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6 ways to make customers the keystone of your business

KPMG Spark's online accounting service provides personal customer service to every client. Learn tips on how to make your customer service into a tool for your startup.

Customer service is a key motivator to consumers when they buy your product or service. You may have an all-star product, but without a good relationship with your customers, sales will never reach the levels that you desire.

Everybody has experience with customer service, and oftentimes our perception of a business is largely defined by how we have been treated in a customer service setting. Your level of service will define how people think of you, so it’s important to establish an effective customer service strategy in order to retain customers and generate new leads.

At KPMG Spark, we strive to give top-notch, personal service to all our clients. We provide a KPMG CPA resource for every single account so you can call, email, or text a question at a moment’s notice. It’s never easy to meet everyone’s needs perfectly, but as you strive to serve your clients’ needs, success will always reflect your respect for the customer.

We understand your journey, and we’re here to help. Here are a few tips for making your customer service into a keystone of your business strategy.

Know your product

You should know your product or service better than anyone in the world. You must understand how to use it, how it can go wrong, what the benefits are to the consumer. If you are like many businesses, you’ll spend the vast majority of your time troubleshooting your product with customers, so it’s important that you understand the ins and outs of each product or service you offer.

Knowing everything about your product drives increased sales because it shows customers the value they can find when they “buy-in” to your company long term. You can share tips, anticipate needs, and explain new features or services. This will increase your customer retention long term.

Be a problem solver

People are complicated. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to solve problems while also addressing the emotions of your clients. They may be frustrated, feel lost, or just feel embarrassed or hesitant to ask for help. As you implement a problem-solving framework in your customer service approach, you will see results. Below is a suggested step-by-step checklist to help you in your problem-solving tactics:

●      Intuition is as important as facts

●      Do your research but don’t reinvent the wheel

●      Tell the story behind the data

●      Involve the customer early

●      Do what you know

●      Respect the customer’s time

Each of these steps addresses an important part of problem-solving, but the overarching theme is to maintain perspective. Realize that you’re talking to someone (your customer!) that knows far less about the product than you do; so acknowledge and address their feelings, give them a stake in the outcome of the problem, and never stop telling your brand story.

Provide self-service options

It’s important to understand different types of customers in your quest to provide great service. While some customers want to speak with a “human being”, the truth is, some – even many! - people would rather help themselves than have to call a customer service representative. Providing easily accessible self-service information will help those customers, as well as declutter your phone line, freeing up representatives to help with other issues.

Self-service information can be included on a website or as a prerecorded message in your phone system. The information is commonly shared as FAQs, through various channels between business and customer. However, these aren’t the only ways you can pass along the information. Come up with your own way, but make sure it is as accessible as possible. This helps the customer but also helps you to prioritize your time on other tasks.

Be an active listener

Customer service gets repetitive, and that’s no mystery to anyone promoting a new product or service. There will be growing pains and people will need to have their questions answered. Although a customer service representative may get the same core questions on a regular basis, it is, however, important to be an active listener.

More often than not, verbal validation can go a long way to making a great customer interaction. Try saying things like, “Don’t worry, you’re not the only one that’s had this issue” or “I address this problem regularly, so you’re in good hands!”. Phrases like these and others will comfort the customer and help them to realize that they are being helped by with experience.

You can also use foresight and explain any additional information that could be helpful down the road, like a new feature or a useful tip for using your product or service.

Understand the customer experience

The ultimate goal of customer service should be to turn issues into non-issues. This can only occur if you understand the customer experience. This is not easy, but if done right can result in higher revenue and customer satisfaction for years to come.

The provider of the product or service - you - must understand what a customer goes through when they buy your product. How did they find it? What need is it solving for them? Why your product instead of a different brand? These are basic questions that scratch the surface of the customer experience. Let’s go even deeper with a few more. What is the profile or profiles of your customer? What do they act like? How does the product seamlessly become a part of their lifestyle?

These questions and many others can address the customer experience - an experience you must understand as deeply as possible. To answer these questions, ask for customer feedback. Create focus groups, reward online reviews, and perform market research to identify what makes your customer tick.

Serve

Lastly, make sure you focus on serving. It’s the other half of customer service that might get pushed to the side, but it’s just as important as your customer. As you serve, your customers will see your passion and understand the value of your product. For any entrepreneur, that’s the recipe that will lead to success for years to come. Here at KPMG Spark, our goal is to help you with your bookkeeping so you can focus more on other important aspects of your business, like customer service. Check out our website and schedule a consultation today to see how we can serve you!

 

This blog article is not intended to address or provide advice concerning the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services.

Some or all of the services described herein may not be permissible for KPMG audit clients and their affiliates or related entities.

The following information is not intended to be “written advice concerning one or more Federal tax matters” subject to the requirements of section 10.37(a)(2) of Treasury Department Circular 230. The information contained herein is of a general nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Applicability of the information to specific situations should be determined through consultation with your tax adviser.

 

Eric BeardenSeptember 22, 2020Posted In: Business Tips

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