Customer support is often the most important aspect of a business.
As a startup, during your initial days, you may not focus on customer support. At this stage, it is important to concentrate on the quality of your service or product. However, once you have onboarded a few customers, you need to have dedicated personnel who can respond to their support queries and collect feedback. This feedback can help you refine the product or service on offer to align with the market’s needs.
Proven customer service tips for any startup
The customer service tips for startups discussed below will offer you actionable insights on how to make the most of your customers' reviews and feedback.
1. Have a streamlined system in place for managing customer queries.
You need to have a dedicated email to which customers can forward their queries. Also, each customer should be given qualitative time for resolving their specific issues. For this, adopt a smart yet simple process through which your team can cater to customers' needs and also learn from their feedback.
2. Conduct regular meetings for resolving common customer problems.
Customer feedback, if analyzed properly, offers accurate insights into what your customers need from your product. The product development will not have to rely on vague assumptions drawn from studying market trends. Have regular meetings for resolving common issues customers face, and integrate the fixes in the next product release.
3. Keep your complete team involved.
One of the most important customer support tips is to involve everyone in your startup in customer care. As your business and data silos scale, your team needs to constantly monitor the pulse of customers. When customer support is an inclusive process, everyone needs to be aware of company metrics and contribute accordingly.
4. Learn from customer demands.
Listen to your customers' demands carefully and try to incorporate them in your product development process. Devise customer feedback tools to learn about your customer satisfaction index. Once your team closes a support case, find out if the customer was satisfied with your help. The immediate feedback can bring about significant improvements in your support process.
5. Focus on success parameters first.
As a startup, you need to achieve success and gain a foothold in a competitive market. Focus on that first. You need not spend time on smoothing out the support process with ticket SLAs and other systemic integrations. Instead of focusing on how to close tickets faster, concentrate on how you can improve your service and customer experience.
6. Focus on tangible solutions.
If your startup is delivering software, ask your engineering team to steer clear of quick fixes. See if they can work out an innovative solution instead of hacking existing workarounds. Sustaining the software for the long run should be the goal. Avoid quick bug fixes that offer temporary respite but create a major problem down the line. Quick fixes often prove expensive in the long run. Designate an executive who can be in constant touch with the customer support team. You might also consider outsourcing your customer support to survive in stiff competition.
7. Invest in good people.
If you have good customer support personnel, invest in them. Help them succeed. Make them happy. If you don't have good people, invest the time and energy to recruit quality leadership into customer support. Everything else is easier when you have quality personnel doing the job, and that is never more true than with customer support.
8. Focus on positive language.
It's shocking how much benefit you can gain from small language shifts. When you apologize to a customer, you focus on the negative. Simply switching from "I'm sorry" to "we can help" shifts the tone. Friendly interactions are the key to customer service, and using this simple adjustment can change a customer's point of view of the situation.
9. Provide timely responses.
Inevitably, you have been on the receiving end of a poor customer service interaction. What was the worst part? Was the representative rude? Did they fail to provide a resolution? Did you have to wait a long time?
When responses are timely, customers are less frustrated, and you have a better opportunity to leave them happy. If your system isn't timely enough, embrace the modern era and use social media. Facebook and Twitter are amazing communication tools that customers can use to reach you when other channels aren't helpful. Share your social media pages with consumers and monitor them vigilantly to ensure no one is waiting too long for a response.
10. Build a powerful knowledge base.
We live in the age of the internet. Many of your customers are internet savvy and are perfectly happy resolving their own issues. Your help desk empowers them to do that without having to wait on a conversation with a customer service rep. Pay attention to the questions customers ask, and answer them thoroughly and easily in your knowledge base. Make it as intuitive and easy to navigate as possible. The happiest customers are those who never have to wait for help.
Customer support outsourcing for startups
If your startup outsources customer support to an efficient agency, you can focus more on creating value with disruptive technological tools. Quality of customer service would also improve. Only if customers are satisfied can your startup hope to survive in a competitive niche.
Even if a single customer leaves, your startup's bottom line would be adversely impacted. Roping in a new customer is not easy for a startup. Hence, you need to invest in customer care and must have a reliable call center. [Looking to outsource your customer service to a call center? Check out our best picks and reviews.]
Advantages of a contact center solution
Your startup will reap many benefits from a dedicated contact center:
- A focus on developing cutting-edge products or services
- A significant increase in efficiency and productivity
- Time and cost savings
- Increased customer retention and loyalty
- Comprehensive and conclusive support for customers' needs
Selecting the best call center service provider
When you think of outsourcing customer support requirements, your mind probably goes to the reputable names in call center outsourcing. Such call centers can cater to hundreds of customers and have sophisticated technologies. You need to analyze if the scale of operations and infrastructure of your startup are large enough to hire a call center.
Editor's note: Looking to outsource your customer service to a call center? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.
Take into account that call center executives would not merely answer calls. They would serve as vital links between your brand and customers. While choosing a call center for your needs, you should consider the following points.
1. Availability of service.
Customers' loyalty to and relationship with your brand would be dented if you have service outages. Even five minutes of downtime could lose you half of your customers.
The call center you choose must be reliable and have a robust contingency plan in place. You need to ask your prospective call center the following things before outsourcing:
- How do you efficiently handle are emergency cases?
- What proactive steps do you take to inform customers of outages?
- How are calls rerouted? Is it smooth, or are there delays?
- Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place?
- What is the center's capacity for handling multilanguage customers?
2. Cost optimization.
You need to discuss with your shortlisted call centers how fixed costs would transform into variable ones. The cost savings would allow you to invest in other areas of product development.
3. Relevant knowledge of your industry.
You must learn if the call center agents and managers have an adequate understanding of the type of business your startup does. You should understand the tools and strategies the call center would deploy to offer better customer services.
4. Scalability index.
Customer call volumes would not be the same every time. If there is a reduction in volume, you need to know if the call center would pass on the monetary benefits to you in the form of rebates. This is because call centers usually handle multiple clients and can adjust to the rise and drop in call volumes. An important customer service tip for small businesses considering outsourcing is to understand the scalability index of the call center. When the volume of calls to your startup grows, the contact center must be able to delegate additional manpower.
5. Quality consciousness.
The call center staff must be able to professionally handle customers' messages and calls. The center should have access to advanced call monitoring tools as well as must assess its infrastructural capabilities periodically to ensure that customer complaints are resolved in the first attempt. If not, the revert time must be very low.
The summary of all customer service tips is that you must be able to establish a professional rapport with your customers for your startup to grow. If you fail to cater to customers' preferences and behavioral patterns, even your stellar product may fail to bring the deserved success level. Outsourcing your customer service wing to a proficient strategic partner is one way to enjoy success in the long run.