Small businesses have an advantage over larger businesses when it comes to customer service. Since there are less levels of workers between the manufacturer of the product and the head of the company, nearly everyone is involved with every aspect of creation, marketing and sales of the company’s products.
The larger the corporation, the more separation there is between the workers who create the products and the people who sell them. That separation makes it more difficult for large businesses to maintain customer service without hiring experts to do the job. For businesses that are concerned with their customer service abilities but want to grow larger, it is an ironic Catch-22.
Growing with customer service in mind
To make your company truly successful, customer service will have to grow at the same rate as the company. At no point do you want your customers to feel that they are not important to your business.
Your goal is to make customer service an ongoing process that continuously makes small adjustments at every level of your company. For every action taken by your business, or by your customers, there should be a corresponding action to keep your customers happy and satisfied with your service.
Although it sounds difficult, the sheer amount of data available about your customers, both as a group and individually, makes it easy to keep track of what is important to them and how well your company manages it. Analyzing and correlating the data is the challenging task.
Strategies to improve your customer service
Although every company is unique, there are several strategies that can be taken to improve customer service and make your company truly customer centric:
- Customer Experience Management (CXM). CXM, simplistically, is a management philosophy that runs your business based on customer analytics. By maintaining and compiling data about the customers, CXM takes the philosophy that the customer is always right to a higher level. Not only is the customer always right, the wants of the customer base provide the direction for the company to go in.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM). Directed marketing aimed to get your products in front of the people most likely to buy them is the theme behind the social media marketing boom. Again, customer data plays a large part, but instead of relying on existing customers to decide your direction, SMM aims at specific groups to increase sales and establish your brand.
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The reverse of SMM, search engine marketing makes your company more attractive to search engine algorithms to make your website the most popular according to your search criteria. SEM and Search Engine Optimization expand your customer base while still retaining brand identity and customer expectations.
- Virtual Call Centers (VCC). Although the VCC is primarily designed to answer customer queries and complaints, the call center software is a handy tool to survey and analyze what your current customers think of your business and what you can do to make their experiences better. It also gives you a built-in platform for advertising for your current customer base.
None of these strategies are mutually exclusive, allowing companies to mix-and-match methods to find what works for them. These strategies are also flexible enough to grow with your company.
For the small business on a budget, any of these options are better and less expensive than trying to manage customer interaction within your company. Outstripping your resources is the primary concern as you add levels to your organization.