When Cowrywise, an investment solution for Africans, launched, providing excellent customer support was a priority.
Their customer support strategy involved monitoring sign-ups closely. That way, a team member could promptly follow up with a phone call whenever there was an abandoned registration.
This personalized service converted many customers and earned them even more referrals.
Like Cowrywise, many businesses consider providing an excellent customer experience (CX) a major growth strategy.
In a survey done by Superoffice, 1,920 business professionals reported customer experience as a top business priority for the next five years.
This article contains helpful tips from customer success experts about mistakes to avoid and how you can improve overall customer satisfaction.
Let’s get started.
Four customer success mistakes to avoid
For many businesses, the failure to scale customer support isn’t due to a lack of effort.
It is often because of mistakes we are about to share with you here.
If you’ve been losing customers due to complaints about your customer service, check what you might be doing wrong in this section.
1. You copy what works for others.
What’s a sure way to fail at anything? Blind copying stuff that seems to work for others.
Every business is unique. What may be a vital customer success practice for you as a small business owner might not apply to an eCommerce platform.
Hence, defining what excellent customer support means to your business success is crucial.
To know what’ll work for you, look through valuable feedback from unsatisfied customers. What are your customer’s problems? What’s the most common complaint you get? Aim to build customer loyalty by putting your customers first. Then you will be able to set specific pain points to solve.
- Average Response Time
- Customer Satisfaction Level
Improving the above will lead to exceptional customer service which will in turn increase customer retention and grow your business.
2.You run an undocumented process.
We get it. You have a process, and you’ve probably assumed everyone knows how you work. But it would be best if you also wrote it down.
If you don’t document your strategy, you’ll lose the chance to get other team members familiar with your processes. Especially for startups where every team member is likely to interact with the customers at one point or another.
Following a structured, documented process approach will also make onboarding new CX staff more effective.
Documenting your process with a tool like Notion ensures everyone has access to the resources they need to give superior customer support to customers, consistently.
3.You hire too late
According to Judith Azi, the global Customer Success Manager at QuickBus, the most common mistake businesses make is hiring a CS expert too late.
According to her, most businesses believe that other departments should be established before hiring a CS expert.
However, this practice makes the company reactive rather than proactive in dealing with customer issues. This causes a lot of recurring complaints and may result in customer churn.
This lack of effective customer service tea, to relate with customers facing challenges usually breeds irritation, stifles enthusiasm, and eventually stifles business growth.
Now, you know why your customers are always complaining. Stop delaying and hire that customer success expert now.
4.You’ve over-engaged your customers
While customer feedback is essential for product improvement and business growth, it should not be collected too frequently.
Miracle Adoghe, a customer success specialist at Brass, comments,
“If you’re excessive at customer engagement, you end up annoying your customers rather than helping them. Some people are put off by frequent check-ins and may decide not to use your product.”
Some brands disturb their customers with automated emails.
You don't want to spam your customers and turn them off. The key is to find a sweet middle where you’re helpful without being bothersome.
“Even with customer feedback collection and analysis, I've discovered over-engaging customers can result in inaccurate data.
If they feel compelled to provide feedback, they may just say anything, even if it is false and has no negative impact on them.
Implementing such feedback does not guarantee a happy customer who is successful in using your product.” Miracle concluded.
In this next section, we’ll be looking at tips for great customer service that’ll get you loyal customers and grow your business.
Six best customer success practices to grow your business
According to 2022 research done by Superoffice, customers who rate companies with a high customer experience score (i.e.10/10) spend 140% more and remain loyal for up to 6 years.
This section will discuss five best practices that’ll ensure you delight your customers with an excellent customer experience and turn them into your brand ambassadors.
1.Motivate your customer service team
Motivating your customer service team can be likened to treating each individual as a bank account.
Members of your support team are like a savings accounts. It is important to invest in them. You cannot simply withdraw "tasks" and "KPIs".
Say you woke up with $100 this morning and withdraw $5 every day without replacing it.
In 20 days, you'll be all out of cash. Sending thoughtful gifts, sponsoring their lunch, and sharing resources that can influence their career growth are great examples of deposits.
Jeremiah Bello, the Customer Success Manager at Lazerpay Finance, says,
"When I built my first team, right from the hiring process, I knew it was important that the new members had a feel of the culture and trusted me as the Lead to do what was right by them.
So I created a WhatsApp group where members of the team could vent. Customer Support is not the easiest job, and the humans that work tirelessly to provide impeccable service to users need a way to let off steam.
I also created a rule where if a user starts to hit on your nerves, you are allowed to pass the ticket to another team member. This meant new eyes and a positive outlook on the ticket while we maintained a high service standard.
Another rule was to start each day with a quick check-up before assigning tasks or requesting updates.”
He also mentioned the importance of playing to the strengths of each team member.
“For example, I have a content writing background, so it is easy for me to work on FAQs and written resources. Another team member might be very vocal and love to chit-chat. I’ll put that person on phone support because that comes naturally to them.
While this doesn't mean you shouldn't work on your weaknesses, having each team member do what they love the most is wise so your customer service process feels natural.
2. Leverage automation to improve onboarding
If you’re a business dependent on onboarding and keeping vendors on your platform, customer success can help you reach your growth target faster.
Tomilola Aiyepola, the Customer Success Lead at Chowdeck, a logistics service in Nigeria, said,
“We try to proactively offer them any assistance they need to get to the finish line.
It can come in proactive onboarding emails where we share helpful resources that show them how to use the platform or break down parts of the onboarding process that they may not understand.”
Tomilola also said, “We set automated emails to reach businesses who have probably signed up for “x period” but are yet to complete the onboarding process.
These outreaches usually aim to nudge them to the finish line and help them if they get stuck on a blocker.”
IniFolu, a Customer Experience Analyst, agrees automation is effective for solving complaints.
“My favorite part is the prompt that notifies customers once their case is closed. Customers often forget to send in their feedback, and the “case closed” prompt reminds them of the pending case.
For automated messages, we use Salesforce, a customer service brand that personalises every experience along the customer journey.”
3. Provide a transparent customer journey
Have you ever tried to order food from a delivery service with no timeline to show you when you can expect your meal?
How did you feel? Frustrated? Confused? Perhaps even upset about the quality of service?
Exactly. This is how your customers also feel when they do not know what to expect from your brand.
Everyone wants to know where they are going. Imagine your cruise or flight did not provide you with an itinerary; they said “you’ll see when you get there”. That is unacceptable.
According to Noah Little, the Key Account Manager at Recharge Payments,
“Customers want to know, and are entitled to know how their experience will look like with you along the way. If you’re a B2B Software as a service, for example, you can break your process down into onboarding, implementation, and maintenance.”
Noah continued, “Providing specific timelines such as 30 day training, 60 days implementation, 30 days maintenance mode is a good start.
Additionally, when you inevitably face the customer's inquiries like ‘Where are we at?”
“What are our next steps?”; you refer them back to the customer journey.
This is why you show them the itinerary up front to let them know what they can expect along the way.
Also, sharing a plan helps during the sales process. It braces the customer for the necessary work ahead of them such as training, data they need to share, and how your product works.”
This effective customer experience practice will help you reduce the number of unhappy customers, grow a loyal customer base, and your revenue up.
4. Provide easy and cross-border payment options.
For many African businesses, offering cross-border payments is expensive.
It also discourages purchases because many times, customers are at the receiving end of the high transaction fees.
Installing a stress-free, global payment system like a crypto stablecoin gateway will improve customer satisfaction and grow your business by allowing more customers across the globe to pay you.
To do this, integrate the Lazerpay payment gateway into your online checkout system in 3 easy steps:
- Create an Account: Set up your business with an interactive onboarding process in less than 5 minutes.
- Select Payment Option: Select Lazerpay as your payment gateway. Add the payment button to your website or create a payment link to send to your customers.
- Integrate Checkout: Use the easy-to-use API to choose Lazerpay as a checkout option on your website. Now you’re all set!
The CEO at StakeFair, Akinyemi Akindele, shares how Lazerpay helped them grow,
“Integrating LazerPay was fast and easy to set up. They allowed us to support more stablecoins options, bringing more options to our customers.”
Continue reading this to learn more about How to Accept Stablecoin Payments as a business.
5. Prioritise high-value customers.
Another way to grow your business via an excellent CX is to prioritise one-on-one support for clients with a higher chance for upsells.
Or those that have a history of buying a similar product from you. How do I identify these customers, you ask?
An excellent way to identify high-value customers is by looking through your customer data.
However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore other customers. Instead, create systems to attend to them that don’t require a lot of human effort.
For example, work on helpful blog posts and tutorial videos for frequently asked questions (FAQs).
When you get these FAQs, you can direct them to the resource while focusing on more demanding requests.
6. Provide 24/7 support.
It is 2022. 24/7 support has become the standard for effective customer support.
Letting your customers know you are available round the clock to attend to their needs is a good way to foster trust and improve transaction volume.
However, for many businesses, the resources to pull this off successfully is not at hand.
The first thing you need to do is assess your business model to decide if 24/7 support is necessary to maintain or improve customer success.
Here's a list of questions we usually recommend you ask yourself:
- Do I have customers across multiple time zones?
- Are my services time-sensitive?
If you run a global business as we do at Lazerpay, it is imperative to provide 24/7 support. 24/7 support is effective because it gives you a competitive advantage in the market. Users can trust that if they have issues at any time of the day, it will get resolved rather than having to wait for conventional "business hours" before their queries get resolved.
Additionally, 24/7 support promotes your business as a global one. With round-the-clock customer support, tickets don't have to pile up for your agents to work on them during "business hours". They can get executed in real-time.
Regardless of your company size or customer base, you can still operate 24/7 support. How?
-Create a Knowledge Base
Self-service is an underrated form of customer service. When you pinpoint recurrent questions, simply create FAQs or video tutorials that adequately explain how to go through these processes in your platform.
Help articles and a glossary of terms are some examples of a knowledge base. Remember to keep the content jargon-free and straight to the point.
Leverage on AI to provide 24/7 support. According to Knowledge Owl, 93% of customers repeat the same questions.
With tools like Intercom, Zoho, Verloop, and MobileMonkey, you can create user journey flows to anticipate and answer repeat questions.
This way, you don't need a human presence to attend to customers 24/7.
-Ask the big "Why".
Ask yourself the big questions:
Do your customers expect round-the-clock support?
Do your business competitions provide this service?
How do your customers contact you?
The answers to these questions will inform your decision on how to move your users to 24/7 support channels that do not require full-on human interaction.
Remember, a great customer service will build loyal customers for your brand, as well as contribute to your overall business success.