Founders have not been deterred from developing innovations, creating businesses, or seeking finance because of pandemic worries. It's been increasing since mid-2020, and in 2021 early-stage VC investment hit an all-time record high of $643 billion, which implies greater potential and more competition for entrepreneurs in their early stages.
Startups in today's highly competitive industry need more than just a solid product and a compelling message. If you want consumers to select you over your competitors and stay with you, you need to provide them with a compelling reason to do so. Investing early and regularly in your company's customer experience may be a big growth engine and a competitive differentiator as much as your product.
Customers have the luxury of being choosy since there are so many things to choose from. Startups need to strengthen their product and service offerings in various areas, including customer service.
The majority of customers would switch to a rival product or service if they had a negative customer care experience only once, according to one workplace trends analysis. In addition, most people are prepared to pay extra for a better customer experience from a firm.
Because of this, entrepreneurs have a chance to stand out from the crowd early on by focusing on three important components of a successful customer experience: responsiveness, empowerment, and transparency. This is wonderful news for startups!
This is also corroborated by the statistics. As a result of their rapid growth, certain fast-growing firms are more likely to adopt industry best practices, such as allowing customers to self-service. As a result, customers are more likely to spread the word about your business to others, which is a good thing for your bottom line. Customers will spread the news about your company's shortcomings if you fail to meet these standards and leave them unsatisfied.
An overarching goal of the startups with which my organization works is to expand their client base. To maintain users, cross-sell and upsell them on additional products and boost total lifetime value, startups must work hard to keep their early consumers pleased (LTV). When consumers are satisfied and trust is built, word-of-mouth marketing may help you get new customers and lower your customer acquisition expenses at the same time (CAC).
Fast, dependable customer service and easy-to-use tools are essential for startups to gain the confidence of their customers and their business partners. Here are some tips on how you may start from scratch and create a customer service operation:
Make use of your quickness and dexterity.
As a start-up, you should be able to outpace your competition in terms of client convenience optimization. While your competitors are still relying on email for customer care, be the first to use new platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram. If you acquire consumer input through these channels, respond quickly to improve your product and business procedures.
Your customer support should be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
It's been my experience that one of the most significant requirements for outstanding customer service is the availability of always-on customer care, which implies that your consumers can obtain assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The good news is that you may relieve some of the stress on your staff by allowing clients to serve themselves, without compromising the level of service they get. While used in combination with chatbots, self-service technologies like help centers allow you to be always available for your consumers, even when your staff is taking a well-earned break.
Your IT stack should be built with customers in mind.
A startup's tech stack is an important consideration. For both internal and customer-facing reasons, app connections are critical. You can deliver better, more customized service by integrating systems like your user database and sales software.
You can use a two-way SMS app to hold 1-on-1 text message conversations in real-time with your customers. This way, you can send out polls regarding your business and view all replies instantly. You can also use this type of app for customer support and have customers text you with questions.
When you have all of the pertinent information at your fingertips, you can say goodbye to tiny hassles like consumers having to repeatedly repeat their contact information. You may get to the core of a customer's problem more quickly this way. By eliminating unnecessary stages from the process, you may save both your customers and your staff valuable time and effort.
Prepare for moments of rapid expansion in your business (and the scaling pains that will come.)
Your staff and operations might easily get overwhelmed by the success of your product's launch or a large marketing expenditure, even when you have basic customer support in place.
A combination of the "always-on" guidelines above and internal service routines may help your company survive and prosper during periods of rapid expansion. 2.8 times as many workflow tools (automation, app integrations, etc.) are used by top-performing companies than by their peers, allowing them to address much more customer concerns in an equivalent or shorter amount of time. COVID-related ticket surges have also been kept under control by these technologies.
Take baby steps.
Early-stage firms may not be able to adopt a comprehensive customer service plan right once due to a lack of resources, but this shouldn't stop you from trying. As your business grows, concentrate on building a strong connection with your customers and scaling up as necessary.