Customer support is an essential tool to increase your organization's sales and growth. You can only go so far with solid products and marketing if you don't provide the customer experience consumers are looking for. Incorporating quality customer service into your sales process improves conversions, increases retention, drives repeat sales and helps build customer loyalty.
Customer Support Strategies for Increased Conversion
Some companies, such as Zappos, attribute much of their success to its focus on customer support. What strategies do customer-centric companies use in their support processes to drive increased conversion rates?
Delivering the Right Information
What information does the customer need before they make a purchase decision, and how are they seeking it out? If you don't have adequate pre-sales information available for your customer and your customer support teams, you're going to lose their interest from the get go. Even if you have a separate sales team, some customers are going to end up at customer support instead of sales to get product information. They may be a repeat customer seeking out information on related products, so having well trained customer support agents is a must.
Where are Your Customers?
Which channels do your customers frequent? Don't make customers come to you - go to them. Have a customer support presence on major social networks for your demographic and incorporate other easy customer support methods, such as live chat. If a potential customer is forced to wait to get the information they want, they will go elsewhere.
What are average response rates within your industry? Customers want to know that you hear their requests and respect their time. Look at how quickly other organizations within your industry handle customer service requests. Social media and live chat options require the quickest response, while email may provide a slower experience. Ensure that you have enough customer service agents to handle requests in an appropriate manner.
Coordinating Marketing, Sales and Customer Support
Are your marketing, sales and customer support teams on the same page? If you have a strong marketing push for a particular product or service, or you're rolling out a completely new product type, make sure your customer service team knows what's going on. Heavy marketing pushes can drive increased customer service requests, so the CS department needs to be prepared to adequately service the volume. If these departments fall out of sync with each other, your organization may lose sales due to insufficient customer support and long response times.
What About Self-Service?
Some customers don't want to involve anyone in the pre-sales process. They want a no-pressure environment to educate themselves on your products and services. Self-service customer support is another essential tool in increasing conversions. Data sheets, white papers, case studies, how-to videos and product manuals give the customer the power to answer his questions. Incorporate easy links to live chat, customer forums, social network profiles and support numbers to create a clear pathway for additional help if the customer needs it.
Conversion rates are impacted by many factors, but quality customer support plays a strong role in the equation. When it's easy and enjoyable for customers to get help, they're going to show it through loyalty, brand evangelism and higher response rates.