Business leaders often view customer service as a cost center. But the reality is that delivering a prompt and helpful customer experience is crucial to your brand’s growth.
A whopping 93% of customers are likely to return to your store and 90% are likely to purchase again after a great customer service experience, according to Hubspot. Plus, loyal customers are likely to have higher average order values (AOV), share your brand with friends via word of mouth, and leave positive reviews. That’s why repeat customers generate approximately 300% more than first-time shoppers, according to Gorgias data.
In this article, we break down seven ways customer-centric small businesses can move toward offering a great customer service experience and generating revenue as a result.
Why is delivering great customer service important?
Great customer service is important because happy customers drive revenue for your brand. Happy customers come back to your store, buy more with every purchase, refer friends to your brand, and leave public reviews. While repeat customers only make up 21% of the average brand’s customer base, they generate 44% of that brand’s revenue, according to Gorgias data.
Also, customer expectations about your service have changed over the past few years, and some businesses are having a hard time keeping up. Millennials and Gen Z are particularly opinionated about companies that don’t measure up to their customer experience expectations. 64% of customers under the age of 40 believe that customer service feels like an afterthought for most of the businesses they buy from, and people in this age group are quick to shift allegiance to other brands they believe will better serve them.
Customer service isn’t only important when customers email in with a problem, either. A truly great customer service program nurtures customer relationships throughout the entire customer journey. For example, your customer service program can:
- Bring customers to your website
- Answers pre-sales questions to help drive sales
- Create self-service resources to help customers help themselves
- Supports customers with post-purchase issues to avoid unhappy customers
- Sends follow-ups to loyal customers to secure testimonials and repeat purchases
- Collects and shares customer feedback with the rest of the team to continually improve the product and customer experience
Let’s dive a little deeper into strategies across the entire customer journey to provide amazing customer service.
7 ways to deliver excellent customer service
In the following sections, we offer broad strategies to improve your customer experience. Of course, we can only scratch the surface for each strategy in a single blog post, so we linked out to further reading on the topics and explain how a helpdesk like Gorgias can help you execute the strategy we describe.
1) Respond to tickets as quickly as possible for the best customer service experience
Slow response times lead to frustrated customers and lost business. And slow response times are a big issue: The average response time of customer support teams at most companies is 12 hours and 10 minutes.
Customers want swift responses to their queries, so making your ticket response time as short as possible is crucial. We recommend striving for a response time below two minutes and an average handling time below an hour.
How Gorgias can help
Gorgias is chock-full of features to help you reduce your response times. A major feature is Macros — templated responses with variables to give quick, personalized service. For example, your Macro can include variables like [Customer first name] or [Last order number] that automatically populate when you send the message to speed up your agents’ responses without sacrificing helpfulness.
And if you combine Macros with Rules, you can send instant responses to questions your customers frequently ask. For instance, when customers ask, “Where’s my order?”
Gorgias also has rules you can use to:
- Identify priority tickets so agents can see them quickly
- Tag and assign tickets so you can sort them quickly
- Automatically close spam tickets in your helpdesk
2) Provide proactive support and self-service resources to improve the pre-sales customer experience
Proactive customer service means giving customers solutions to common problems before contacting your brand. You can do this in two ways:
- A customer support agent sends a message to customers
- Your brand provides self-service resources such as a FAQ page or knowledge base
Proactive customer service doesn’t completely replace your traditional problem-solving customer service: Customers will always have questions, and you should be ready to provide prompt solutions. However, reaching out to customers — especially pre-sales customers — can give you an opportunity to provide information or discounts customers need to make a purchase.
Similarly, self-service resources give customers instant answers to frequently asked questions without having to wait for an agent to respond. This is a lower-effort experience for customers and frees agents up agents to spend their time on more complex questions that require real people to help.
The key is balance: A good customer service program provides many communication channels for customers to find the help they need.
How Gorgias can help
You can also use our live chat feature to execute chat campaigns. With chat campaigns, you can start a live chat conversation automatically when customers display pre-sales behavior, like lingering on the checkout page or adding items to their cart. You can ask customers whether they have questions, offer a discount if they reach a certain order value, or whatever your customers need to make a confident purchase.
Gorgias also includes Help Center, a knowledge base you can use to expand an FAQ page into a more detailed and searchable collection of information. You can also upgrade your Help Center (and live chat widget) to include a self-service menu where customers can track orders and make changes to recent purchases without having to contact an agent.
3) Deliver a personalized customer service experience
Companies that offer a personalized service experience take the time to get to know who their customers are, what they need, and what they expect: something that 66% of customers anticipate. The data needed to provide a personalized experience comes from all possible interactions the brand has with the customer, including purchases and customer support tickets. Without personalization, customers may feel like your brand doesn’t care about them; like they’re nothing more than a number.
How Gorgias can help
Within Gorgias, a centralized sidebar allows you to see a customer’s entire order history and interaction history on every channel. You’ll easily see past conversations, past successes, past products purchased, and more.
This is all information that your team can use to provide personalized service and improve the customer experience. For example, you’ll never need to ask a customer to repeat information and can provide better recommendations and solutions based on past behavior.
4) Have additional resources (like a knowledge base) for customer self-service
Providing customers with the resources they need to solve problems on their own is a good strategy for improving your bottom line, with 89% of consumers willing to spend more with a company that allows them to find answers online without having to contact anyone. Create a help center, FAQ page, knowledge base, and any additional resources that can help customers solve their problems.
ConvertKit does this really well with a knowledge base fully equipped with guides and articles that take customers through common questions people ask about using the platform, step-by-step. Your Shopify or Magento store may not need such a detailed knowledge base, but having a help center and FAQ page that helps customers immediately solve issues is crucial for making self-service work.
How Gorgias can help
Gorgias has a self-service chat portal you can add to your live chat widget that makes it possible to automate up to 30% of your chat tickets. Our portal automates the process of checking order status, tracking numbers, and shipping information which makes it easier for customers to find the answers they need without speaking directly with a support agent:
5) Give customers many touchpoints to contact your brand
Omnichannel customer support is no longer optional — it’s what customers expect, with 93% of consumers willing to spend more with companies that offer their preferred contact option for reaching customer service. This type of support allows you to meet customers where they are and go the extra mile to fulfill their needs.
How Gorgias can help
As previously mentioned, Gorgias allows you to centralize all 1:1 interactions with customers across email, social media, live chat, voice, and SMS. Seeing all communication in one place makes it easier to reduce your response time and deal with customer issues promptly.
6) Implement systems to measure your team’s performance and impact on the company
Remember, great customer service impacts your bottom line. This is why you should keep track of the right metrics to determine how much of an impact your customer service initiatives have on revenue. Some key metrics you should pay attention to include:
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): How likely is it that a customer will return to buy more?
- Revenue statistics: How much revenue is your customer support driving?
- Net promoter score (NPS): How likely is it that a customer will recommend your company to someone else?
How Gorgias can help
Gorgias provides a wealth of customer service data, including support performance, satisfaction surveys, real-time insights about agent activity and ticket volume, and revenue statistics:
You can extract what you need from this data to calculate the key customer support metrics listed above to truly measure your customer service team's impact on revenue.
Read our guide to evaluating customer service for more tips to understand your team’s impact on the company’s bottom line.
7) Use tools to empower your agents and make customer service more efficient
Customer service tools like Gorgias allow you to meet your customer’s needs without hiring an army of customer service representatives. It’s easier to streamline all elements of customer service using Gorgias, thus keeping customer satisfaction high and churn rate low. With Gorgias, you can help your team develop the customer service skills they need to provide excellent service that leads to loyal customers.
How Gorgias can help
Gorgias empowers your sales team with tools that help your agents prioritize customer tickets, assign customer questions to the right team members, manage orders and recommend products without leaving the helpdesk, and talk to your customers across channels and stores.
Gorgias also offers cutting-edge automation features to improve your customer service agents’ workflow, reduce customer wait time, and improve your brand’s self-service offerings. A few of Gorgias’ top automation features include:
- Automated Rules to organize tickets and declutter your workspace by automatically closing spam tickets
- Self-service menus that give customers an easier way to track orders, make changes to recent orders, and find answers
- Automatic responses to simple inquiries that pull up-to-date customer information like [Last order number] or [Customer first name]
Examples of brands going above and beyond with their customer service
When you search for examples of great customer service online, you’ll get results like Amazon, Zappos, and Microsoft. These brands all offer great customer service but small businesses can’t replicate the scale of Amazon, Zappos, and Microsoft. So, for this article, we’ll share some smaller businesses that offer great customer service with the help of Gorgias.
Gorgias helps over 10,000 Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento stores use technology to provide exceptional customer service. Below, we discuss four small business customer service examples that demonstrate how Gorgias not only helps brands solve customers’ problems but also increases their revenue.
Loop Earplugs: Great self-service to reduce frontline agent workload
Loop Earplugs offers a stylish, unobtrusive alternative to noise reduction. Their comfortable, low-profile earplugs help protect your ears from high sound intensity, thus improving your focus and helping you enjoy what’s happening around you without deafening sounds.
The earplugs are so popular that the team receives at least 1,500 customer queries per week, many of which are about locating orders. As you might imagine, solving those queries quickly to keep customers happy is a top priority for the team — but it’s also quite repetitive.
With Gorgias, the team easily provides their customers with quick answers in a self-service menu. Their customers can find the answers they need with just a few clicks, and if they still can’t find what they’re looking for, they can still speak with a real person right there in the chat box.
“Having the most frequent customer service questions in one menu helps not only the customer but also our champions. It means these frequent simple questions are solved instantly by self-service, allowing our champions to invest even more time in other customers that need it and provide even more qualitative solutions.”
– Milan Vanmarcke, Customer Service Manager
Learn more about how Gorgias' self-service features and automations helped Loop Earplugs increase revenue from customer service by 43% and reduced queries about finding orders by 17%.
Ohh Deer: Generated additional revenue through agent efficiency
Ohh Deer has a wide mixture of B2C and B2B customers who are excited about crafts, stationery, and gifts. A big part of their business is based on a subscription model, resulting in a high volume of subscription-related questions from customers. The Ohh Deer team needed a customer service tool to help them respond more efficiently to the influx of customer queries. The tool needed to:
- Separate these high-priority subscription queries from other queries
- Integrate with other Shopify apps the sales team used to find information about customer orders
- Pull information from multiple platforms
- Provide information on key customer success metrics so that their team could effectively measure the impact of customer experience
That’s what Ohh Deer found in Gorgias. Providing these four benefits to Ohh Deer’s customer service team not only made them more organized and efficient but also helped them generate $12,500 in revenue per quarter. An efficient customer service team definitely improves customer retention and loyalty.
BrüMate: Generated $9 million in revenue through customer loyalty
BrüMate is a classy drinkware and cooler brand that has experienced rapid growth since its inception in 2016. Innovation, listening to customers, and creating a sense of community are top priorities for BrüMate’s customer success team. For the brand, customer experience is at the heart of what they do, and every move they make impacts customers.
Gorgias has helped BrüMate respond quickly to customer queries. Their first response time to tickets was 5 hours and 30 minutes in 2018, but Gorgias' live chat feature has helped them reduce this time to one minute and 30 seconds. This live chat feature significantly contributed to the customer success team bringing in over $9 million in revenue. Having a customer service tool with the features they needed to put their customers first made a huge difference in their bottom line.
Lillie’s Q: Improved new customer sales by 166%
Lillie’s Q is a barbeque restaurant that provides great southern cuisine and sells an array of barbeque sauces and rubs. Their customer service team received customer queries mainly via email and phone, and tracking those queries (and their responses) was a tedious, manual process. Some customer queries also came in via social media, and team members had to copy and paste all the questions and comments to one another (manually) in order for the right person to respond.
The team was getting 700 to 800 queries per month, and they were drowning. If they continued on that path, they would start losing customers — something no business ever wants to happen.
This is why they started using Gorgias to help them organize all customer interactions in one place. It became easier to track each aspect of the customer’s support journey, ultimately leading to a 166% increase in sales from customer support. Having a centralized hub for interacting with customers and tracking those interactions moved Lillie’s Q’s team from overwhelmed to efficient and gave them exactly what they needed to provide exceptional customer service.
"Gorgias' chat allows us to respond to our customers in real time. We can answer customers' questions about a product and how to place an order without them leaving the site or abandoning their cart. We have seen a 75% increase in direct sales as a result of this quick communication."
- Nicole Mann, Marketing Director
Check out these resources for more customer service tips and templates
Customer expectations are higher than they’ve ever been. One bad customer service experience can turn a customer away forever. And if that customer shares their negative experience with others (via word-of-mouth reviews or public online platforms), it'll be harder for your brand to attract new business.
Our blog is full of content for customer support professionals. Whether you’re a team of one or twenty, we’re confident you’ll learn something by exploring our resources. For smaller businesses, we recommend starting with:
- Our list of the best customer support software on the market
- Our list of 20 ecommerce customer service best practices
- Our list of 14 shopping cart best practices to reduce abandoned carts
And if you’re looking for a new helpdesk, Gorgias is here to help your Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magneto store provide excellent customer support that retains customers and consistently generates revenue. Get started today in less than a minute and join over 10,000 ecommerce brands that use Gorgias every day to turn their customer support teams into profit centers.