Excellent customer service is the hallmark of most successful businesses. The secret is out. Satisfied customers remain loyal to the brands they love. It’s easier to stay ahead of one’s competitors when customer retention is high.
Sadly, poor customer service is a global problem. Around the world, businesses are paying a high price for shabby customer service. Recent statistics suggest businesses lose about $4.7 trillion per year due to bad service.
Businesses need not lose so much money. They won’t if they pay attention to their customers’ feedback. A recent report showed that customers detest shabby customer services. The subjects in the study patronized businesses that offered excellent service. Is your business compromising on customer service? It’s time to transform your CS department.
You can start by using email marketing to improve the services offered to customers. It is an effective marketing strategy you can use to attract and retain customers.
What is Customer Retention?
Customer retention is the ability to keep the patronage of a customer over a long period. Maintaining a good relationship is the key to creating repeat customers.
Customer retention is the product of conscious planning. To keep your customers, you must develop a customer retention strategy.
Below are some of the benefits of Customer Retention.
Every marketer will agree that prospecting for customers is not an easy adventure. It takes a lot of time, resources, and effort to convert a prospect into a paying customer.
Also, you only need a little effort and resources to sell to your existing customers. It is easier to target existing customers. Research shows that businesses have better chances of selling to customers than prospects.
Increased Customer Referrals
Your existing customers are powerful marketing tools. Satisfied customers usually tell others about excellent products and services.
Psychologists believe humans have a natural impulse to get other peoples’ affirmation. Many people want to get social rewards for introducing others to a great product.
Statistics show that keeping your existing customers is one way of increasing sales. According to different studies, loyal customers spend more than new ones. Many companies get a higher percentage of their revenue from their repeat customers.
Intelligent marketers focus more on retaining old customers to increase their revenue. Focusing on repeat customers pays high dividends, and email is a great tool to engage them.
Developing a close relationship with your customers will increase trust and increase loyalty. There is no better asset to a business than loyal customers.
The ability to get customers willing to stick to a brand is the dream of every marketer. But loyalty does not just happen. Apart from great products, another determining factor of brand loyalty is customer service. Furthermore, companies plan and design customer loyalty programs to remain the top choice of their customers.
What is Customer Service?
Customer service refers to the support a business provides to its customers. You can provide customer service during and after the sale of a product and service. Offering exceptional customer service makes it hard for your customers to patronize others.
Excellent customer service leads to satisfied customers. Studies have shown that satisfied customers are one of the greatest assets of a business.
There are many ways you can provide excellent customer service to your customers. Some common ways of businesses offer excellent customer services to their clients include:
- Simple appreciation,
- Sending personalized emails,
- Offering omnichannel contact center services
- Dealing with complaints, and
- Showing empathy.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is sending email messages to customers to sell a product or service. As a marketing tool, email has remained the best strategy in return on investment.
Available data shows email to be the preferred means of communication in business. Many brands also use emails as a customer service communication channel.
Below are ways to provide great customer service and retain your customers with emails.
Ask for Feedback
Customer feedback is a valuable resource to every business. Feedback provides an avenue to connect and establish a good relationship with clients. Feedback from customers gives you a glimpse into what they think and how they feel about your brand.
The many benefits of customer feedback include:
- Increase in trust for your products and services
- Builds customer loyalty
- Improved customer experience
- Better products and services
Without customer feedback, many dissatisfied customers will transfer their patronage to other businesses. Providing a way for customers to express how they feel about your brand increases trust.
There are different ways to get feedback from your customers. The most popular ones include:
- Live chats
- Product reviews
Offer Quick Response
A late response to a customer’s inquiry is bad business practice. Customers expect quick responses to their inquiries. So, do not do your business a disservice by responding late to a client’s complaint.
Late response time creates a poor impression of your business. Not responding on time is one of the top reasons many customers will abandon one brand for another.
Customers hate businesses that do not respond to complaints, queries, or questions early. For many customers, there is no good reason for a late response.
Conversely, if you can respond quickly and delight your customers, it can create a positive impact on your customer relationships. The team at gaming site Solitaire Bliss, for example, tested responding to their premium customers within a one hour period and found that their customer retention improved by over 10%.
But, I can hear you saying it’s not possible to check your messages round the clock. Well, that’s true. And that’s where emails can help you.
It is possible to respond to your customers’ complaints with email autoresponders timely. An email autoresponder is a software that automatically responds to an email message.
Email autoresponders will help to boost your business in the following ways:
- Saves time. Using your hand to respond to every email sent by your customers can take a lot of your time. Email autoresponders can immediately respond each time a customer sends a message, which will increase productivity. An autoresponder can also send an email when a customer takes a relevant action.
- Great for customer engagement. Customer engagement is the process of attracting a customer or prospect’s attention by providing a valuable experience while interacting with your brand. You can use email autoresponders to engage your customers by addressing their questions and complaints. Engaging your customers is one way to increase your chances of retaining them.
- A higher email open rate. A higher email open rate. People are more likely to read emails sent through autoresponders than others. Autoresponder emails have a higher open rate because they are in response to a customer’s action.
- Excellent customer service tool. Excellent customer service tool – Well-crafted autoresponder emails are excellent customer service tools. Waiting for a response can be annoying to many customers who do not know if you received the email or not. Autoresponder emails assure customers that you have heard their complaints. Customers who receive an automatic email expect a solution to their problem.
Many customers are impatient. It is excellent customer service to reply every time you get an email message from a customer.
Send Personalized Emails Only
Email is a great marketing tool, but it can sometimes be a nuisance, especially when it looks and reads like spam.
It is excellent customer service when you personalize interactions with your customers. Many marketers, erroneously, think that personalization means using the name of the recipient.
Although addressing your customers by their names is part of personalization, it does not end there. Personalization is sending relevant messages to individuals using unique personal data.
So, apart from addressing customers by their names, email personalization includes:
- Celebrating your customers’ anniversaries
- Responding to user behavior
- Sending emails at the right time
- Sending emails based on a shared connection
- Sending out reminders
Personalized emails deliver a better customer service experience to your customers. Personalization shows customers how your brand values them.
There are many products and services in the market all seeking the attention of consumers. The odds are against those who fail to send relevant messages to their customers
Send the Right Email Messages
Although email is a brilliant marketing strategy, it can also hurt your business, if not well applied. The success of email marketing, therefore, depends on how, when, and what you send.
It is vital to send the right messages in your email marketing campaigns. This is because customers are in different stages of their buyers’ journey.
Sending the wrong messages can make prospects or customers become suspicious of your intentions and may lead to you losing them.
Unfortunately, some marketers still send the same messages to all their customers with the hope to get lucky with some of them. Sending the right message includes using the correct words and grammar in your email.
Some rules of good email messages are:
- Be clear about the subject – Many recipients are not likely to open an email with a vague subject line. People who get loads of emails every day have limited time to go through them. The subject of an email helps them decide which ones to read.
- Brevity is important – If you want your emails opened and read to the end or at all; keep it short. Experts believe that longer emails are less likely to get opened and read by recipients. Data suggests that the ideal length of an email should be between 50 and 125 words.
- Always proofread your emails – Mistakes are common and no human being is above them. But some mistakes are avoidable and show the lack of professionalism of the sender. Some customers will think twice before doing business with someone who sent an email riddled with mistakes.
- Properly sign your email – It shows you are a professional when you include your full name, address, position, and other contact information. Properly identifying yourself gives your email some form of authentication.
An email message riddled with mistakes and grammatical errors shows that you probably did not read it before sending it out.
Don’t Forget Follow-Up Emails
One factor that determines the success of an email marketing campaign is consistency. One way to show consistency in your email marketing strategy is to send follow-up emails. The ability to be patient in your conversation with your customers is key.
Follow-up emails are subsequent emails you send to your customers and prospects after sending the initial ones.
Some of the many benefits of sending out follow up emails include:
- It makes you unique – Many businesses ignore their customers after the initial transaction. It will, therefore, make you stand out to follow up after an initial business contact.
- It can lead to your customers and prospects taking action – The entire essence of email marketing is to generate leads, drive sales by providing your prospects and customers with valuable information. A follow-up email is usually the reassurance they need to take the next step in their buyers’ journey.
- It shows you value your customers and prospects – A follow-up email shows you value your prospects and customers and is going the extra mile to help them.
- It shows you are a serious business – Many people are looking for serious brands to do business with. Sending follow-up emails after the first one is a sign that you are serious and ready to do business.
A marketing team can feel frustrated when they send messages to prospects or customers and do not receive any reply from them.
Other factors that prevent many marketers from sending follow up messages include:
- Afraid of negative reaction or rejection
- Lack of time
- Inability to remember
Follow-up emails are also great in creating repeat customers who will buy from you from time to time. You can create repeat customers by sending them emails on how to get the most out of the product and service they purchased.
Do not give up after a customer has purchased from you. Follow-up emails are an excellent customer service strategy and go a long way to help you increase sales.
Admit Your Faults and Apologize
Despite the huge benefits of a simple apology, nearly half of marketers do not send corrections or apology emails.
No business process is perfect. Every business encounters some challenges from both internal and external circumstances. Some of these challenges can cause a rift between you and your customers.
Again, no matter how excellent your products and services are, some customers will still find issues that will make them angry.
Some common problems between businesses and their customers include:
- Poor customer service
- Defective product or service
- A security breach
- Wrong billing
- Canceled orders
- Canceled events
- Late delivery
- Service interruptions
Learning how to deal with dissatisfied and angry customers is vital if you do not want scathing reviews that will give your business a bad name. More importantly, a good apology email can prevent you from losing a customer.
One study reported that about eighty percent of customers said if a company’s customer service is excellent, they will still do business with a company after a mistake.
The hallmark of excellent customer service include:
- taking responsibility
- acknowledging your faults, and
- apologizing to your customers
Emails offer a great platform for businesses to get in touch with customers. With emails, businesses can empathize with their customers in unpleasant situations.
How to Properly Apologize in Emails.
Many people can tell when you offer a sincere apology and when you are apologizing for the sake of it. This is true whether the apology is in person, over the phone, or through an email.
A sincere apology is a powerful tool that can diffuse any conflict and prevent the escalation of problems with your customers.
Below are some tips on the right ways to apologize to your customers through email.
- Acknowledge your fault
Although some mistakes are beyond your control, you should always admit responsibility and apologize for the errors.
- Explain what led to the problem or error
Customers may not understand what caused the poor customer service. An email is a wonderful platform to explain the situation to them. An explanation of what caused the problem will make your apology look authentic. Remember that explaining the situation is not the same as making excuses. Making excuses will only aggravate the situation.
- Mention what you have done or are doing to fix the problem
It is also important while explaining what happened in your email, to point out the steps you have taken to rectify the issues. Mentioning that you have identified the problem and have done or are doing something about them is a good way to reassure your customers.
- Ask for Clarifications.
Sometimes it may be difficult to understand some customers’ complaints. Instead of getting frustrated and ignoring the customer, kindly ask for more clarification. Most times, a kind email response for clarifications is all you need to win back a customer.
- Offer compensation if necessary
You can regain the trust of your customers through compensation. Offering compensation to aggrieved customers shows your humanity and willingness to make amends.
The compensation you offer your customers can take many forms, including:
Compensating your customers will prevent losing them to your competition. Compensation will also make them refer other people to your business.
Excellent customer service and email marketing are a wonderful combination. If implemented well, it can help in engaging and retaining your existing customers. Businesses that offer excellent services to their clients can be sure of their customers’ loyalty and continuous patronage.
Andreyana Kulina is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Brosix, specializing in Content marketing and outreach strategies. Besides her passion for digital marketing, she likes hiking and mountain-biking.