SME Customer Service

by | Aug 10, 2016

SME customer service, It’s your competitive advantage. Customers are no longer buying a product, they are buying an experience. Customer service is the support you offer to your customer before, during and after they buy a product. The question is whether your customer experience offers an easy and enjoyable experience to your customers. It’s more than just providing product support. It’s a key part of the promise your brand makes to its customers.

SME customer service – why it matters

Customer service can have a big impact on your bottom line. Previously, customers choose a vendor based on product, price or brand. Today the vendor choice is often based on the overall customer experience.

According to Gartner:

89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of the customer experience

Your customer experience is your competitive advantage. Customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. It’s is significantly easier to sell to an existing and happy customer compared to selling to new customers.

From Product to Customer Experience

The 4P’s are out and the 4E’s are in. Most marketing people was taught about the four Ps of marketing. However, in a world with more supply than demand, companies need to compete on experience instead of product.

SMEs need to discover and map out their full customer journey. Does your customer experience live up to your brand promise? With every customer relationship, you need to reduce friction and make it easier for customers to do business with your company. You need to compete on the experience instead of the product.

Customer Service Statistics

SME Customer Service

Customer Service Basics

  1. Every customer interaction creates a personal reaction. Your customer experience need to be designed with your customer in mind. Make sure your customer facing employees are empowered to help your customers.
  1. What get measured, get done. Measure, incent and celebrate good customer service experiences. Clearly define expectations and provide constant feedback to your customer team.
  1. Focus on your customer. Shift from self-centeredness to customer focused. Don’t let your internal processes or organization structure determine the customer experience. Don’t sell products, help your customers buy them.
  1. Always maintain an external customer focus. Talk about customer needs and not personal preferences. Share customer insights with everyone in your organization.
  1. Happy and engaged employees provide a better customer experience. Unengaged employees provide a bad customer experience. Make it easy for your employees to do the right thing.
  1. Keep it real. If your company is not committed to customer experience, your customers will know. You cannot fake it.

Build your company brand with superior customer service

As a small business that compete with larger, more established companies, with more resources, a superior customer service can be your competitive advantage. Your customer experience, is all about creating a competitive advantage that will enable you to stand out above the crowd of competitors.

Your brand helps to distinguish your company from its competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of the customer. If your company consistently deliver a superior customer experience it will create a lasting impression in the mind of your customer. If you are easy to do business with, less friction, your customers are more likely to return for more business in the future

CRM and customer service

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides a strong foundation to help SMEs build strong customer relationships and facilitate great customer experiences.

Key CRM capabilities:

  • Track and manage your customer information, purchases and key touch points, such as phone, web, email, chat and social media interactions.
  • Capture customer history and segmentation information to help prioritize and facilitate customer support
  • Define rules and escalations for customer follow up. Help you ensure timely follow up and quick escalation to address issues before they spiral out of control.
  • Log customer support tickets in a centralized database. This can help both your support team and customers find answers faster.
  • Measure and report on customer support experiences to enable continues improvement and learning.

With a CRM software, SMEs get a powerful framework to deliver good customer experiences. Build a knowledge base to help new employees learn about frequently asked questions. Use customer feedback to make product and service improvements.

SME Customer Service Road Map

Step one: Define your company objectives

The first step is to get a commitment from all stakeholders, specifically senior management, about the importance of delivering a great customer experience. Once everyone is onboard, you need to clearly define issues and business objectives. Assess your existing capabilities, prioritize your markets and customers.

Step Two: Understand your current customer perception

Remember that a good customer experience is NOT defined by you. It’s defined by your customers. You need to start listening and engaging with your existing customer to understand their current perception. Collect views of customers and their experiences.

Step three: Develop your customer experience strategy

When defining your customer experience strategy, you need to also review your brand promise. Assess your competitors and define a strategy that will help you deliver a competitive customer experience.

Step four: Define your ideal customer experience

Identify customer touch points and delivery channels. Remember that your customer experience includes your website, phone, email and any other interaction your customer might have with your brand. Consider how you can make it easier for the customer to buy from you by reducing any friction there might exist in the customer experience. Define relevant KPIs and metrics to measure the customer experience.

Step 5: Implement supporting tools and infrastructure

For your new customer experience strategy to succeed, you need to have tools in place to help you manage the process and data. A CRM software provides a strong platform to help you execute your customer experience strategy.

Step 6: Continue to listen, measure, monitor and improve

Creating a great customer experience is not a one-time effort. It will require a continued focus and effort from your entire organization. It needs to be a continued effort that is improved over time. Because of this, it is critical that you continue to capture feedback and monitor results to learn from past data to make improvements.

What’s next in your SME customer service journey

SMEs are faced with increased competition and pressure of profit margins. To stay relevant, SMEs need to reinvent their business model and make their customer experience a competitive advantage.

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