Data shows a clear rise in customer expectation. And digital technology seems to be driving this increase. A study carried out by Keap points out this very fact. More than a third or 36% of clients refuse to deal with service providers who don’t simplify their appointment scheduling.
Remember this applies just to appointment scheduling. So your small business needs an easy to use platform for scheduling appointments. Or you might lose more than a third of your customers before you even talk to them.
Fortunately, many solutions exist for small businesses so you can take care of these and other issues. But keep in mind all the customer service matters which are now relevant for today’s consumers.
Besma Bihnam serves as senior content creator for Keap. Bihnam writes, “While customer service is important, it’s no longer just about customer service. Consumers have come to expect excellent service before they become a client and while they’re a client.”
The report adds, consumers now want to do business with companies that feel they can trust and develop a relationship with. And developing these relationships is key to long-term customer retention.
Keap carried out the Client Service Expectations Study by surveying 3,000 people across the United States. The goal was to determine if the service-based small business they hired delivered good or bad service. The respondents were asked if their expectations were being met or not met by small businesses.
Delivering Better Customer Service
It is important to note small business owners know customers now demand more. In a survey conducted by Keap in 2018, small businesses (70%) think clients are more demanding. And 80% also said their clients expect small businesses to be more available. This includes around the clock, online, and by phone.
Biham concluded it is imperative for small businesses to take a proactive approach to the customer experience. Because the reactive customer service approach no longer works.
An important data point in the study highlights the importance of delivering quality service for each customer. Because they will in great part determine your new customer acquisition rates.
When asked how they find service providers, 62% said by getting a recommendation from someone they know. This is almost two in three customers.
An overwhelming majority or 89% also said they are more likely to hire a service provider who was referred to them.
What can service providers do?
Making your appointment scheduling is a good first step. The survey adds being responsive is key, as 44% of clients won’t hire someone if they don’t provide fast follow up.
As for practical implementations, Keap recommends service providers to:
- Have a clear vision and understand your clients
- Get feedback from your clients and act on them
- Consider the client experience as an asset and not an expense
- Measure the ROI of the client experience
Using customer relationship management (CRM) solutions is one way to keep track of the customer journey. This can help you automate the engagement with your clients and prospects while managing your relationship with them more effectively.
Service Business Customer Expectations – Advice From the Clients
From the customer side of the equation, clients in the Keap survey offered the following advice to service providers.
- “Treat your last appointment like your first … they shouldn’t feel rushed and end up with a lousy product.”
- “Take your time. Treat each client like they are your best, even if they are your worst in terms of the amount of business they are doing.”
- “Don’t put pressure on the customer to decide quickly.”
- ”A more upbeat personality goes a long way.”
- “Always listen to what your customer is really saying.”
- “When you hire subcontractors, you should be accountable to the work that they do. It is your job to ensure that what the customer paid for is completed.”
- “Keep business and home separate.”
- “Focus on your client more, your staff less.”
- “No shortcuts, do it exactly as you would your own home.”
- “Explain things so I can really understand.”
The report by Bihnam is a very worthwhile read if you are a small business owner looking to get some real-world applicable insight into today’s customer journey.