I can make an argument that the most important aspect of any business is not marketing or sales. And it’s not product development or branding—it’s customer service. The funny thing is that whenever the topic of customer service comes up, most business owners’ eyes glaze over, and they mentally move on to the next topic. To be a successful Youpreneur, you need to change your position on customer service and take a proactive role in keeping your customers as happy as possible.
Before you start pitching your customers, you want to know what they really want. The sales process is usually one of the more intimidating and trickier aspects for entrepreneurs when it comes to business, which is why it’s important to get into that customer mindset and learn how to create the right customer experience to create brand loyalty.
Once you know what they want, and have created that loyalty, it’s time for you to flex that sales muscle.
Making Customer Service a Priority
A few years ago, I had a conversation with a coaching client of mine. When I asked him what his three main focuses in his business were, he said, “Well number one, I’m always focusing on getting new customers. Number two is about making sure that my existing customers are happy all the time. And number three, I focus in on making sure my team is happy, because they’re helping me run my business.”
The team is where customer service begins and ends. It’s got nothing to do with your customers, per se, it’s about how you train your team, and how you treat your team. It’s about whether your team members are either excited, happy, and loyal, or whether they’re floating in a completely different direction.
So I turned this client upside down. I said, “Well, you’ve got it all wrong, my friend. Number one, most important, is your team. And that’s purely because of the customer service element of your business. If your team is happy, then they’re going to do a better job when it comes to customer service.” I said, “Number two, you should be focusing on your existing customers. Number three is focusing on getting new customers.”
Why should you focus on your existing customers before going after new ones?
It’s way easier to continue to get a “yes” from existing customers, than it is to get the “first yes” from a prospective one.
I talked a little bit about this earlier on in regards to membership sites as a business model for your ecosystem, because you’re getting a recurring “yes” on a monthly or quarterly basis.
When it comes to growing your Youpreneur-based business, you want to make sure you focus on (and in this order) 1) your team, 2) existing customers and 3) new customers.
A lot of companies out there are taking their customers for granted. That’s a major mistake on their part. Happy customers are a cornerstone of a successful business. This is why I think making customer service a major focus for your business should be a priority.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a coach, speaker, and consultant that is working closely with private clients, event organizers, and high-level customers—or if you’re a huge multinational organization that is dealing with customers all over the world.
Don’t ever take your customers for granted.
Make Making Contact Easy
Customers want to be able to reach you, so one key to making them happy is providing a number of different ways they can contact you. It’s not just your support email address that you have to worry about anymore. If you have a Twitter account, you better make sure that it’s manned. If you have a Facebook page, be sure your customer service team is looking after that also. Have your team really make customer experience a priority so you know that when customers need you, they can reach out to you at any time.
Protect the perception of your customer service.
People will almost always form an overall opinion of your service based on one interaction.
Do all you can to make sure that each customer experience is a good one. For instance, if you’re not going to have anybody working over the Christmas holiday, tell your customers in advance via an email or a message on your website, that if they contact you during that period of time, they’re not going to hear back until after the holiday. Being proactive in protecting your reputation is a great way to make sure you always have a good one to protect.
You want to hear from your customers. Don’t listen to people when they tell you otherwise. A lot of experts say that when you don’t hear from your customers that’s a good thing, but I would rather have good, engaged, and happy customers than ones that are not active at all. I want to talk to my customers so I can hear about their issues or even to get some praise from them too. If you don’t know what’s working and what’s not working, you’re going to be stuck playing the guessing game.
I like to make calls every now and then to my existing customers. These are calls that I, myself, make to people chosen randomly just to engage them in communication. By the way, the word call doesn’t necessarily mean a phone call.
I could use Zoom or something as simple as a Facebook message or direct tweet. The point is I like to reach out to my customers on a regular basis. You can schedule this contact to make it easy to maintain, and you don’t have to reach out to all of your customers at one time. Set up a specific time, once a week or once a month, select a number of people, and simply contact them. Do it just to make sure they’re happy regardless of where they are in your process. If they’ve got questions for you, then go ahead and answer them, right there and then. That’s how you take a proactive approach to making sure your customers stay around year after year.
As much as I want you to be engaged with your customers, you can eliminate so much customer service volume in terms of ticket requests, support emails, social media questions, and so on by having a really well thought out and put together FAQ (frequently asked questions) section on your website. You can include a whole bunch of info in there, such as warranty information, exchange policies, guarantees, all that type of stuff.