The Importance of Customer Service Support for New Businesses - Starting a New Business
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It is a proven fact that customers will repeatedly do business with companies that provide exceptional customer service. It is no wonder that many new businesses have resorted to focusing their attention on customer service support as a viable means to gain instant recognition and to entice prospective buyers. Customers will simply pay more money and take their business elsewhere if they are not completely satisfied with the way a company treats them. Businesses, on the other hand, cannot afford to lose customers since their credibility and reputation is highly dependent upon a customer’s experience and feedback. Exceptional customer service support is vital for the success of a company, and that is why new businesses are finding novel ways to maintain superior customer relations.

Competitive edge
Customer service has become a fast and effective marketing tool in which many companies strive to perfect. In a recent study conducted by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), small enterprises, which heavily emphasize their customer service support, were more likely to endure and succeed when compared to their leading competitors who only focused on offering lower prices for their products and services. Many new businesses can certainly differentiate themselves from their major competitors by having easily accessible customer service support, especially one with a consistent track record of providing their customers with high-quality, reliable, and friendly service.

Hire competent staff
New businesses should recruit only skilled customer service representatives (CSR) with proven experience in the given field. These employees are encouraged to obtain repeated comprehensive training throughout their company’s employment as a means to solidify their knowledge and interpersonal skills. Hiring competent customer service staff is crucial for any new business since they have experienced training and are the ones who will continually interact with and obtain feedback from consumers.

Take advantage of innovation and modern technology
Many new companies have found fast and effective ways to interact with their customers. They have implemented live chats and other sophisticated programs on their websites tailored to their customer’s needs. For example, many cable companies will offer customers a live chat with a customer service representative/technician in troubleshooting common problems that may be encountered. Rather than being put on hold on the telephone for an interminable period of time, customers are able to have an online chat with a live representative who can quickly address their concerns. There is also a program many companies use called “Go To Meeting.” This allows web conferencing and online meetings among employee participants and between a customer service representative/technician who has permitted access to one’s desktop. In addition, some company websites can even offer some “virtual” suggestions when a customer decides to purchase items online. These are just some proven ways to gain new business and to keep customers happy.

Automated sales process
Many companies enforce an automated sales process for customers who purchase items online. The customers receive an automatic e-mail regarding their purchase receipt and when their products will be shipped. They will also be able to track the delivery of their packages through a shipping confirmation number as well as be notified of any known delay in the delivery of their items. This service has become one of many courtesies that all customers have come to expect from a business.

FAQ page
In order to expedite any inquiries, many companies have provided their customers with a comprehensive FAQ page on their website. This process has been proven to help customers save time on any questions they may have otherwise asked. For instance, a typical business FAQ page can provide details on the different types of shipping and their costs. It can also include information about products, the company’s hours of operation, phone number, and business address.

Make swift customer e-mail replies
Another method of maintaining superior relations with current and potential customers is to immediately reply to their inquiries. Many customers are usually delighted and impressed by the fast response from a customer service representative, especially if the response is within an hour rather than the standard 24-48 hour (or more) time period. It is an effective way in which customers can diligently address and gain help in solving their issues as well as a valuable means by which companies can easily establish a strong rapport with consumers.

The customer is always right
Another major component in providing exceptional customer service is for companies to always assume the customer is right. By taking on this professional accountability, many businesses can avoid tedious verbal confrontations and instantly satiate customers. Customer appreciation is one of the leading reasons why loyal customers repeatedly do business with a company. Regardless of situation, it is always good practice to satisfy a customer’s needs.

Community involvement
Another advantageous strategy is through support forums and instant feedback on company websites. For example, websites such as the Home Shopping Network (HSN) provide customers with the option to rate and review their products. Through the use of similar online tools, businesses can easily find out the likes and dislikes of their buyers according to customer ratings. Customers, on the other hand, can publically post their ideas about different products and make recommendations.

Get referrals/leads from existing customers
When existing customers are satisfied with a company’s products and the quality of customer service, they are more likely to tell others of their positive experiences. Most often, these “referred” customers are also likely to do business with a company their friends have spoken highly about. It is crucial for every new business to effectively network in this manner and to treat their existing customers exceptionally well in order to gain credibility and increase both repeat and future customers.

Provide new service if customers ask
Often times, loyal customers can make suggestions on improving a product or service. They can even ask for new services. Companies should be aware of their customer’s insights and desires and be willing to offer what the general public is willing to pay for.

Company employee retention strategy
Customer service jobs have a very high turnover rate. Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate an employee, especially if their job encompasses the same routine duties on a daily basis. In order to boost employee morale and commitment, many companies have made the ambitious move to offer many different career incentives, including sponsoring higher education degrees. Customer service representatives are also given competitive salaries, internships, stock options, etc. By offering these different benefits to their employees, many customer service representatives will become more goal-oriented, attain job satisfaction, and take pride in their work. Employee turnover rate is more likely to be reduced through this retention strategy, and most importantly, service representatives will be able to provide superior customer service support.

Customer service support is extremely important for any new business. It involves hiring competent and knowledgeable staff, finding fast, novel ways to respond to consumer inquiries, and abiding by the cardinal rule: the customer is always right. In addition, a strong customer service team can be an effective way in which companies can easily establish a solid rapport with existing and prospective consumers in addition to finding out ways to improve products and services. Providing exceptional customer service will give any company an advantage over their competitors. This practice will also be an immediate mean of gaining credibility and public recognition.

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