The customer service that a company provides can be the true measure of just how much they appreciate their clients. But it can be demanding to meet those high expectations of just how and when customers can get in touch and how quickly you reply.
Balancing your customers' needs with your need to live your life and run your company can be tricky; in fact, it can be one of the biggest challenges for a local business. You know that there are going to be times when you need to be out of the office or away from base. In fact, your business may need you to be on the road or working from a client's premises for most of the day. So, just what is the solution to being able to run your business successfully without being tied to your desk.
Mobile phone-based apps such as Chalkboard allow you to provide timely customer service without restricting your mobility. But, if you're not yet convinced of the need to be highly responsive to your customer communications, then let's take a closer look at some of the key facts and figures.
Retaining Existing Clients
Did you know that the Harvard Business Review calculated that it's up to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one? That's a pretty startling figure, but when you factor in the cost of your time to attract that new client, pitch, and then secure the order, then you'll start to see that it's actually a pretty realistic figure.
Attracting New Clients
People want to talk to people. And while your website and automated chat can provide core information, your prospective clients want to speak to a real-life person. In fact, over 83% of people want to communicate with a person, even when over a digital channel. And when we don't provide that, then we can expect that 52 percent of potential customers will go elsewhere.
You may have already invested in marketing, advertising, and a website. So, to then lose potential business due to the lack of a person to speak to just doesn't make any business sense.
Speed of Response
Your clients are probably much like yourself; there never seems to be enough hours in the day to achieve everything that they really wanted to get done. So, when they need to make contact with a business, they need that communication to be slick. They want to be able to get quick responses and then move on to the next thing on their to-do list.
And these new customers have pretty high standards too. You can expect a prospective client to wait no more than 45 seconds to get a reply via online chat. After that point, there's a pretty good chance that they're going to turn towards your competitors to see how their service stacks up. The online world that we now all live in makes it very easy for the public to research and make contact with suppliers; they can now be very picky about who they decide to do business with.
When Things Go Wrong
When Price Waterhouse Cooper contacted 15,000 consumers to find out how they react when there are problems, the results were pretty startling. First of all, they identified that a gobsmacking 1 in 3 customers stated that it would take just one bad experience for them to leave a brand which they love. When there have been just two or three negative interactions, then that figure then leaps all the way up to 92%.
Now taking a balanced view and with the knowledge that everyone makes mistakes from time to time, it can soon be seen that speed of resolution is essential. But, if you're at a client's home all day without access to emails or even on the road traveling to the next job, then you may miss the opportunity to resolve the issue and retain that customer.
Encouraging Customer Feedback and Reviews
Finding goods and services via the internet is easy. But sometimes, there can be a lingering doubt or concern about spending your hard-earned cash with a company you've never met or had dealings with before. If you're anything like us, then you'll turn to Google to look for reviews before you commit your funds.
Encouraging feedback from clients has a number of key benefits. First of all, it can have a really positive impact on the impression that others have of your business. Microsoft, for example, found that a global average of 77% of the people they surveyed had a more favorable view of a brand if they asked for and accepted customer feedback.
But What About the Local Business?
It would be easy to look at those facts and figures and decide that they fall within the remit of the big companies, of the global organizations with their vast customer service teams. When you're a sole trader, or you have just a small support team, it can be tough to realize that your clients have the same customer service expectations from you as they do from the big corporations.
Giving customers your mobile phone number can be one solution, but that can lead to all kinds of issues, privacy for one, and then there's the risk of getting customer and personal texts muddled up. The humorous image you sent to your friend David, is unlikely to be one that you would send to your client of the same name!
This is where a straightforward app such as Chalkboard can help you to separate your work and social texts. They provide you with a mobile number which is dedicated for business use. That then means that you can keep customers informed, chat about their needs and encourage their reviews, all within one simple app.
While effective customer communication is critical to your business's success, it doesn't need to be complicated.