Founding a startup company can be thrilling at times and terrifying at others. No doubt you have a to-do list a mile long, and sometimes you may not know what needs your immediate attention—and what can wait until later.
But if you haven’t thought about your startup’s customer service department, don’t delay. Customer service is essential to small businesses, so it’s important to invest in this area right from the start.
What are some of the best customer service solutions for startups? Check out our list of best practices to help you launch a department that boosts customer satisfaction and builds a loyal customer base.
1. Setup Customer Service Early
The first key to a successful customer service department is to establish one as soon as possible. Basically—if you’re selling a product or service, you need a plan for customer service. In fact, this should all be in place before you start selling. Even if you have a flawless product and lightning-fast shipping times, you’re going to need someone there to communicate with customers.
Establishing a great customer service department early on will allow you to distinguish your brand from the competition and show you really care about your customers. Word will spread, and you’ll see more customers rolling in.
2. Delegate Customer Service Responsibilities
When you’re working at a startup, it’s common for your employees to wear many hats. The CEO might also be cleaning the bathroom and picking up lunch for the team. The accountant might help plan company parties and design emails. But it’s vital to delegate customer service responsibilities to someone who can make it their top priority.
You may not be ready to hire a team of full-time customer service agents. But make sure whoever you do put in charge of customer service can dedicate ample time to the job. You don’t want things falling through the cracks when it comes to interacting with customers.
3. Provide Multiple Communication Channels
Multi-channel and omnichannel customer service is today’s gold standard. This means you can’t rely on just one form of communication to help your customers—you’ll need to provide several different platforms for them to address their questions and concerns.
Even if you have a narrow target demographic, those customers will probably have different schedules and preferences when it comes to social media, email, and using the phone. Cater to them all by providing an easy way to reach your business on all platforms.
Better yet, make it a seamless experience, where customers can start a conversation on live chat and finish it over the phone—without having to explain their situation all over again.
4. Measure Metrics from the Start
When you’re running a startup company, it’s easy to get caught up in all the possibilities for the future. You may spend the bulk of your time brainstorming innovative ways to change your industry or improve your product.
But how do you know if your ideas are really working? It’s all about the numbers.
Track metrics right from the start, and you have the best indicator of what’s going right within your company, and what needs improvement. When you’re measuring metrics from day one, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come, and where you’re going.
5. Track Customer Satisfaction Rates
So which metrics should you worry about most? Customer satisfaction rates should be at the top of your list. Though call abandonment rates and resolution times are also very important, customer satisfaction rates are one of the top metrics for measuring your overall success. Why? Because happy customers translate to loyal customers who will spread the word about your business.
You can get the full scope of your performance by regularly sending out customer satisfaction surveys. You’ll get a better gauge on customer satisfaction rates by focusing on qualitative and quantitative metrics—ask customers to rank their satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, but also ask open-ended questions that allow for specific feedback.
6. Review Feedback Regularly
Once you have all that customer feedback, you should treat it like gold. Review your feedback regularly to find out what you’re doing well, and what you need to improve. If you’re active on social media, you can also use these platforms to get valuable feedback from customers. Consider every customer comment or message a clue into what you can do better.
Online review platforms also take a lot of the guesswork out of your business. A negative review can seem like bad news, but it can serve as valuable information that helps you better serve your customers.
7. Solve Recurring Problems
If you’re regularly reviewing customer feedback, you likely have a good idea of the recurring problems in your business. So now it’s time to solve them. Ignoring recurring issues could result in disaster for any startup company. Instead, tackle the problems head-on—and don’t stop until you’ve come up with a solution that keeps your customers happy. Remember that problem-solving is an essential part of any thriving small business customer service department.
8. Provide Ongoing Training
It’s up to you to hire talented customer service agents who have great people skills, understand how to demonstrate empathy, and can think on their toes. But no matter how talented your agents are, they’ll benefit from ongoing training. Customer service is an ever-evolving craft, so you can expect that you’ll need to teach new tools and best practices.
Give your agents chances to hone their skills through case studies and hypothetical scenarios. Make employee development an inherent part of your business—and you’ll quickly see the lasting effects of your efforts.
Outsource Your Customer Service Today
You’ve learned the basics when it comes to startup customer service—but are you still overwhelmed by the thought of taking this all on in-house? If so, contact ROI Call Center Solutions.
We’ve helped countless startup companies handle customer service. Our customer service solutions for startups give you more time to focus on growing your business—without neglecting the needs of your customers. We’re proud to act as a seamless extension of your business while providing expertise and detailed reporting. Learn more today.