As an entrepreneur who has launched a startup, the main target for your product or services is the customer. As you are still setting up your credibility, keeping your customers happy is of prime importance. Thus, customer service is a significant lifeline for your business. It will not only make your customers happy, but also help you get direct feedback and valuable inputs of the market reaction to your products, so you can make any course correction, if necessary.
Customer service is a very broad term and often entails the efforts of you and your team in engaging your customers from the minute they contact you, whether by phone, personal contact or via your website. Your proactive response to address their needs well will go a long way into building a healthy and lasting relationship that can work in your favor.
Happy customers are the best promoters
A satisfied customer will most likely share their good experience with others. Such word-of-mouth publicity can do magic, which can beat your most innovative marketing campaigns. This can help you expand your customer base manifold, and also gain familiarity with more people, who may not use your services, but still help in getting you recognition in the market and in building your brand, that too at zero cost!
Happy customers will share honest feedback
Those who believe in your products will share true feedback to help you improve. Others will simply not bother to give feedback, or fill it half-heartedly, not taking any pains to give you the true picture. This direct feedback is a crucial basis to help you understand how your services are being accepted and can prove to be the single most valuable data to give you the direction for improvement and even growth.
How to ensure happy customers for your startup
Give them value for their money
Focus on what they need and what ‘they’ think is the best value for their money, not what ‘you’ think is the best quality for them. This is important to bear in mind while designing new services and products as well.
Communicate and communicate some more
Maintain a two-way communication channel with your customers. Always be willing to listen, rather than be telling! Reach out via various channels – social media, phone, video chats, emails, face-to-face conversations. Try and keep these sessions on a one-on-one basis and do an active follow-up of their concerns.
Don’t go overboard!
A customer can easily identify a genuine service. You want to maintain the relationship for the long run, so do not promise something that you cannot deliver. Professionalism and realistic approach is also a sign of your maturity, so giving out sops just to please a customer and which may put you in a huge loss is not a wise idea. It may make him/her happy temporarily but most likely he/she will not have any faith on your working model, and will most probably turn to a competitor next time where he/she gets a better discount!
Never indulge in aggressive marketing
You do not want customers to turn away from you even when they liked your products, just because you have been bombarding them with marketing messages, telling them what to do and what to buy. If you keep your campaigns fewer and suggest/ advise them, there are higher chances of them listening.
Make it easy for them to reach out to you via multiple channels, displayed prominently on your website, social media pages, your posts and on your product and services. Simpler participation for surveys or feedback forms helps them save time and energy and thus go along with you.
Don’t eliminate the ‘human touch’
In today’s tech age when companies believe in automating all processes, it is important to keep the ‘human touch’ alive atleast when it comes to customer service because only when a person shows genuine concern for an agitated customer’s concern (and NOT a machine) and can offer some assure at that point in tie can you pacify or retain the customer.
Future partners or business associates are definitely going to check out what your customers say about you. One negative remark can spread like a wild forest fire in the digital world and can eat up a hundred positive feedbacks. Hence work out your customer handling strategy right in the beginning when you start out selling in the market, and make sure that it is implemented well, before you decide to go big and scale up your startup. Customers after all can make or break your startup since your entire business rests on them. Even investors and other stakeholders will look your way if you have a steady customer base and enjoy a good reputation in the market.That’s why every single customer counts!