8 customer service tactics that will increase your profits
We all know that providing exceptional customer service is important - especially for small businesses. But all too often we take that to mean simply being friendly and helpful. Of course these things are still important, even essential. However, there are ways to take your customer service to the next level, and they’ll increase your profits, too!
Today we’re going to take you through eight tactics that will encourage customer retention and ensure repeat business. Why focus on retention? Because increasing retention by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. If you don’t believe us, check out this research paper by Harvard Business School.
1. Have a great returns policy
It’s simple, but it makes all the difference. Whether you’re a physical store, sell exclusively online, or both, offering an awesome returns policy gives your customers the confidence to make that initial purchase. What do we mean by an awesome returns policy? No questions asked refunds on products that haven’t been used. A realistic returns period also helps - all too often we see 14 day windows that are just too small for busy people.
2. Incentivise customer loyalty
Implement a rewards system that keeps your customers coming back for more. This could involve store points, specials or a free gift on birthdays, access to exclusive events, and more. It doesn’t even have to be ultra sophisticated - think of your favourite coffee shop and the stamps you collect until you receive a free drink.
3. Provide reliable support on various platforms
Once your customer has purchased a product, it’s important that you help them when required. If you simply forget about your customers once the transaction is over, they’ll never return and buy more. The next step to this is helping them on a platform that they feel comfortable with. If your customer wants to call, provide a support number. If they prefer Facebook, make sure you communicate with them there. It helps to be versatile and make the experience as convenient as possible for the customer.
4. Ask for feedback - and listen to it
Sometimes you’ll never know where you can improve unless you ask. Survey your existing customers and see where you can make some positive changes. And then actually listen to the feedback and implement it! Your existing customers will thank you and your new ones will receive a polished first experience with your store.
5. Invest in products that will make your sales process fast and easy
Create a seamless in store experience by implementing an awesome POS system. All too often we see retailers settling for free software that provides an inferior transaction for both customer and employee. Do your research and let a trustworthy company improve the technological side of sales.
6. Empower your employees
Empowering your employees and allowing them to fix customer service problems without the hassle of calling a manager or supervisor is a two-birds-one-stone scenario. Firstly, your customer won’t have to wait around and their problem will be solved immediately. Secondly, your employees will appreciate the extra responsibility and feel more satisfied at work.
7. Get digital
Keep a record of individual customer sales and email them when something they’ll probably like goes on sale or arrives in store. Basically, be the human version of Amazon’s ‘items you may also like’ feature.To take it to the next level, offer special member sales before offering them to the general public. Remember to always have permission before emailing customers - sending something to someone who hasn’t provided permission may cause you to lose a customer, no matter how helpful your email might be.
8. Really go the extra mile
A company that is well known for their above-and-beyond customer service is Zappos. While not all of us can necessarily afford to implement some of the customer service policies that have contributed to their massive success, we can still be inspired by some of their real-life examples of going the extra mile:
- They sent a FREE pair of shoes overnight to a best man who had forgotten his wedding shoes
- Zappos sent flowers to a customer whose feet had been damaged after surgery
- All Zappos staff are allowed to send out free products when necessary
- Zappos have a no questions asked returns policy and even encourage customers to order multiple sizes and return the ones that didn’t fit.
What customer service tactics do you think are the most valuable to your business?