The Role of Customer Service in the Online Business Acquisition Process
In the realm of online business, the customer is king.
In an age of internet-aided transparency, where businesses cower under the power of Yelp reviews and TrustPilot ratings, this has never been more true.
But while sales and marketing teams fight to conquer your competitors’ territory, an oft-overlooked knight has stepped up to join the round table.
You see, 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do business with a company. So with this in mind, businesses need to deliver exceptional customer service to win the loyalty of their subjects.
But how does this affect you as an online business buyer?
Grab your sword and shield and let’s find out!
What Is Customer Service?
First things first, let’s start by defining customer service as it relates to online business.
Customer service is the process of supporting and assisting your customers throughout every step of the sales cycle, i.e. before, during, and after the purchase of your product or service.
The role of customer service is to help remove any obstacles that may get in the way of a customer purchasing or using your product or service. This is achieved by answering any queries and questions that the customer may have, providing product information, helping customers place orders, resolving issues or complaints, providing technical support, etc.
In online business, customer support is typically delivered over the phone, through email or chat, or through social media.
Though often taken for granted, customer service is one of the most important ingredients in the success of an online business. In fact, roughly 64% of business leaders believe that customer service has a positive impact on the growth of their business.
Let’s take a closer look at why the power of customer service should not be underestimated.
The Benefits of Good Customer Service
Not only does excellent customer service create a positive experience for customers, but it can also have a dramatic effect on your bottom line.
Happy customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and remain loyal to your business. They’re also more likely to recommend your business to others.
This results in an increase in sales and customer lifetime value (LTV), and saves you money in the long run as it reduces the amount you need to spend on acquiring new customers.
Let’s put that into perspective with some statistics.
- Acquiring a new customer can be up to five times more expensive than retaining an existing customer.
- The success rate of closing a deal with an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%.
- Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend more than 30% more than new customers.
- Increasing your customer retention rates by as little as 5% can increase your profits by a massive 25-95%.
As you can see, retaining your existing customers is crucial to the success of your business, and customer service is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when it comes to customer retention.
But the benefits of customer service don’t stop there. Maintaining a high standard of customer service can also give you a competitive advantage and help you stand out from the crowd. Positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations as a result of your customer service can give your business a positive reputation that can help you leave your competitors in the dust.
Having a good relationship with your customers also provides you with invaluable opportunities to gather feedback about your products or services. This can help you improve your offering and align your business more closely with your target market’s needs and values.
But why does this matter to online business buyers?
Why Good Customer Service a Must for Business Buyers
When searching for an online business to buy, finding a business that has future growth potential should be your top priority.
After all, no one wants to invest in a business that will lose them money in the long run.
As discussed in the previous section, effective customer service builds a good brand image and a loyal customer base. This results in a steady stream of sales, repeat purchases, and ongoing referrals – a great foundation for you to build off of as a buyer.
Poor customer service, on the other hand, can do a lot of damage to a brand’s reputation and credibility which can be difficult to recover from. Research has shown that one negative review alone can drive as many as 22% of customers away from your business, with four or more negative reviews increasing the loss of customers by up to 70%.
There are financial implications to consider too. Fixing a bad customer service reputation can be costly and time-consuming. It may require hiring new staff, training them, and implementing new processes and systems.
Plus, any legal issues that may arise as a result of bad customer service, such as lawsuits or regulatory fines, are an extra cost to consider.
This can add to the cost of acquiring the business, making it a lot less attractive as an investment.
Understanding Customer Expectations
Before you can create an effective customer service experience, you need to have a good understanding of what consumers actually want.
Customers want to feel like they matter to your business. They don’t want to feel like they’re just a number to you.
Personalizing your interactions with your customers is the best way to make them feel seen and understood. Not only can personalization help you build memorable and ongoing relationships with your customers, but it can also help you build brand loyalty and encourage repeat purchases.
Personalization is also a great way to boost engagement and conversion rates. Did you know that 72% of consumers will only engage with personalized messaging? Creating personalized consumer experiences can also improve your conversion rate by up to 8%.
Personalization isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s an expectation. Not implementing personalized communication can cause you to lose customers and give your competitors the upper hand. In fact, a whopping 33% of consumers reported ending their relationship with a company because the experience lacked personalization.
Losing a third of your customers can seriously hurt your bottom line. So make sure you prioritize personalization when it comes to your business’s customer service.
In the fast-paced world of online business, customers expect lightning-fast solutions to their problems. In fact, 90% of customers expect an immediate response when they have a customer service question, with 60% defining “immediate” as 10 minutes or less.
Being able to resolve a customer’s issue in a single interaction is also crucial with one-third of consumers considering it the most important aspect of a good customer service experience.
This means that a well-performing customer service team must strike a balance between speed and convenience.
Simply providing multiple channels for customers to reach out is not enough; the key is to provide consistent quality across those channels and respond quickly.
So, if you want to keep your customers happy and coming back for more, make sure your customer service team is lightning-fast and responsive.
In today’s world, customers expect to be able to reach out to businesses on a variety of channels – whether it’s social media, live chat, or video calls.
Studies show that 66% of consumers use at least three different communication channels to contact customer service. These customers expect to receive the same level of service, no matter which channel they use. This is where an omnichannel customer engagement strategy comes in.
Customers don’t want to have to navigate away from what they’re doing to get help from your business. And they’ll quickly become frustrated if they have to repeat the same details over and over. They want to be able to reach out on any channel of their choice and receive an immediate, reliable response.
To achieve this level of service, businesses need to invest in omnichannel solutions that link these various channels together. This means having a database of information – including personal data, purchase history, and previous communications – ready at hand when a client makes contact.
By embracing an omnichannel approach, businesses can streamline the customer service experience, linking channels together to provide customers with the seamless experience they expect and deserve.
According to recent studies, over 60% of US consumers prefer automated self-service for simple customer service tasks, with 69% of consumers admitting that they initially try and solve their issues on their own before reaching out to a company for help.
Customers want the line of least resistance, and by providing them with the tools they need to solve their queries themselves, you can prevent them from leaving your store and finding the products they’re looking for elsewhere.
Creating a self-service knowledge base not only gives customers the answers they’re looking for, but by enabling them to help themselves, you can relieve some of the pressure from your customer service team. Self-support systems have been shown to reduce your customer support volume by 20% or more.
That’s a win-win situation for your business and your customers.
Building a Strong Customer Support System
We’ve covered why customer support is so important, and the qualities customers look for in a great customer support system. But what can you do as a business owner to create the best customer service team possible?
Improving your customer service starts with having a well-trained customer support team.
Investing in your customer service team by providing them with the proper training, tools, and work environment is money well spent as you’ll reap the rewards of the resulting loyal base of satisfied customers.
A well-trained customer service team will have extensive product knowledge, and be able to resolve queries quickly and honestly. It’s also essential to provide regular training to keep them up-to-date with changes in the product line, brand goals, and new software being used.
Supporting your customer service staff with the resources, technology, and support they need to get more happy customers will motivate them, and create a positive customer service experience for everyone involved in the process.
All that said, training is only the first half of the puzzle.
Ever heard the saying, “a man is only as good as his tools”? Well, that applies to customer service teams too.
By providing your customer support teams with the right tools for the job, you can enable them to work more efficiently and effectively.
Multi-channel support is critical since customers expect to reach a business through various channels, such as email, social media, chat, and phone. With a customer support tool that provides multi-channel support, you can centralize all customer queries in one place, making it easier for support agents to manage and respond to them.
Customer support tools like chatbots can help you provide 24/7 customer support and answer queries within seconds, leading to faster resolution times.
In addition to this, automation is key to providing quick and efficient support. By using automation tools, you can set up automated responses to frequently asked questions, freeing up time for support agents to focus on more complex queries.
Customer support tools can also provide valuable insights into customer behavior, such as the most common queries, the average resolution time, and customer satisfaction ratings. These insights can help you identify areas where you need to improve and make data-driven decisions to enhance the overall customer experience.
There are many customer service tools available to online business owners, such as Zendesk, Help Scout, and HubSpot Service Hub.
With the right tools in place, you can streamline your customer service operations, provide faster and more efficient support to your customers, and gather valuable insights about your customer interactions.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Customer Service
There’s nothing more important to an online business than its customers. After all, without customers, you can’t make any sales or earn an income.
Just as you might install a security system to protect your valuable possessions, you should create an effective customer service team to protect your business’s most valuable asset. Your customers.
Your customer service team can ensure that your customers remain happy, supported, and satisfied, ensuring a healthy stream of repeat buyers.
As an online business buyer, it’s important to recognize customer service as a valuable asset that can play a pivotal role in the future of your acquired business.
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