebook, phone, Instagram—businesses can scale and personalize their customer service.
Personalization is key, as brands need to tap into their unique voice to create a meaningful relationship and experience with customers. Gorgias allows businesses to do this and helps to educate them on best practices for communicating with customers and even turn bad experiences into good ones.
Implementing High-Quality Customer Service
One of the big pain points for DTC business owners is limited capacity for running their own customer service. Gorgias manages customer channels on their behalf. This is a great option for those brands who can’t or don’t want to build an in-house customer service team, but still want to provide high-quality, on-brand customer service.
Whether your brand uses in-house or external customer service support, the significant thing to bear in mind is ironing out all of your policies first so that you can give the customer the best possible experience.
Nicole recommends developing a plan for all instances, such as what happens if you have a damaged item: do you send out a replacement for free? Or is there another solution? Once you’re clear on your policies, you can define the best way to create amazing customer service that retains customers and transforms them into fans.
“A lot of people undervalue the power of customer service and just how much of a driving tool that is across retention and conversion. Because if you have bad customer service, you’re probably going to lose out on that customer, and you won’t get that repeat customer. But it’s also beautiful because you can convert a lot of different customers.”
Why Customer Service is an Opportunity to Scale
Nicole believes that many founders who are just starting out fail to realize that customer service is a growth channel. They have the least time to do customer service and yet often decide to manage it themselves through a poor solution like Gmail.
In this instance, founders are missing a crucial opportunity to scale. By implementing tools and utilizing agencies, they can free up their time to do what they’re best at, as well as boost their results with better customer service.
“Customer service is so crucial to your business. If you can retain that one customer for the rest of your life, that is going to be way more valuable than just acquiring one or two that are not that loyal, that might return.”
Nicole notes that people often think of good customer service as just getting through each ticket, but if you shift your mindset to customer service as an acquisition and retention channel, you can be smarter and more strategic about your overall approach.
For example, Gorgias uses identification features within their automation to highlight urgent tickets and help prioritize and segment issues as they come in.
Automation features like this allow you to address time-sensitive problems faster, decreasing the risk for your business and helping your customer more effectively. Suppose a customer has a problem urgently, like an order cancellation. In that case, automation enables you to identify and fix the issue before you fulfill the order, meaning less hassle for you in terms of returns, restocks, etc.
How to Enhance Your Customer Service
For Nicole, customer service tools are all about working smarter, not harder. Automation is a big player in this because it increases your response speed which can help to drive up customer retention and conversion.
Gorgias conducted a study that shows if a brand responds to a customer service inquiry within 10 minutes, the conversion rate is 20% higher. So getting back to customers quickly isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have for brands who want to grow rapidly through utilizing customer service.
However, Nicole also points out that you have to consider how customers access your brand’s customer service. It’s one thing to get back to customers faster via email, but it’s another to enhance your performance across multiple channels. Many consumers are straying from traditional ways of getting in touch with brands in favor of communicating over channels that they prefer.
“Customer service is increasingly becoming an omnichannel experience. It’s not just email, chat, and phone, it’s now become Instagram comments, Facebook comments, and more. Customer support is everywhere.”
Nicole suggests thinking about social media ads that you may be running. Potential customers may be commenting with questions or inquiries and if you respond to them, you could drive more conversions and boost your ROI by reducing the customer acquisition cost for that ad.
Ultimately, Nicole believes that customer service is your best marketing. While your channels and ads raise awareness of your products, customer service can be the one part of your brand that helps customers convert and come back time and time again.
For more tips and advice on improving your customer service, including how to leverage social media, what KPIs to pay attention to, and what tools to use, listen to the full interview with Nicole. Press play on the player at the top of this page or tune in to The Opportunity Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your usual podcast app.
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