How First-Class Customer Service Impacts Every Aspect of a Startup

  • Written By:
    Ann Smarty
  • Published On:
    September 6th, 2021
  • Read Time:
    5 Mins
  • Category:
    Retention

Start-up founders have a lot to worry about – from product quality / demand to marketing and growth hacks. Yet, one crucial step to startup launching is often overlooked: ensuring an effective customer service.

In fact, many startups I had to deal with or help to launch had no customer care strategy in place till the very last minute. It’s always “we’ll think about that when customers start flowing in” kind of philosophy.

Yet, customer service is crucial to any business success. It is fundamental to:

  • Your startup growth
  • Your business revenue
  • Your brand’s reputation

Here’s how top-notch customer service impacts each of these aspects of a startup:

1. Growth: Happy Customers Sell! And They Buy More As Well

Happy customers share their positive experience, and that may well become your unique growth hack and strongest competitive advantage. Almost 80% of consumers admit to being willing to share a positive brand experience with other people.

Word of mouth is a strong startup growth channel. You cannot really put a price tag on it because:

  • Word of mouth traffic is essentially free
  • People trust people, especially they trust your existing customers
  • Word of mouth traffic makes your business independent of any other single traffic source, like Google (which you can build for months and years and lose in a day)

On the other hand, poor customer support can cost you customers, as according to Sprout Social, one third of your potential customers (30% of people) will go to your competitor if your team doesn’t respond.

poor customer support
30% of your customers may go to your competitor because of poor customer service

Getting new customers is always a good idea but make sure to make your current customers happy!

2. ROI: Attracting New Customers is More Expensive Than Retaining Your Existing Ones

Existing customers have more trust in your brand, so they tend to spend more.

A survey by NewVoiceMedia revealed that half of customers increase their order amount with a brand after a positive experience with that business. 

Getting new customers may be expensive, so why not to adjust your strategy to re-engage your existing customers instead?

Good customer service is perceived as an added value. Almost 70% of customers are willing to pay more to get a better customer service experience. 

In fact, Customer Retention Rate (CRR) is one of the most important metrics to supercharge customer satisfaction.

What it means is that good customer service makes cross-selling and upselling easier and more effective. Remember our GIF from that upselling article? Happy customers SELL! And they buy more too!

Happy customers sell
Happy customers are your biggest brand asset

In other words, a well-organized customer care team fosters the company’s growth as happy customers buy more and are willing to sell your products to their friends and followers.

Customer support will help your customer retention as well, which always translates in higher revenue. As many as 73% of customers admit they remain loyal to brands because of friendly customer service reps.

Customer support will help your customer retention
73% of customers say they remain loyal to brands because of friendly customer service representatives

3. Reputation Management: Fast and Efficient Customer Service Can Turn Unhappy Customers into Brand Advocates

Despite popular belief, customer support is not merely about answering phone calls or emails. In our age of multiple social media sites, each of your customers may choose various platforms to voice their (negative) experience with your brand or even ask your team a question.

Listening to your existing or potential customers online and promptly attending to their needs is what I refer to as proactive customer service. 

Proactive customer service includes social media customer service (i.e. answering your customers online using their preferred social media platform) and reputation monitoring (i.e. replying to their comments on various review management sites like Google My Business or G2)

Whether you choose to bring your startup to social media sites or not, your customers are already there and many of them will feel willing to share their experience with your brand with their following as well as the whole world. According to Sprout Social, 36% of people use social media to shame a company for poor customer service. That’s more than a third of your target audience!

Another research by Sprout Social highlights the cost of poor customer service. According to that study, as many as 35% of people will boycott a brand if their social media complaint is ignored, and one fifth of them will never buy from that brand again:

Cost of poor customer support
Your brand is expected to be on social media. 35% of people will boycott a brand if their social media complaint is ignored

On the other hand, timely customer care may seriously turn things around. Almost 40% of people claim that they would buy from the brand again, despite their initial poor experience.

Customers buy agin
37% of people claim that they would buy from the brand again, despite their initial poor experience.

This means that 40% of your angry customers who were not satisfied with your product or delivery (or any other interaction with your brand will buy from you again if they get a timely and helpful response from your team on social media.

angry customers will buy again
Thanks to a positive customer support interaction, 44% of your new customers will buy from you again, despite a poor initial experience

That’s almost a third of otherwise canceled accounts!

If you are not convinced yet, social media customer service helps revive almost lost customers as well. Any brand has some kind of negative sentiment online, there’s no way around that.

Well, have you ever thought how that sentiment may impact your potential customers who are considering your brand and researching you online?

Studies claim that 44% of those people may still deal with a business if they see you are addressing negative updates and reviews in public. This means, your social media customer service may save your reputation, as well as potentially lost accounts:

Conclusion

Customer service is crucial to your startup success because it retains customers and extracts more value from them. When done well, first-class social media may impact all aspects of your startup marketing by:

  • Building customer loyalty
  • Nurturing brand ambassadors
  • Fostering more social proof (and customer feedback) and word of mouth
  • Building trust (and hence higher revenue)

If you are launching a startup (or planning to), customer support should be your business priority.

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Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, as well as co-founder of Viral Content Bee. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for over a decade, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of a weekly Twitter chat #vcbuzz

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