There are many things about running a business that can be considered ‘make or break’. One that likely keep hearing about is the level and type of service you provide to your customers - how you interact and communicate.
Naturally, it differs from field to field, but in most industries, a customer likes to feel looked after and receive updates and details about the progress of their order.
It’s one thing to be told how important customer service can be to the success of a business, but facts provide the proof. This blog post delves a little deeper into how customer service affects a business, as well as some quick changes you can make to improve yours instantly.
Why customer service matters
It’s something most small business owners and freelancers hear often, but is perhaps the easiest to brush aside, assuming your customer service is ‘good enough’ or maybe not as crucial in your particular line of work.
Then again, who hasn’t had an experience with a small business where the actions and behaviour of the owner or manager made all the difference? And how could that not apply to every business?
Feelings are one thing, but there is also a financial aspect to encourage better customer service: retention. That means the ability to keep customers instead of constantly working for the next new customer.
Studies show that the time and expense put into finding a new customer is 5x higher than the cost of holding on to an existing customer. This means that financially, it’s more profitable to focus on keeping current customers happy then following up new customers.
Existing customers are also more likely to be repeat purchasers, which means more sales for your business. In addition, happy customers will spread the word, and word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to gain new customers. It’s also FREE.
How to provide better customer service
When it comes to customer service, there is almost always something you can do to provide a slightly better experience for your customers and give them a positive feeling about doing business with you.
Improving customer service depends significantly on what you are already doing in terms of communicating with your customers throughout the sales process. It’s useful to take time to conduct a quick overview of the process from start to finish - from a customer’s perspective.
With a better understanding of your current customer service levels, you can make a few additions or changes such as:
- Improved communication on the order status
- More personalised communication
- Faster response times to customer questions
- Special offers for loyal customers
- Be open to feedback and customer knowledge
It can take only a few small changes to provide customers with a drastic improvement in their experience with your business. Even something as simple as adjusting the tone with which you communicate can make a difference between customers completing a payment with a great feeling.
Most freelancers and small business owners are also customers themselves, so it can be useful to take notes when you have a particularly positive (or negative) experience with a supplier in terms of what or what not to do when it comes to handling customers.
Debitoor and your customer service
The right accounting & invoicing software can make improving your customer service as simple as a few clicks. Debitoor features a number of different tools to help you stay on top of your business and keep your customers informed, such as:
Communication linked to the invoice: when you send an invoice and your customer replies, you can respond and keep track of the full conversation history below the invoice.
Keep your customer up-to-date: it’s easy to send reminders for late invoice payments with Debitoor. It’s also possible to send proof of payment for both partial and full payments.
Provide a statement: if you work with a customer regularly, you can download a customer statement, which shows all transactions and any outstanding balance.
Promote your brand: Debitoor gives you the option to customise your quotes, invoices, and delivery notes, meaning an added opportunity to express the unique brand of your business to give your customer the full experience.
In addition, our developer Anton has recently included some great new additions to Debitoor, giving you improved customer service, without you having to lift a finger:
A better overview of the status of their invoice: once an invoice has been marked as paid in your account, if the customer opens that invoice in the portal, it will feature a green ‘Paid’ under status.
Customers can download the invoice directly: now your customers can download the invoice directly from the viewing portal.
Offer online payment options: connecting an online payment solution such as SumUp to your Debitoor account makes it easy for your customers to pay you instantly, online.