In today’s business world, customer service has evolved far beyond the traditional call center. To adapt to a business climate that relies heavily on advanced technology, enterprises must offer customer service solutions that are up to par with their clients’ expectations.
That being said, investing in customer service improvements is not optional, and most businesses are aware of this reality. In fact, Gartner found by 2017, more than half of research and development investments will be redirected toward customer experience innovations. To remain competitive, companies must make enhancing their business to business customer support solutions a top priority.
The relationship between customer service and growth
We live in an age of rapid innovation that has drastically expanded the pool of solutions businesses can select from. As a consequence, companies need to take every possible step to stand out among their competition, and customer service is one aspect that is very important to clients when choosing whom to work with.
While all enterprises should invest in their customer service solutions, this is especially important for start-ups and small- to medium-sized businesses. Rather than putting off advanced customer support software, companies can ensure maximum growth by investing in these tools right from the start.
While concerns about the cost of staff and software are certainly legitimate, the reality is that with the right tools and strategy, businesses can actually improve their bottom lines and grow more quickly with exceptional customer support.
A sweeping need for change
Of course, the opportunity to tout high-quality customer support is not solely restricted to new businesses. In fact, some of our society’s oldest, most well-known companies have set a high bar for customer service expectations and lead by example.
As a result, businesses both new and old face an urgent need to upgrade their existing models to stay ahead of the game.
In short, businesses today are already starting to make massive transitions because their existing structures just aren’t cutting it. As more companies begin to offer exemplary customer support to their clients, investing in more advanced service is an immediate priority to remain on par with the competition.
Customer service is a marketing tactic
Beyond the pressing need for businesses to meet clients’ expectations for top-notch experiences, customer support is an integral piece of any marketing strategy. For most companies, marketing is a top priority because through this channel, they are able to acquire new business.
Without marketing, an enterprise simply could not exist. With this in mind, it only makes sense that investing in customer support should be equally important, because the services businesses provide to their clients after acquisition is what legitimizes the offering in the first place and builds long-term customer trust and loyalty.
The best way to understand how support ties into the larger customer experience is to view it as a multifaceted approach that incorporates marketing, service and sales into one unified strategy. As a company invests in one of these three essential ingredients, the others must grow at the same pace in order to create long-term success.
While it is often a default growth strategy to invest in sales and marketing, remembering that these three functions are interdependent means you must also invest in customer support in order to grow.
Acquired customers will have the longest relationship with support, which makes this particular prong arguably even more critical to growth than the others. While sales efforts are often unsuccessful or fleeting, a lost customer could have drastic repercussions for a company’s growth and reputation.
Likewise, a happy customer means ongoing and increasing revenue. With this in mind, investing in customer service should be an immediate priority for any business that hopes to succeed long term.
‘Later’ is not an option
For any business that hopes to be successful, long-term investing in customer support is not an option, it is a necessity. The reason it’s called an ‘investment’ is because customer service will have a direct relationship with a company’s bottom line and provide a business constant valuable insights to grow and improve.
Of course, no investment can be fruitful without a total overhaul of a business’s customer support methodologies.
What to invest in now:
Resources; make sure you have the right people, and the right amount of people to support your customers
Training; your support team and your entire company should be properly trained to be customer-centric (and that means you have to be employee-centric)
Software; look for customer support software that helps you manage customers and not just tickets, that integrates with other business software, and that provides the channels and self-service options your customers are looking for. Your system should enhance your customer support efforts and offer both increased efficiency and decreased costs.
Exceptional customer service gives companies room to grow and keeps clients happy. In our modern business world where competition drives each and every decision, investing in long-term success is no longer a choice, but an expectation.
Sourced from Robert C. Johnson, CEO, TeamSupport