When it comes to customer support, doing the little things can go a long way. But how do you keep it simple and cast a rippling effect?
To find out what really makes customers happy, we asked 13 entrepreneurs the following question: What is one creative customer support / service tactic that recently paid off for you?
1. Live Chatting With Customers
We set up a lot of different criteria for when we engage customers to live chat with us, such as inactivity on certain pages of the site. We found the engagement rate was relatively high and saw a significantly higher conversion rate with customers who used live chat option versus those who didn’t.
During the past couple of years, we have been hosting client retreats where clients spend entire weekends together with us and each other. As a community, this has had an incredible impact on our clients. They are now working together, and we’re the glue that binds them. It’s also increased our referral business from 20 percent to more than 50 percent of our total revenue.
– Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
We recently found a post about our company on Reddit that was driving a lot of traffic to our site. I commented on the post and offered to answer any questions about our product. During the next 24 hours, we received over 100 questions and comments about our company. We answered each question about our product within minutes. It was basically a free, live focus group, and our customers loved it.
4. Setting Up an FAQ Library
We set up an FAQ library on our site, which includes basic questions about how the product works to sections on how shipping and returns work. We link these sections in all shipping confirmation emails, and people are guided to look here for their answer before calling. It has streamlined our small company’s bandwidth to respond to simple questions, so we can focus more on growing the brand.
– Jerry Piscitelli, Portopong LLC
5. Using Services Like SpeakPipe
We installed SpeakPipe on one of our client’s sites. It allows users to leave voice messages with comments, questions and feedback. Not only were people seemingly excited to use it, but it also allowed my client to build more direct relationships with customers as a result — not to mention get valuable insight on how products and services can be improved.
– Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC
6. Implementing a Note Box at Checkout
It’s a tiny detail, but we allow customers to write a note when they check out, and then we make sure to respond to every one. Whether it’s a product inquiry, a simple “thank you,” or a complicated shipping question, we always send the customer an email. It’s important to remind our customers there is a human at the other end of their purchase, and we’re working hard to make them happy.
7. Placing Question and Answer Tabs
We placed a tab on the top left corner of our website that says, “Type your question here to get instant answers.” The results are very surprising, and I believe that this approach is stronger than trying to get prospective clients to fill out sign-up forms. Let us answer your questions first and make sure we clarify our message.
– Evrim Oralkan, Travertine Mart
8. Being Proactive
Recently, we’ve been trying to be more proactive about identifying certain types of service needs before they are even asked for. An example of this is our holiday menu planning. We make clients aware of our holiday meal options well before the actual date and always point out our full catering capabilities.
– Zachary Yungst, Cater2.me
9. Rewarding Customers for Positive Reviews
We have situations from time to time that turn from negative to positive. After we resolve a customer’s issue and leave him feeling special, we take it one step further. We ask those customers to leave a review about their experience. In exchange, we give them $10 to 20 in store credit. The customer feels even more rewarded, and we get a positive review out of a potentially bad situation.
We always have a live person answer the phone. A person on the phone who can answer questions is invaluable; we know that if we do not have a dedicated staff answering the phones, we lose business. For one month this year, we had a turnover in our phone position. Business dropped by 20 percent that month.
11. Speaking in the Customer’s Tone
As a creative urban company, we communicate with our customers in a way that reflects our brand and tries to relate on a human level. If a customer is displaying a sense of humor, we match that! One customer commented that her “naked Kobo [tablet] is so cold” without its custom case and inquired about the delivery. After tracking her case, we commented that her Kobo wouldn’t be cold anymore!
– Marvin Amberg, Caseable
A team member created a dashboard of our support tickets — the Heroboard. Once the support team reaches certain goals (response time, emails remaining), they go into Heromode. At this time, everyone works on projects. A variety of badges is awarded depending on meeting specific qualifications. It’s been great for the team to have concrete goals and live metrics. The best part is that it’s fun!
13. Offering Free Office Hours
I give free office hours to our customers and help them with their business beyond just our product. The purpose of these office hours is to be as useful as I can to them. I share advice that consultants charge thousands of dollars for freely.