Customer service has become one of the most important things your business needs to get right. It’s no longer an added extra that you tag on to a great product, it’s become a key part of the decision-making process for customers.
Oftentimes today, businesses aren’t competing on product and price. They’re competing over who can provide the best service and keep their customers happy. Mostly this is because customers have more choice now than they’ve ever had.
If they call you and you don’t answer the phone, they can just call one of a dozen other providers who offer a similar product or service.
Which means you need to be available when they call.
One sure way to do this is to invest in a virtual receptionist, who can take over your call answering when you’re busy doing a job you’re being paid for, or are in a meeting.
By having someone available to answer the phone, rather than relying on voicemail or a robotic answering service, you’ll put that human connection front and center in your business, and get your customer relationships off on the right foot.
But what if you don’t?
What if, instead of investing in a virtual receptionist, you just continue to let calls go to voicemail or ring out?
Or you pay for a cheap call center style answering service where people can do no more than taking names and numbers of callers?
Let’s take a look at the main results of failing to invest in your customer service.
Say goodbye to your reputation
Reputation is everything in business today.
So much so that many customers say they would be willing to pay more money to get a product from a company they trusted, rather than take a cheaper deal with a company they don’t know.
If you start to be seen as a business with poor customer service, it won’t take long before your reputation takes a hit, and your business’ bank balance along with it.
Fail to convert leads
Converting leads is difficult.
All it takes to lose a sale, or lose an existing customer is one point of friction at one point in the sales process.
Missing a single phone call could be the difference between closing a sale, and losing a deal.
Think about your own experience.
How annoyed have you been when you tried to get help from a business, or ask about their product and service, and never hear anything back?
And how likely would you be to call them again?
Lose future business
Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you the real value of a customer isn’t the initial sale, it’s the ongoing business and lifetime value you get with a customer after that first sale.
This is because it’s cheaper to retain and resell to existing customers than it is to keep winning new business.
Bad customer service can quickly drive away customers who want a better experience, and can drastically decrease your business’ average customer lifetime value.
This means you’ll have to spend more money on marketing and sales to win new business, which will eat into your profits.
Decrease employee morale
No one wants to work somewhere if they’re constantly dealing with customer complaints, especially when complaints are down to poor customer service.
Some of the biggest customer complaints are simply that a customer has struggled to get in touch with a business to resolve a problem – making the initial problem worse.
If you’re a sole trader, this can add to the stress of running your business.
If you have employees, it can quickly kill your morale as employees deal more often with complaints.
Put your business’ future at risk
Simply put, not being available for customers and gaining a reputation for poor customer service can put your business’ future at risk.
If customers see you as unreliable, they’ll simply avoid you and go to the competition.
And once you get to the point that customers are actively avoiding you, it will take a huge marketing investment to turn them around – once you’ve improved your customer service in the first place.
Understanding business’ new battleground
Customer service has now become the new battleground for businesses looking to win and retain customers.
The amount of competition they face on product and price, means they need a new way to stand out.
One of the easiest ways to stand out, is simply be available when customers need you.
If you’re in a position where you can’t always answer the phone, investing in a virtual receptionist can make sure your business is always available.
A virtual receptionist can answer your business’ calls, take messages, or divert calls to the right members of your team.
Not only that, but you can use them to book meetings and take over basic admin tasks – and you can even use a virtual receptionist to help with your lead generation.
However you do it, you need to put more focus on customer service if you want to survive in the new world of business.