Planning Your 2019 Customer Service Strategy

Now is the time to be setting goals for 2019 together with your team. One of the most vital strategies to plan for is your customer service strategy in the new year. Excellent customer service is one of the most important metrics for successful businesses, and what sets them apart from the competition and creates loyal customers for life.

f you are able to instill great customer service into the very foundation of your business, your customers will feel confident that you are delivering the utmost value to them.

Why should you dedicate so much effort to customer service? First it’s because retaining a customer is much more affordable than acquiring a new one. Second, because it helps you improve your sales strategy; one source found that “the probability of selling to a new customer hovers in the range of 5-20 percent, whereas selling to an existing customer resides in the range of 60-70 percent.”

The tips below will help you with planning your 2019 customer service strategy:

Live Chat

Today’s customers demand immediate help with questions and concerns, and waiting 24-48 hours to return a phone call or an email will usually lead you to lose a sale. In 2019,  it is extremely advantageous to streamline your customer service response time and offer options, such as life chat, that will connect your employees with customers immediately.

In 2018, businesses that already utilize live chat improved the customer experience by allowing images and files to be shared throughout the process. For 2019, forward-thinking companies are implementing screen sharing and video conferencing, which is especially advantageous for tech companies or businesses that can add value to their customers by walking them through the process of using their offerings.

Social Media

You’re likely utilizing social media to connect with new and existing customers, so it is no wonder that 63% of customers expect to be able to contact you on channels such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. If you have a business page on any of these platforms, but do not regularly check your communication, you are likely losing out on potential sales.

For 2019, dedicate staff members who will communicate with your social media audience right on the platform. In addition to increasing potential sales, social media communication is much more affordable than communicating via phone. One source estimates that one interaction on social media will cost a business an average of $1, compared to $6 for an average call center phone call.

Artificial Intelligence

Any article that focuses on customer service trends can’t omit artificial intelligence (AI) in the discussion. This technology is no longer part of the future, but a staple of the present. In fact, some experts predict that by 2020 85% of businesses will use AI instead of people for customer service needs.

If you haven’t started implementing AI into your business operations, you are in the minority, as it is estimated that over 55% of companies have jumped on this bandwagon.

Chatbots are likely the most popular and easier to implement strategies for your customer service needs. When utilized for messaging, AI bots can be programmed to answer many of your customers’ questions without needing a live person. Chatbots are now being used to book services for customers as well as recommend complementing products.

Investing in your customer service strategy is one of the smartest and most important moves you can make it 2019. Your customer service is often the most important identifying factor of your brand to your customers, and will likely be the deciding factor whether they will be loyal to you or move on to your competitor.

IOU Financial wants to help your business improve its customer service in 2019. Contact us today to learn more about our small business loans of up to $300,000, which you can use in improving your operations in the new year.