01 Aug 5 Reasons Why You Should Rethink Your Customer Service Program
A long time ago, entrepreneurs could afford to leave customer service for last. It was all about the product first: offering the product, selling it, and then shipping it. Customer service was an afterthought. That is no longer the case. Successful modern companies put greater focus on the customer and their experience in all aspects of the business. Here are a few reasons you should strongly consider rethinking your customer service program.
1. Customers Expect More
Running a start-up is like participating in the Cold War, except people aren’t building bigger bombs, they’re trying to win the market. At some point, several businesses decided that if they can’t beat the competition’s products, they’ll attack the market another way. Customer service, from how the product is presented to after-sale assistance, is how some companies have decided to take to the field.
For customers, that’s good news. When companies are competing to make things better for the customer, the people win. That also means your work is cut out for you; you must offer quick and personalized service at every opportunity.
2. Things are More Proactive than Reactive
On-demand culture is in, and whatever your opinion of it is, it’s here to stay. Entrepreneurs must anticipate their customers’ needs and wants, sometimes before they know it. Instead of being responsive to customer concerns, you now must have a solution on hand for every problem.
If it seems like a troubling idea, it is. As much as you might want to, you can’t predict every problem that could come up. However, you must try. Even after you’ve shipped the product, peruse forums and give out surveys. Get a feel for how your customers are using it and get ahead of any potential problems.
3. The Experience is as Important as the Product
There was a time when people chose a product based on their budget or on brand loyalty. Now it’s about the experience. For example, Apple products, while not without their own merits, are an entire experience. Every Apple product adds to the value of anything else you own from their factories. It’s a unified family, one that has brought them a tremendous amount of success.
Smart entrepreneurs will recognize the value of expanding your customer support’s reach beyond a proactive stance. Give your representatives power. Let them offer more than troubleshooting, and your customers will feel better for it.
4. Proper Customer Experience Involves Your Support Staff
When people think about products, they’re not just thinking about the product’s primary function. The company’s presence and post-sale service also matters. Amazon has a Mayday button, many video games have game managers available 24/7 and links to support — your product cannot stand on its own. This seems like an expensive effort, but even entrepreneurs with small start-ups can do it on a smaller scale.
The first thing you should do is make sure people know you have a customer support staff that is readily available. Make your contact numbers visible on your product’s packaging, the product itself, and on your website. If your start-up has a mobile app, make it possible for customers to log support tickets from within the app without having to open another program.
5. A Better Experience is Worth More Money
If there’s anything you should learn as an entrepreneur is that people are willing to pay for things. They’ll look for a deal, certainly, but if they think something is worthwhile, they’ll pay for it. The concept may seem reductionist, but understanding it is integral to succeeding as an entrepreneur.
You’re not just selling your product anymore — you’re selling a whole experience. People are willing to pay more for the same product if you can promise a better experience. This may affect your price point to undesirable levels, but you can always use a tiered system to allow for more flexibility and greater reach.
The customer experience is what will make or break your start-up. As an entrepreneur, it would be irresponsible to ignore that fact. People will naturally go for things that make them feel good. More than giving them something they need or want, you must make the use and ownership of the product an incredible experience. If you can’t do that, your start-up will fail.