Every successful conversion involves some kind of “support.”
More often, the support happens at the back-end. People don’t get to see it, but they see the product. Which makes the website an invisible selling machine.
If you think that getting the sales is all you need to build a successful business, I want you to think again.
According to Sunir Shah, CMO of Olark Live Chat, “just getting sales is not enough.”
At International Ecommerce Day, Sunir further said that the initial transaction is good, but explained why the experience behind the ‘first sale’ is much more important.
The initial sale is only 3% – 40% of the customer’s lifetime value.
But do you know that by providing a great pre and post purchase experience, your ideal customers will become loyal to your brand?
Absolutely. They will.
Great customer support inspires people to keep buying from you. In the same vein, a poor customer service would discourage them.
If you have the opportunity to meet your customers one-on-one, make sure you begin with a smile. As simple as this act is, it can inspire customers to like you and spend more.
More important, it’s vital to nurture and engage new customers. Don’t be satisfied with the initial sales, but remember there is a lot of money that you can make if you dare to exceed customer’s expectations.
A recent study from Retention Science found that it’s 7x cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. And the profitability of converting existing customers vs. new customers is high.
Customer support is unarguably the most powerful way to grow a profitable business from scratch.
Top brands, such as Zappos, Dodocase, Aweber, HelpScout, and the like, have successfully increased sales through a rich and dynamic customer support.
Even SaaS businesses can use customer support principles in their content marketing strategies and become super useful for their audience. For example, GrooveHQ grew their startup in 2014 to $50,000 in monthly recurring revenue, by simply identifying their customer’s pain points, creating highly useful content, and addressing every question.
Here are proven ways to improve customer support and get more sales:
1. Be available
To a large extent, customer loyalty is the direct result of brand availability.
One of the key findings of a survey conducted by the CMO Council on more than 1300 customers shows that “33% of respondents says a commitment to excellent customer service is a significant factor in their loyalty to the brand.”
How do you feel when you have a technical issue, but you can’t get hold of a customer attendant?
It’s not a good feeling.
Customers (both new and existing) are looking for brands that can address their questions, anytime they want.
Availability also extends into the future.
For instance, if you started a company today, and it fizzles out in 4 months, you’ve succeeded in denting your credibility.
In the future, customers may not trust you again with their hard earned money.
Several studies have shown that 80% of the company’s profit comes from 20% of customers. Consequently, if you’re not available to cater to this 20% of your existing customers, they may never take you seriously.
There are simple things that you can do to get customers excited about your brand and products.
To start off on the right note, make sure that you have your phone number and support email prominently displayed on your site.
Customers should have an alternative way of reaching or contacting you if they choose not to call or email you.
Live Chat is one of the leading tactics for streamlining your customer support and being available.
TheBlackTux uses Olark live chat solution to provide real-time support and convince customers to order their own black tuxedo.
The Black Tux team provides one of the coolest responses, more important, the speed at which they provide answers to a customer’s question is inspiring.
Here’s the online conversation between a customer support attendant and a customer:
2. Solicit feedback from your customers
“Presumably, the goal of customer feedback solicitation process is to get unbiased insight from customers about how the firm is doing, what good things it should continue to do, and what bad things it should seek to improve.”
American Marketing Association
Do you want to provide the best customer service ever?
If yes, then start collecting customer’s feedback. That’s the only way to address their concerns on time.
Forrester estimated that “45% of U.S. customers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns aren’t addressed quickly”.
Customer feedback is the pillar that holds your business together. The feedback can be positive or negative. What matters is the “heart” in it. You can learn from it, either way.
It’s important to recognize that your customers are human beings. “They want to be heard and respected and to have their guidance incorporated into your vision and strategic plan,” says Woods.
Truth is, you can get feedback from your customers through different methods.
Since you don’t have 100% control over your customers, because they come from different channels while entering your marketing funnel, you have to be systematic about customer support.
Whether it’s inbound, PR, or direct traffic sources, one thing is sure. You want these people to visit your website or landing page – and automatically become qualified buyers – even before they buy your product.
So, if you get the majority of your customers from mobile sources (e.g., smartphones), you can request for their phone numbers, which you can text your survey questions.
On the other hand, if your customers are from desktop channels, requesting their email addresses, and sending the survey questionnaire through email will get you more results.
Comments, online feedback forms and surveys, live chats, and so forth, are some of the proven methods of soliciting customer feedback.
Once you’re armed with this feedback, use them to create content that answers the questions in the step by step format. Also, use the feedback to develop hypotheses for an A/B testing plan and improve your website’s performance.
3. Cross-sell irresistible offers
Do you have compelling and relevant offers (e.g., books, software, plugins, themes, consulting service) that your existing customers will benefit from?
If yes, then you have the opportunity to make more profit from the same customers.
Beyond that, offering valuable products to loyal customers will cement the bond that exists between your brand and the customer.
After all, everyone wants to get the best offer that will solve their problems. And that’s exactly what you’re doing when you cross-sell.
Through your marketing activity, you create awareness for your product, build interest and a strong desire in the customer’s heart.
But through sales processes, you set actionable steps that’ll help increase your sales. And talking about getting more sales, there are two tactics you should adopt:
i) Upsell: To upsell simply means to convince the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, and more – in order to generate more profitable sales for your business.
ii) Cross-sell: It is the selling technique whereby the seller (you) persuades the existing customers to buy additional product or service that are complementary.
Here’s the explanatory chart:
Get your team and marketing system ready. Start cross-selling the products that your customers have indicated interest in the past.
Here’s an example of how Amazon cross-sells additional products to customers before they complete an order.
We all know that Amazon is a champion at persuading their customers to buy. But how does Amazon cross-sell new items?
As an example, when a customer adds a digital camera to the cart, the sales system will automatically offer him or her lens or a camera bag to go along with this purchase.
Cross-selling works, because 99% of the time, the new product that you offer complements the initial order. If you want to find out more about these two techniques, read more on the GetElastic Blog.
Don’t complicate customer support.
It’s not as hard as most people think. When it comes to building customer loyalty, you don’t want to get carried away by over-delivering on your promise.
Instead, focus on the plain-vanilla promises and meet them.
For example, if your product promises to help B2B companies increase their email leads generation by 18% in 30 days, focus on that.
Don’t try to make an unrealistic promise of boosting lead generation by 50% – when you know deep down that you can’t do it.
In all, be consistent. Creating a memorable customer support, and eventually, an experience that isn’t a one-time event, but a continuous process.
Put these 3 simple techniques to work today, and improve your customer service and sales.
Which other proven techniques do you use to enhance customer support in your business?