Most aspects of building a successful startup are relatively easy. Business owners who have an idea for a product or a service will likely have spent months or even years thinking of the idea and perfecting it before launching their company.
However, there are many parts of running a business that are easily forgotten by startup entrepreneurs, including customer service. They might think something like, “Oh, customer service is easy! You just make the customer happy and then they keep coming back to give you money” without thinking too deeply about how to accomplish that goal.
According to a survey conducted by ASU’s WP Carey School of Business, companies across the country are at risk of losing $887 billion in future revenue due to poor customer service. Let’s take a look at a few ways to increase customer happiness without tanking revenues by overspending.
Offer Discounts Instead of Free Products
Too often, entrepreneurs will offer too much to keep a customer. When a customer starts yelling, they might apologize profusely and proclaim “I’ll give you six months free of our highest tier of service!” without thinking about it.
Those six months can be a massive drain on resources, with employees spending too much time focused on a non-paying customer. Worse yet, the customer could choose to leave for a different service after the six months are up, leaving the startup with nothing. Instead, offering a 25 or 50% discount could be a better option.
With this method, the business is still receiving money (albeit a lesser amount) during a critical time when it needs revenue to continue or else be forced to look for an angel investor to save the company from bankruptcy.
By running data analysis on your current customer service programs, you can learn a lot of valuable money-saving information. For example, imagine a Web 3.0 company that allows users to pay for software programs with various types of cryptocurrency.
After running customer service analytics, the company finds that 80% of customer service complaints involve situations where customers choose to pay with Litecoin, which is significantly less popular than cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. However, only 3% of customers were paying with LiteCoin to begin with. By eliminating the problem option, the company can save time and money for both itself and its customer base.
Sometimes the solution may not be that simple. Imagine a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that sells as a suite a package of five programs aimed at artists. The most popular program, the one that converts drawings to animation, is the most complained about and the other four programs are mostly ignored.
In this instance, it’s better to focus the budget on improving the product than giving away solutions for free. Instead, a customer incentive could be a (normally) paid tool or service within that program offered for a limited time. This also incorporates one of the prime goals of customer service: it should be an arm of the marketing department. Making sure customers are happy is an important part of business and, in many ways, its own reward. However, it’s also a good way to keep turning a profit.
Outsourcing to Contact Centers
Perhaps the most effective way to provide excellent customer service that doesn’t cost an insane amount of money is to outsource it to a contact center. What is a contact center, you may ask? It’s similar to a call center, where a third-party company provides customer service and support for multiple businesses over the phone.
A contact center provides more than just running a company’s customer service helpline, however. They also handle email, live chats, social media, and much more. Instead of giving a Customer Service team salary, paid time off, and other benefits, a startup can outsource all of that work to a contact center run by dedicated professionals for a low monthly or yearly fee.
This can also lead to a higher level of customer service and, in turn, allow you to charge more for products. According to a 2022 study, 58% of American consumers would be willing to pay more money for a product or service if it meant they got a higher level of customer service.
Customer service is a vital factor in the success of many businesses. Ensuring a consistent level of care for customers can significantly increase a startup’s revenue and help them reach the next level of business success.