If you own a digital agency or are primarily based online, you have a problem. And that problem is that you are theoretically competing with companies around the world.
Once you take away any physical limitations, what’s to stop someone from your local area hiring a service provider thousands of miles away instead of you?
This is especially true when you consider the fact that, no matter how good your product is, other providers offer one that is just as good. It’s extremely difficult to differentiate purely based on the quality of your product. This is nothing more than a baseline requirement!
The fact of the matter is, in today’s competitive context, the only way to create a sustained advantage over your rivals is by providing a unique experience.
What do we mean by “experience”?
When we talk about experiences with a business, we’re casting a very broad net. If you want a general definition, it refers to the impression customers have of your brand at any point of contact with you.
If they stumble upon a blog post, it must look professional and informative. If they reach out to customer service, it must be prompt, friendly, and helpful. If they send an email, they must receive a reply.
Every time they come into contact with your brand, their expectations of who you are and how your brand communicates need to be the same.
Much of this can be accomplished by having a good brand strategy that ensures the look and feel of your brand always remains consistent. Where it becomes more difficult on a daily basis is specifically with regard to customer service experience.
Considering the number of agents a customer may communicate with and the number of channels they may communicate on, ensuring that the experience is always positive is no easy feat.
Challenges in providing a smooth customer service experience
Let’s imagine a customer has a complaint and they send an email. They receive an answer and are told to call customer service. They’re a little annoyed at having to use a different channel, but decide to go ahead. Once they ring, they are asked to explain what the issue is. They explain, for the second time, what the problem is.
The customer service specialist says that they aren’t authorized to handle the issue and hand them over to one of their colleagues. Once their colleague is on the phone, they ask the customer to explain their situation again, for the third time.
At this stage, the customer is going to be very frustrated. They were initially unhappy with something and at every point were met with more barriers to their goal. This is a bad experience in terms of customer service.
Experience as a value differentiator
On the flip side, providing a sleek customer service experience has huge benefits for your company. There’s a reason that two thirds of companies claim to compete based on customer service and that there’s a reported 80% increase in revenue for businesses that focus on it. In fact, SaaS companies can even increase revenue by up to $1 billion thanks to customer experience.
But how does customer service help boost revenue?
Customers are willing to pay more
Customers are simply willing to hand over more money if there’s better customer service. In fact, an incredible 86% of customers have stated that they are willing to pay more simply to receive better service.
And this makes perfect sense. There’s no reason whatsoever that anyone should have to put up with bad service in this day and age!
Better reviews and referrals
The impact of a bad review can be crushing for your business. When someone is at the point of making a purchase and they’re just about to hand over their cash, nothing can dissuade them more than a bad review. In fact, the same percentage of customers that are willing to pay more for customer service will also hesitate to buy because of a bad review.
On the other end of the spectrum, the power of positive reviews can have a huge impact on people’s choice to do business with you.
Guides their decision to buy
Finally, good customer service can actually help you get the sale in the first place.
The role of CRMs in improving customer experience
CRMs or customer relationship management platforms are essential in order to provide a well-rounded customer service experience. Remember our example before about the frustrated customer?
The root of that frustration is because the business didn’t have any omnichannel capabilities. What that means is that behind the scenes the information wasn’t being shared. If the customer contacts them via email, it stays in the email channel. If they call them, only the customer service agent who answers knows what’s going on.
Providing an omnichannel experience is only possible if you have a platform that stores information assigned to a specific customer profile that is easily accessible to all service reps.
This is what CRMs do. With a CRM properly set up, it doesn’t matter what channel a customer contacts you on, whether Facebook Messenger, email, your blog, or wherever. You will be able to get an overview of the last messages. This is a huge benefit to you as it means the customer doesn’t have to spend time repeating themselves, especially in moments when they might be more impatient.
How does this work?
Let’s imagine this scenario now. Your sales rep has a call with a prospect who isn’t yet a customer. But that doesn’t mean this is the first time they’ve come into contact with your business.
So, before the appointment, they look at your CRM to see every email, call, SMS message or other activity they’ve had with that person. They notice that the prospect has asked quite a few times about sales automation and gather together some information that might help them. They also notice that they’ve been using a free version of the software and may be willing to upgrade.
The call goes well and the sales rep is able to anticipate or answer any questions the prospect has. When they ask “how are you finding the free trial?” the prospect answers positively and they agree to upgrade to the premium service.
From this point on, any contact that the customer has with the company is recorded. Any sales rep can always be up to date, meaning they can always move forward with a new issue—rather than playing catch up.
This is how customer service experience becomes your signature competitive advantage.
At Pipeline.so, we provide an end-to-end CRM solution that can help you provide a customer service that truly stands out. With added powerful email marketing, calling, and other incredible features, it can help you to lift your business up and stand out from the competition. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you, please get in touch today!