By Nima Patel
One of the biggest mistakes companies can make is to not focus on improving their online customer support.
Just because customer support is usually the part that comes after the sale, it shouldn’t be an afterthought for any small ecommerce or wholesale business.
Below are the specific ways good and bad online customer support can impact sales and how you can implement a great customer support system for your small business.
Customer service impacts sales
Ever wondered if your wholesale (B2B) clients care about customer support? Well research jointly conducted by Dimensional Research and Zendesk shows they do and more so than your direct-to-consumer customers (B2C).
Good or Bad – it’s all being talked about
News travels fast. The same study shows 95% of people share bad experiences and 87% share good experiences:
This means great, memorable customer experiences are also incredible marketing tactics and referral generators.
Few online retailers understand this better than Bonobos who has put an incredible amount of thought into their entire online customer support process.
First, all of their customer support agents are called “ninjas”. You can ask them questions on their website, Facebook, and Twitter:
Interestingly, Co-founder and CEO Andy Dunn, says they got to a point of having awesome online customer support by having an amazing company culture first.
“From the beginning we said let’s focus on building an unbelievable culture because that energy will transfer over to customers.”
And they were right. By tackling customer support issues on social media, it allows them to respond to issues much faster than they could via email or support tickets. It also makes those conversations public so people can see them, share them and interact.
Research shows 45% of people publicly share bad customer service experiences via social media and 30% share the good ones.
The key here is to not treat a customer support issue as a problem to be solved; rather, a conversation which could serve as the starting point of a long-term relationship. Each of these opportunities is a new chance to impress, entertain, and give value back to your customer.
Why you can’t delay…
The ultimate payoff of good customer service is the long-term impact. When building a long-lasting brand, you’ve signed on for a lifetime of doing non-scaleable things in order to scale.
The one-on-one plays matter just as much as your massive growth hacks.
RJ Metrics’ recent 2014 Ecommerce Benchmark Report shows some interesting stats:
Point is: Focus on building long-lasting relationships with your customers and you will see the financial return.
Sometimes it’s these small scale tactics that compound over time and fuel major conversion enhancements like referral & affiliate programs.
Consider this stat from Zendesk’s study: 39% of people continue to avoid vendors two or more years after a bad experience:
Consumers have a long memory so it’s important to get started now.
Don’t be scared to let your personality and humor show. Remember, you’re in the business of creating long-term relationships with your customers so think of their “problems” as opportunities to start a conversation and create a life long customer.