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Five Smart Ways to Use Customer Service to Grow Your Business

By Special Guest
Katy Dormer, CMO of
May 03, 2016

Starting a company isn’t for wimps.  After all, half of small businesses fail within the first 5 years. But what about the other half of small businesses that survive? What’s the magic that helps them succeed? It might be a killer product idea, an inspirational leader, or just plain luck. For many entrepreneurs, it sometimes feels like their success depends on things that are out of their control. One thing that is under their control, however, is how they treat customers. Making customer support a priority from day one can make the difference between whether your company succeeds or becomes just another statistic. In honor of National Small Business Week (May 1-7) we’re sharing five ways customer support can help you stand out from the competition and grow your business fast.

1. Deliver an overall experience that’s amazing.

Experts agree, customer experience is the battlefield of the future. In fact, analyst firm Gartner reports that 89 percent of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of experience (versus 36 percent four years ago). Customer experience is not just defined as how well your product works, whether or not prospects like your ad campaign, or if your support agent was polite; customer experience is the cumulation of every interaction that customers have with your company. A good customer service tool can help you know your customers better, make every interaction great, and get the information you need to continually improve — all critical for delivering an amazing customer experience.

2. Use self-service to support customers 24/7.

Remember way, way back in the 1990s when you had to call a company between 9-5 Eastern Standard Time to get help? Those days are long gone. Today’s customers want to find their own answers, on their own timeline. Sounds like just a big company thing, right? Wrong! It’s easy for small businesses to share their knowledge base information on a self-service support site so customers can find answers whenever they need them. Not only is it cost-effective, but customers also prefer it! Many companies are also building support links into their web pages or apps, making it easier than ever for customers to help themselves.  

3. Build products customers really want.

Even the most successful companies sometimes spend a lot of time and money building products that customers don’t ultimately want. Remember Pepsi A.M.? Heinz E-Z Squirt purple ketchup? Your customer service team is on the front lines, interacting with customers and can be one of your best sources of feedback for what customers want, and a key driver of product innovation. Empowering your customer service team to collect feedback and share it with your product team can ensure they are prioritizing the products and features that customers really want. Making customer service a key stakeholder when you build your roadmap can help guarantee that you’re on the right track.

4. Spot critical issues and opportunities, and address them.

Your support solution is like a canary in a coalmine, helping you spot new and trending issues, so you can address them before they become big issues. This is critical in today’s hyperconnected world, where tiny problems can quickly become big news! Your customer support solution also lets you see which issues are the most time consuming so you can figure out faster, more proactive ways to help. And, by identifying commonly escalated issues, you can provide your agents with better tools to solve them. All of this adds up to happier customers, and faster growth.

5. Build your brand and connect with customers.

Some people think of customer service as just putting out fires or responding to upset customers. But many successful companies see it as an opportunity to proactively build their brands and create a connection with customers. Don’t be afraid to be friendly and fun, and make sure every communication uses your brand’s voice. Allowing your agents to be their authentic selves can also help build a connection with customers. This is especially important on social, where customers are used to communicating with real people and not robots.

Half of businesses do not survive in the first 1-5 years, so don’t be on the wrong side of the numbers. One secret weapon in becoming one of those successful small businesses is to ensure you’re maximizing your customer service efforts.

Katy Dormer is Chief Marketing Officer at, the all-in-one customer service app for fast-growing businesses. Katy oversees the marketing organization at, where she is focused on driving market leadership, brand value and awareness, demand generation and the development of strategic events and communications. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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