Our Top Tips for Small Businesses Expanding Their Customer Service Offering

Things have been going quite well for your business, numbers are steadily growing and you’ve got a good name. Is it time to think about scaling your operations?

You’ll no doubt be thinking about stepping up production, expanding your staff roster and upping expenditure on marketing. However, be sure not to overlook your customer service department.

Why is customer service so important for growing businesses?

Businesses, especially growing businesses, receive a lot of messages every day. Despite this, a staggering 62 per cent of companies don’t respond to customer emails.

This is a major mistake and also represents a lost opportunity. If messages go unanswered, not only can this can reflect very badly on your company, it means that your business can only grow so far.

Letting any query go unanswered is an error. Responding both quickly and to your client's complete satisfaction not only helps to attract customers, but to retain them too. This is because customers who have any doubts resolved quickly won’t then go in search of answers elsewhere.

Similarly, if post-sale problems or complaints aren’t resolved, a one-time buyer will never become a loyal customer.

If your customers aren’t satisfied, your business won’t grow to its full potential.

Problems businesses can face when scaling customer care

Scaling your customer service offering is not always straightforward. Message overload is a problem that can easily occur if you’re not prepared.

There are three main reasons why companies struggle to keep on top of customer queries.

  • Too many channels to monitor. Delivering good customer service means giving your customers multiple ways of contacting you. However, this also means having separate accounts for email, phone, Whatsapp, Live Chat and more - and keeping track of all of their log-ins for all users.
  • No automation. With no automation in place, collaboration across multiple channels can be complicated. Some channels are less collaboration-friendly than others and, consequently, agents have to navigate the minefield of duplicate messages and can end up treading on other agents’ toes. This inefficiency is frustrating both for your team and the clients affected.
  • A lack of investment in customer service solutions. Running a dedicated customer service team can be expensive. As a result, it’s often a part of a business that gets overlooked. Similarly, if your customer care team is small, resources can be stretched and that means that customer queries can go unanswered.

Tips for growing your customer service department

Expanding your customer service department to match the growth of your company is tricky, but doesn’t have to be expensive.

Here are some of our top tips for small businesses looking to scale their customer care offering.

1) Invest in customer service early

Most business owners instinctively know that customer service is important, but it’s not always one of the first areas of the business that is invested in.

While it’s natural to want to prioritise meeting orders, increasing production and dealing with suppliers, the data doesn’t lie. Customer service is vitally important to any business’ success. An increase in customer retention of just five per cent can equate to a 25-per-cent increase in profit.

Simply put, if you don’t have a dedicated customer service team, or your existing team is struggling with message overload, this can have a direct impact on revenue in both the short and long term. Dissatisfied customers will look elsewhere, and existing ones won’t be retained.

If a dedicated team is beyond your resources, one of our partners Atender can offer shared customer service teams that even start-ups can afford.

2) Decide which channels you’re going to actively cover

In this digital age, if you want your customers to be happy with your customer service, you have to give them a range of options to get in touch with you. Having only a contact number and email address just won’t cut it anymore.

However, that means managing multiple channels (Whatsapp, SMS, Live Chat and more) and this can quickly become onerous.

That said, prioritising a text-based service will bring your offering right up to date. An estimated 60 per cent of retail customers choose to text rather than phone a call centre, while 43 per cent of consumers will actively choose to text businesses over other methods.

This phenomenon is due to the fact that almost all consumers are now comfortable communicating by text message. This is because it’s the same medium they would ordinarily use with their friends and family members on a daily basis.

This is also down to the fact that, by texting, users can interact at their own pace, multitask and pick up where they left off.

What’s more, with tools such as Superagent, you don’t have to choose between communication channels. Bring together SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger (coming soon) and many other channels in one place to make it easier for your support agents.

Instead of taking one phone call or writing one email at a time, with text messaging, customer support agents can handle up to six interactions at once. This is in large part thanks to features such as pre-written Conversation Blocks.

3) Produce content that allows customers to help themselves

Getting quality content for your webpage is never a bad idea, especially if that content resolves customers’ issues quickly and stops them from having to contact you.

Hire a copywriter or content specialist and they can work with your marketing team to put themselves in the shoes of a potential customer and ask what information they might require and what questions they’re likely to have.

In turn, they can use this to improve product descriptions or to create an FAQ section for self-help on your website. Additionally, this content can be referred to when customers reach out to you, speeding up response times and letting your team focus on more complex issues.

That said, self-service content can’t be static. This content needs to be reviewed and renewed at least once a year to ensure that it is up to date and still relevant.

4) Have some structure in place, even if it’s basic

Staying on top of customer conversations and resolving any problems is difficult if you’re disorganised. In order to prevent customers from receiving multiple responses or, worse still, none at all, you need to have some structure to your response - even if it’s rudimentary.

On a basic level, you need to have someone who is primarily (but not solely) responsible for customer service, directing others as and when they are required to participate.

This is made easy with a customer service tool such as Superagent. Thanks to its easy-to-use helpdesk, agents can manage customer interactions all in one place, without duplicates.

Not only does Superagent make it quicker to organise your clients’ messages, but its intuitive tools also make it easier to answer them too. Through the use of Conversation Blocks, you can have a wide selection of template messages already prepared that anticipate certain scenarios or frequently asked questions.

They can be loaded up and sent quickly thanks to easy-to-use keyboard shortcuts, allowing you to respond in a semi-automatic fashion.

5) Listen to your support team (if you have one)

Your support team interacts with your customers on a daily basis. They hear how they use your product and the problems they encounter. So, doesn’t it make sense to listen to their input?

Opening up lines of communication between customer support and leadership can be an extremely useful source of information. Insights from those who spend the most time with your customers can be harnessed to drive results in the future.

For example, if you’re about to launch a new product or service, ask for the feedback of your customer support team. Based on past experience with customers, they may be able to highlight potential issues and help to avoid problems. Likewise, with marketing campaigns, they may be able to shine a light on issues or features that they know will be of interest to customers.

6) Find a partner that can help you

Creating a dedicated customer service department from scratch can be quite a large undertaking. If you’re lacking the time or the resources, outsourcing is a good option.

Companies like Atender can help you scale - even if your business is still in its infancy. They can take on all the work so that you don’t have to.

Expand your customer support offering with Superagent

Difficult problems need intelligent solutions. And scaling your customer service doesn’t need to be difficult.

Offer your customers the possibility to contact you via SMS, Whatsapp, email, Live Chat, Facebook Messenger (coming soon) and many other channels and be able to control them all in one place.

Our intelligent, easy-to-use helpdesk can get you organised and on top of all enquiries so that you can increase revenues, improve customer satisfaction and save money.

Whether for desktop or mobile, download the program here and say hello to increased efficiency and a better all-round experience for both customer and agent.