10 customer support tips for start-ups and new businesses
In today’s crowded and competitive marketplaces, great customer service is what makes or breaks businesses. But if your company is still small, with limited resources, finding ways to deliver exceptional customer support is a major challenge.
Here are our top ten tips for giving your start-up or new business the best fighting chance of success!
1. Leverage customer support as a learning and training tool
Focus on making your product better and listening closely to your customers, particularly your most demanding ones. Using customer feedback collection tools is key in gathering information about your customers’ needs and wants, and how to satisfy those. Acting on feedback from customers will help you significantly improve your support strategies and procedures.
2. Ensure that great CX is a primary focus of your executive team
Leading from the top down is the best way to ensure your entire organisation is motivated to provide great CX. If you as the founder are seen to be passionate about achieving customer satisfaction, your staff will be encouraged to follow suit.
3. Establish a simple process to deal with customer requests
Keeping your customer ‘onboarding’ process simple is always advisable, particularly as a start-up or new business. Complex systems are more prone to breaking down, especially when your business grows – so keep it simple.
4. Get your entire team involved and motivated towards solving customer problems
A committed customer support team is key to establishing a customer-centric attitude in your business. This is crucial in today’s competitive market. You need your customers, so you also need a team that will give them such good support that they keep coming back!
5. Hire employees who can communicate well
The single most important quality that a customer support agent needs is the ability to communicate. You therefore need to hire people who are excellent communicators, flexible, can ‘think on their feet’, and are gifted at working with people. They have to be able to empathise with customers, make them feel at ease, and be able to defuse tense situations.
6. Involve your customers when they contact you
Getting your customers engaged in your business isn’t easy. So when a customer asks for help or raises a problem, it’s a golden opportunity to strengthen your interaction with them.
Help them solve their problem, but then also ask them to help you in return. Ask them to write a review, or encourage them to engage with more of your tools or services.
7. Don’t be too hung-up on efficiency… yet
Whereas it’s important to develop efficient systems, don’t be too focused on that now. Your prime focus now should be on delivering top-notch support to your customers, and ensuring great experiences for them. As a start-up, your eyes should be firmly fixed on your customers and your rewarding interaction with them.
8. Don’t allow your developers to institute ‘quick fixes’ that may cause problems further on
In terms of software, it’s important to start off with the proper engineering solutions right from the start. You have to take a sustainable view, because ‘quick fixes’ often require expensive rewrites later on! You need to strike the correct balance between speed and sustainability.
9. Design systems that don’t overtax your support team
Put systems and processes in place that work intuitively and are easy for customers to navigate. This will help you to reduce the need for customers to contact your business in the first place, by eliminating issues before they happen. A growing number of customers love self-service, so make sure those options are available to your customers – reducing your support team’s burden in the process.
10. Finally, delight your customers with a surprise from time to time!
Bots and AI are great technological advancements and extremely useful in customer service. However, remember your customers are human and will appreciate the warmth of a surprise contact.
Suggest ways in which a customer can maximise the value they get from using your product. Give them a bit of ‘swag’ like stickers, t-shirts, branded sunglasses or mugs, phone cases, USB chargers, etc.
Send them a thank-you note, or a birthday or personalised gift card. Invite loyal customers to a ‘VIP’ sale, or offer them first access to a new product you’re launching. Repost some customer posts on your social media channel.
Making your customer feel special by surprising them with a moment of delight will generate customer loyalty and goodwill towards your brand.
As a start-up with limited resources, you need to focus on those customer support strategies that will ensure you the very best return. Therefore, you need to maximise the outcome and value of every single customer interaction with your brand.
If you feel you just don’t have the capacity, manpower, or time to make great customer experiences happen, outsourcing your CS is a wise move. Not only does this ensure your valuable clients get the personalised attention they deserve, it also frees up all your resources to focus on improving your offering – and growing your business from a small start-up to a major success story!