Tuesday, 27 March 2012 09:10

Increase your TOP Line with automated Customer Service

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Many businesses today are so focussed on getting new sales that they forget about the easiest of all, existing clients. We've all heard it said that existing customers are (or should be) the easiest to sell to, as they have already bought and have an established business relationship with us. But before we can sell to them again, we have to ensure that they continue to be happy customers. This is acheived through effective customer service.  Below are some reasons why automating your customer service process can help increase revenue. 

Note: these same tips apply to all businesses, regardless of size.  The idea is to put in place a system which effectively does the work for you - all you need to do is follow the steps.  


Outstanding customer service builds brand awareness and brand confidence.

We have all heard the phrase "building brand awareness" from advertising agencies. However, let's turn this on its head.  Think of the big name brands that spring to mind when you think of quality. Is it advertising that puts them to the front of your mind? Thought not. Things like reputation for quality, word of mouth, durability and long-lasting products are the common perceived values of such brands. And the one thing these companies tend to have in common: A well thought out customer service strategy.  This leads to customers who have the expectation of a reliable, repeatable, pleasurable experience with a brand, which in turn means their loyalty increases.  Customers have good role models for excellent customer service and their expectations continue to rise.  


Building staff confidence which results in happier employees.

Since happy employees mean happy customers, progressive companies emphasising customer service and customer experiences are more likely to have a career path for customer representatives. This means lower employee “churn” and lowered staff costs.  It also has a more hidden benefit in building confidence in the product, which feeds into the sales team.  A sales team confident in the backup service provided to new customers is much more likely to deliver the goods on an ongoing basis, thus creating an enriching circle of positivity.  


The customer service experience is more important than price.

Customer service is more important than price to many buyers, which makes it a revenue enhancer.  Many people no longer put up with cheap, shoddy product. Over the past number of years, quality has become more important than price to an increasing percentage of most markets.  How many business meetings see the price question raised anywhere near the beginning?  Even in FMCG markets, quality products are gaining market share.  


Well-executed customer service encourages “customers for life.”

Customer service can help make it easier and more graceful to cross-sell, up-sell, and migrate customers within the product/service line, making them “customers for life.” Think about it, you have a customer who has a complaint or problem relating to one of your products.  By automating your customer service processes, you can turn that negative story into a positive. For example, log the call on the system.  Straight away the customer receives an e-mail confirming that the issue is being investigated. The complaint may have to travel through a number of stages to resolution.  By keeping the customer in the loop, without us having to do anything, we are putting our best foot forward.  Not only are they aware of changes in status and able to track the call, but we are now at the forefront of their mind when it comes to other products. And when the issue finally is resolved, we have a mechanism to get feedback from the client on their experience.  This all promotes a feeling of goodwill, which will often lead to the brand building benefits mentioned above.  


Outstanding customer service can help the marketing and sales budget.

Don't forget, it costs less to keep existing customers than it does to create new ones.  The biggest mistake many companies make is ignoring their existing customers.  Example, you have a sales rep who has a target of €100,000 for the quarter.  We have 500 existing customers.  By getting a repeat order for €5,000 from just 20 of those existing clients, our sales rep has already acheived the target. But, and we are all guilty of this one, we tend to focus on new business and forget about the people and companies who have already spent money with us and are happy and willing to do so again, and all we needed to do was ask.  Customer service has a crucial role to play here: Companies can boost profits by almost 100 percent by retaining just five percent more of their customers, whether you are a multi-national, an SME, or a "one man band" sole trader.


Thoughtful customer service encourages advocacy and evangelism which act as turbo boosters on social networks and other non-traditional channels. You simply cannot beat a client who had a major problem turned around quickly.  A few tweets or posts on the various social media sites will see these comments appearing in all the major search engines for months.  Repeat a number of times per month and you have suddenly boosted your web search traffic without even trying.