I’ve never met anyone who enjoys poor customer service. Say you’re out to eat on a business lunch. You pick the best restaurant in town, known for its top-notch menu. The place is beautiful, the hostess is friendly, you get seated and served promptly. And then your experience falls apart. You realize you need more to drink, but your server is nowhere to be seen. Your fork falls to the floor. You accidentally spill your water. Your guest needs extra dressing for her salad. Where on earth is that waiter? Then you start to get antsy because you have another appointment and no one has brought the check.
What started as a great experience quickly becomes a tale of bad customer service. You feel neglected, frustrated, and ultimately you make up your mind to never visit that restaurant again.
This same scenario takes place every day with every type of business, including your own. Your business is great—you have a top-notch product or service, friendly staff, great up-front communication. But if there is any part of the customer journey where your clients feel confused, neglected, or unsure—and you aren’t there to help them along the way—you could be missing out on great opportunities for customer retention.
Even companies with great customer service can always do MORE to nurture clients and develop repeat customers. Customer service is essential to your business and, when done well, can even do the selling for you. Building a better experience for your clients starts with a great customer service strategy.
Why Customer Service Matters
I recently had an experience similar to the one above. I worked with a company that provided incredible resources and supporting materials, but there was little communication about the process and what to expect with each step. I found myself reaching out to the company constantly asking for next steps, instead of the other way around. Surprisingly, this wasn’t an uncommon experience for them—they had grown so used to customers asking for help that they hadn’t developed a way to preemptively answer those questions first.
What could have been a great experience was just so-so, and it all had to do with customer service.
The thing is, by not taking the next step in their customer service process to nurture their customers, they could be damaging both the word of mouth reputation of their company and the potential for repeat customers.
This was a gap for me in my business as well, and it sometimes still is! For example, when I launched my signature course, my energy was so depleted from getting that course done and launched, I didn’t have the mental capacity at first to set up a way to nurture clients throughout the course. I had to go back and evaluate what my clients would need at different stages of the journey in order to include a customer service strategy that would motivate, inspire, and nurture my clients.
When you set up communication with your clients just when they need it most, you create the following for your business:
- Happy customers
- Clients who are confident in your process and who trust you
- Word of mouth referrals from loyal customers
- Excitement, fun, and motivation around your offerings
- A memorable experience with you and your business
Nurturing repeat customers actually costs less than marketing to new customers, but can account for multiple times more sales. That’s a win-win in any business. Not only that, but by creating customer service strategies that make your clients feel seen and cared for, you’re giving them the quality experience they deserve. And you’re creating happy, fulfilled clients who value what you do and who are then willing to share about their experience with others.
Creating Customer Touchpoints
When it comes to developing a customer service strategy that really does the work for you, I like to use what I call Customer Touchpoints. These are moments of outreach that you build into your processes, depending on when your clients need them most.
If we look at the restaurant example, touchpoints are all the times your server checks in on you and asks if you need anything. While you may not always need them at the moment, you certainly feel their absence when those touchpoints are taken away.
The same is true for your business, as well. Your customers will benefit from moments of contact or connection with you—whether live, in-person, or automated—to help them feel confident in their journey with your company.
Examples could include:
- Standard times in your process when you check in with your clients to (a) see how they’re doing, or (b) explain their next steps or what to expect.
- A gift, just when they need it most to help motivate or nurture them.
- An emergency session that is made available when they need it within their client package.
- A thank you note for their purchase.
- A discount towards a future purchase.
- An outreach with FAQs a few weeks into working together.
These can take place through a phone call or email, a card in the mail, asking an assistant to send a gift, or even through an automated series of emails thoughtfully organized to help clients get the most out of your product or service.
Creating these customer touchpoints requires some reflection on your process and where the customer service gaps exist. If you have questions about the best moments to touch base with a customer, ASK!
It helps to start by asking yourself what answers your customers are consistently seeking. For example, with my recent experience, when I found out that customers frequently reach out to this company for help (rather than the other way around) I realized that they could easily build touchpoints based on their next steps and common questions that arise at different points in their customer’s experience. You can do the same.
Do they reach out to you at specific points in their journey? Are there any frequently asked questions you see over and over again? Do you find yourself feeling like you should probably touch base with a specific client only to have them email or call you first? Ask recent clients when they most wanted to hear from you in your process.
Those moments are the perfect place to insert a touchpoint for your client. Use FAQs to help guide you, and take time to reflect on past experiences with your customers to determine the best method(s) for your touchpoints.
Customer Service that Sells
A customer service strategy that utilizes multiple types of touchpoints is a great way to grow your business and build momentum. We ALL desire great customer service and your clients are no exception! If you already have a great strategy in place, ask yourself how you can improve it further. There is always room for GROWTH!
Setting up or revamping your customer touchpoints is a great way to get organized and ready for the new year and a new quarter. It’s so easy to add connection touchpoints to deepen your relationship with your clients, and it can make all the difference between a so-so customer experience and clients who can’t stop talking positively about you and your business.
Learn more about setting up customer touchpoints and developing memorable offerings with the latest small business training: Customer Service Strategies That Sell For You.