Customer support goes far beyond responding to customer questions. When strategized well, it will boost customer satisfaction, retain customers, and encourage brand advocacy. Above all, it can be a powerful sales tool.
Here is how to use customer service to boost sales.
1. Communicate to Customers
Modern customers know the internet like the back of their hands. When seeking fast fixes, most of them will not contact your customer support reps. Instead, they will try to find the answer to their question themselves. Statistics say that 40% of consumers prefer self-service over human contact.
Self-service options, such as a detailed FAQ page, a comprehensive knowledge base, and helpful video tutorials, can answer your customers’ common questions. They will save your agents time and help them focus on more complex tasks. However, self-service provides no sales opportunities.
Say that you are selling social media software and that one of its features is continuously confusing users. If every customer read a guide on your knowledge base and found the answer to their problem there, you would not be aware of the problem. However, if customers contacted your business to seek help, your customer support team would realize how widespread the issue was and report it to your product team to fix.
Additionally, remember that communication with your customer support agents via live chat, email, or call center feels more personal and friendly. That is the opportunity to strengthen customer relationships and encourage their loyalty.
2. Use Reciprocity to Boost Customer Satisfaction
Reciprocity represents a social norm that, if someone does something nice for us, we will respond to their action with another positive action.
In sales and marketing, reciprocity plays a major role. Companies give customers promotional products to inspire them to come back. Or, they share valuable content (eBooks, guides, webinars, whitepapers) in exchange for customer information.
Customer support teams can also apply reciprocity to maximize sales. Make sure your customer service reps are kind and compassionate. They should understand customers and always provide them with detailed and relevant feedback. That will encourage customer loyalty and inspire users to purchase more and come back.
3. Minimize Customer Effort
Customers reach out to your support team for a simple reason – they want to actionable tips and straightforward answers to their questions. If your customer service is too complicated, slow, or poorly optimized, a customer will never come back. According to some recent statistics, 50% of customers have left a brand for a competitor who was able to stay more relevant and better satisfy their needs.
To improve user experience, reduce the amount of work they need to put in to solve problems. Let’s take the example of a traditional call center.
Conventional call centers often use interactive voice response (IVR) to route customer calls. However, IVRs may often confuse and frustrate your customers. They may have a hard time following complicated phone menus and memorizing long instructions. And, if they hit the wrong button or do not know which one they should press, they will need to listen to the message again.
Not wanting to waste their time, most customers will hang up and seek help elsewhere. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. All you have to do is make a switch from traditional IVR to conversational one.
Many VoIP solutions for businesses offer advanced IVR options that use machine learning and natural language processing to understand customer service inquiries. Instead of making customers listen to lengthy menus, you can now let them ask questions. The NLP technology will recognize their request, predict their intent, and point them to the right customer service rep.
To take customer support to the next level, you should also focus on providing support and reducing customer effort before a customer even reaches out to you. For example, if a customer’s account is out of date, not ask them to follow a link or fill out a form. Instead, perform the updates for them. Or, if they want to troubleshoot the problem, set up a video meeting to help them instead of sending lengthy emails.
4. Upsell and Cross-Sell Wisely
Happy customers are paying customers. Recent studies say that customers are eager to spend 17% more on a company that has outstanding customer service. Therefore, if you feel that a customer may be interested in making an additional purchase, it is OK to upsell or cross-sell.
However, keep in mind that, as a customer support representative, your main task is to help customers solve problems and make them happy. Therefore, you should try to sell a solution only if it will not harm user experience with your brand. Here are a few rules to follow:
- A customer needs to be satisfied with your products. If a customer is reaching out to complain about the product they purchased from you, asking them to buy something else does not make sense. They are already frustrated and your question will only make them angrier.
- A product needs to be relevant to a customer. Irrelevant offers may harm customers’ experiences with your brand.
5. Share Insights
The information your customer support reps gather by continuously communicating with customers may be invaluable for other departments.
For example, your marketing team would learn more about customer demographic and psychographic data and, in that way, improve buyer personas and create hyper-targeted marketing campaigns to drive sales.
Your sales team can use customers’ previous experiences with your brand to personalize sales pitches and provide each customer with relevant promotions.
Finally, your product team will know which product features frustrate customers so they can improve them.
To break the silos between your teams, consider investing in reliable CRM software. It integrates with other tools your customer support team uses, from VoIP phones to email. Its goal is to keep this data in a single location and organize it so it can be available to all company departments.
6. Use AI Chatbots
Chatbots are an essential customer support tool. They provide businesses with multiple benefits, from offering real-time, 24/7 feedback to automating repetitive customer inquiries.
Chatbots are intelligent, hyper-personalized assistants customers can use for free. They do not just respond to customer inquiries. They communicate, think, and learn. They understand patterns in customer behaviors so they can provide them with personalized advice. That way, they gain customer trust and forge emotional relationships with them.
Apart from providing customers with feedback, AI chatbots can also sell products. Let’s take the example of ecommerce chatbots like the one Sephora uses on Messenger. It uses the bot to engage younger audiences and encourage them to purchase. The bot allows users to book makeup appointments in a few steps. With the help of augmented reality, customers can virtually try on new looks and apply the brand’s makeup. Finally, if they like the product, the bot will point them to the website to complete the purchase.
Over to You
User-oriented customer support may enhance your sales in multiple ways. The tactics mentioned above focus on providing relevant, targeted, and valuable customer services that will boost customer satisfaction and motivate them to convert faster.
How do you use customer support to maximize sales? Share your tips and tricks below!
Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. She’s a regular contributor to Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing.