How to Win and Keep Customers: 4 SMB Customer Service Tips


For your business—for any SMB—customer service is the key to winning and retaining customers. By the year 2020, customer service will be more important to potential clients than either price or product quality. That’s why 43 percent of business owners say improving customer experiences and boosting retention is critical to success.

At Jive, we’ve carved out a reputation for stellar customer care. That’s why we’ve put together these tips to help you improve your customer service.

#1. Know your customer by knowing yourself.

The first step is to fully grasp what you’re offering. This is more than merely your range of products. What’s the emotion you want customers to associate with your brand? Ease, wonder, fun, insight, connection, etc.? Grind this unique value proposition into a single-sentence concept that can be read and understood in seconds.

For example, Spotify spells out its value very clearly with: “Music for everyone.” Or there’s MailChimp: “Build your brand. Sell more stuff.”

Once you understand better what you’re offering, it’s easier to know who will want what you’re selling. Identify your ideal customer, and then determine what concerns, problems, and pain points you’ll need to address to win them over. After you’ve nailed down your ideal customer, you can begin to anticipate what resources they’ll want when they need help. These can include your basic support phone number or an online FAQ page, or you could go further with a chat service, a searchable knowledge base, tutorial videos, and a ticketing system.

#2. Don’t keep the customer waiting.

At Jive, we know what a hassle it is to wait on hold. That’s why we keep hold times for our customers down to an average of 15 seconds. When a customer requires assistance, they don’t want to wait. In fact, 39 percent of customers said their top expectation when it comes to customer service is that the support staff is easy to contact. Bare minimum, 36 percent of your customers expect you to promptly answer the phone, or to call back quickly.

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#3. Enhance customer service with technology.

To make your customer service more accessible, mobile, and insightful, you need the right kind of technology. Many companies have turned to cloud phone systems like Jive’s so they can deliver 24×7 support. Cloud phone systems cost less, require fewer pieces of hardware to operate, and are much more adaptable and scalable than other typical phone systems. They also enable mobile access so you can receive business calls while out of the office without surrendering your personal number (and privacy).

Another tool for SMBs is customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM applications track the path of a customer through your marketing campaigns. The data they gather provides insights into how you can better deliver service in the future, as well as add dimension and detail to your ideal customer profile. Businesses that use CRMs increase their sales by an average of 25 percent.

#4. Offer multichannel access to support.

Customer have more options available to them now than ever before, and they favor companies that support their preferences. These preferences include the freedom to seek customer service using the channel with which your customers are most comfortable. As you select customer service technology and tools, make sure those tools support communication channels that include phone, email, chat, and social media.

SMB customer service should be personal.

Don’t let your business stay business. Make it personal, because your customers will take it personally when you don’t deliver on your promises.

When you’re breaking into an industry, word of mouth is your best (sometimes your only) weapon. Customers who refer friends to companies are responsible for 65 percent of new business, and those friends are four times more likely to buy from you. And even when a customer has a terrible experience, if you’re able to make it right, then 70 percent of customers will give you a second chance.

So when it comes to customer service, take it personally!

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