Why customer service should be your number one priority

serviceIn an age where goods and services are so readily accessible to consumers, businesses must make an extra effort to convert a customer into a repeat purchaser. A competitor to your business is never any more than a Google search away, so you must give the consumer a reason to keep dealing with you, even if they were fully satisfied with their purchasing experience. This is where customer service comes in.

Customer service is not just dealing with complaints and issuing refunds after the initial purchase. It encompasses all types of interaction between the business and the consumer, whether face to face, over the phone, or even on social media. With digital channels now being a customer’s first port of call for contacting a brand, businesses should embrace these platforms and employ staff who are not only competent, but fully comfortable using Facebook and Twitter professionally.

Be there for the customer

In order for the customer to fully trust your brand, you must convince them that you are available to support them at any point, whether before or after the transaction. Your digital presence will be a great help here, and customers are more likely to trust a brand that submits regular updates on their social media and blog.

It isn’t all about digital, however. Listing a contact number on the home page of your website lets the customer know that you have an infrastructure in place for dealing with any of their concerns. While younger buyers may feel more comfortable contacting you via email or on social media, there are still plenty of consumers who would prefer a friendly voice over the phone. You can present your product or service in the most attractive way imaginable, but if a customer doesn’t feel safe with or trust your brand, it will make no difference.

Consider the purchaser’s journey – before and after

Ultimately, the consumer is only concerned about one thing — receiving the goods or services exactly as advertised. If a business can ensure this, they are fulfilling the very bare-minimum expectation from the customer. What the business offers pre-purchase and post-purchase will determine whether the customer will be a one-off buyer or a repeat purchaser.

Case study

This was recognised by removals and storage experts Pickfords, whose user-friendly website played a big part in them being named a Business Superbrand for 2016. As well as the site being visually neat and the content informative, Pickfords recognises the concerns that the customer may have when using their service, and has addressed these on their home page. The ‘moving advice centre’ answers the customer’s anticipated questions, eliminating any doubts they may have before the purchase.

Pickfords also recognises that customers don’t have an excess of time on their hands, particularly if they are moving home, and has introduced services to make the customer’s journey less laborious. Customers generally avoid making phone calls to brands — there is a fear that they will be placed in a queue and waste hours of their day. The ‘call me back’ service relieves the burden from the customer, as they will be connected directly with the relevant person to speak to. This is not only more convenient for the consumer but will increase the likelihood of a sale due to the positive customer service experience.

Post-purchase services

Once the customer has received the goods or service and has no problems with it, this is your opportunity to turn them into a repeat purchaser. A great way to do this is through email marketing, where you can offer the customer exclusive discounts on future purchases, an opportunity to give feedback, or even simply a kind thank you for believing in your brand.

A repeat purchase is worth so much more to you than a new customer, as this suggests that they are already a believer in your brand and will continue to return. Never look at a conversion as a complete success — look at it as an opportunity to secure a regular customer.

As e-commerce continues to expand, brands must embrace all forms of customer service to encourage trust in their brand for new customers, and to reward existing customers for their loyalty.

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