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How Small Businesses Can Use ‘Customer Magic’ To Exceed Shopper Expectations

How Small Businesses Can Use 'Customer Magic' To Exceed Shopper Expectations

For small businesses trying to set themselves apart from large competitors and the rest of the market, customer service should be a top priority.

What do customers want more than low prices, great selection, and fast shipping? To enjoy their purchase from the moment they get it in their hands, without any glitches. Even if you’re quick to respond to their requests for troubleshooting help later on, they want – and deserve – an seamless and convenient experience.

This puts common metrics like “customer satisfaction” in a new light. Answering a customer’s call promptly may meet their expectations. Resolving their issue for them could do so as well. For small businesses that are trying to set themselves apart from large competitors and the rest of the market, however, you need to assess whether you can actually exceed expectations.

Some examples of what this might look like in practice include:

  • Reaching out proactively with tips based on common interactions the company has had with customers who bought similar products.

  • Providing the kind of service that demonstrates you recognize the customer, rather than treating them as simply one customer among many.

  • Offering self-service tools that let customers resolve issues both easily and independently.

These are all what you might call moments of “customer magic” – when you exceed expectations with speed, consistency, and in a way that feels personalized.

Customer magic is not about performing a series of tricks that fool people into thinking your company or its products are better than they really are. The magic is in how you can offer this kind of customer service even when you’re not a large multinational enterprise. Instead, it’s about making strategic use of automation to build a “wow” factor into your customer service operations.

In some cases, small businesses need to prioritize the quality of the customer service they offer because they are still building their reputation in the market they serve. Doing a good job to sort out unexpected issues or providing customers the answers they need is key to becoming a trusted brand.

Automation can not only provide small businesses with the capabilities they need to provide customer magic at scale. It can also help them manage their financial resources more effectively. In a global survey of customers recently, for instance, Salesforce found that 27% of companies were able to lower their support costs through automation.

Customer magic also requires thinking about how to connect employee and customer experiences together to maximize the power technology can bring to a business.

Empower everyone to exceed expectations, not just service agents

Making and keeping customers happy is everyone’s job, even if they aren’t working in a contact center or have a job title that speaks to the idea of service and support. And in many companies, those in other business functions are ready and willing to help where they can. The problem is that they haven’t traditionally been equipped with the tools that could let them contribute their time and talent effectively.

Those in sales or marketing might have some data about customers and their needs, for instance, but are siloed from the information that comes into the service teams. There’s no easy way to triage complex customer challenges when you’re all working in different applications.

When you deploy a platform that provides a single source of customer data, on the other hand, service teams can draw upon the experience and expertise of anyone within the company. Those providing assistance also feel more confident in the advice they offer because they have a shared view of the same information.

Prove you’re listening by transforming feedback into actionable insights

Customer service team members will often try to make it clear to customers that they’ve been heard, whether it’s a friendly suggestion about how their experience could be improved or a complaint about a negative interaction. Once the conversation ends, however, they may be left wondering if what they said will make any real difference. This is also true when customers leave reviews.

Automation not only makes your team more productive and able to deal with service issues faster. It also provides a mechanism for gathering large quantities of invaluable customer data for in-depth analysis. This is where you can begin to identify common pitfalls in the customer journey, or opportunities to avoid problems with products and services before they happen.

Artificial intelligence (AI), meanwhile, brings an even more powerful lens to customer service data. Companies can use AI to drive more efficient growth by anticipating future needs and challenges. That’s a lot better than the reactive mode in which many small businesses find themselves today.

Build stronger relationships by offering real-time support at all times

No one wants to listen to a recording that says “Your call is important to us” every five minutes. When customers want help, they want it right now, and automation is the only way to ensure you’re always ready to be there for them.

Training an AI-driven chatbot, for instance, allows a company to be present for customers no matter the time of day, or the time zone in which a customer may be living. The same goes for developing knowledge centres and updated FAQ pages that support self-service approaches, which are ideal for common troubleshooting issues.

Using automation in areas like this also means your top service team members – or even those in other parts of the company – only need to jump in on the service requests that need human expertise and judgement. This keeps employees more fulfilled while reducing the risk of getting burned out by a large volume of service requests.

Mastering the art of customer magic when you’re still a small business means you’re paving the way to become a market leader as you continue to grow and expand. If you act now to put outstanding service at the heart of your customer experience, you’ll also be future-proofing your business for continued success.

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