What makes you unique? What is that you have that keep customers coming back to you to do business? Figuring out the answers to these questions is critical for the survival of any business, let alone the growth of it.
Most companies try to do this with features, pricing and technology. But almost all of these are easily replicated. Uber already has many copycats and starting to lose money. In fact most companies that found success with the sharing economy model, models which can be replicated easily have trouble maintaining their momentum.
But successful companies that survived for a long time understand that there is something that can’t be replicated easily and that is world class customer support. Remember the old adage, to buy from you the have to like you. And excellent customer support is definitely one of the best ways to get customers to like you.
But excellent customer support is not only about replying your support tickets. Companies can go way beyond that and make customer support a key channels in their marketing efforts. Here are few ways to expand your customer support to make them more effective.
Make is easy to contact you
Most companies treat customer support as something they have to endure and make customers jump through the hoops to reach them. And if a customer has to go through five steps just to reach you then you’re sure to encounter a pissed off customer even if the issue is a small one.
One of the easiest thing you can do is show off your contact information in a prominent place. A prominently displayed phone number in the header, an address clearly visible on the homepage is a good start.
But if you’re serving an international audience like us then having a phone number might not be enough. International calls are expensive so most won’t use that option. Although just having the phone number have shown to increase sales in some niches.
You can include a Skype handle, Twitter handle or a Facebook page if you have them. Just make sure that you’re constantly monitoring them so you can reply to queries you get through them in a timely manner. You can go even further and publish Twitter handles, LinkedIn pages of your team in the about use page or the meet the team page.
Who knows, an investor might get impress by your product and wants to get in touch with you. Or it could a be fellow businessman who wants to form a partnership with you. It could even be a brilliant techie who wants to get involved. The more channels they have to reach you the more chances you get to expand your business.
Encourage feedback with widgets etc
You don’t have to wait till a customer encounters a problem to get feedback. You can encourage this with feedback widgets, star ratings and many other similar mechanisms.
A user might be thrilled by your software and want to heap praise, but if they have to find a support email to get to you then they’re unlikely to reach out to you. Our feedback widget is one of our primary resources for positive feedback. We nurture those people and try to get them to review us on software marketplaces which leads to even more qualified leads.
Get users involved in decision making
As I mentioned above, customer support isn’t about just replying to support tickets. It’s about anticipating users needs and getting them involved in your journey. If they feel they are involved in your processes they are more likely to be a loyal customer.
If you’re a software company like ours then one of the best way to do that is by having a beta tester program. They get exclusive access to new features and the feedback will help you to measure the effectiveness of that feature. Plus it makes it much easier to catch bugs before its released to the general public.
You can even get them involved in making key decisions, which sometimes makes you look extremely cool as well. We know this because our pay what you want experiment got us lots of press coverage and user love. It that sounds a bit complicated you can go with something as simple as asking your users to vote for your next feature.
Conclusion: Customer support doesn’t have to be boring
As you can see from the above examples, customer support go way beyond replying to emails and answering calls. With a bit of brainstorming you can come up with dozens of ways to improve your customer support mechanisms. So get working on it right now, you won’t regret it six months down the line.
Customer Support: The Secret Weapon of Successful Companies