Competitive Advantage with Innovative Customer Service

It’s a small business’ secret weapon against the big chain stores—great customer service. But what’s great today can quickly become ordinary tomorrow. So to sustain that competitive advantage, businesses need to find ways to provide more innovative customer service. Here are some recent trends that can help you raise the bar on the customer service your small business delivers.

Using Streaming Video to Communicate

Why tell customers when you can show them? That’s the idea behind businesses that are using streaming video to talk to customers. Customers already video chat with friends on their mobile devices. So it’s not a stretch to expect that they would want to do it with businesses too. Here’s a video showing how Amazon is using it.

Besides being able to answer questions in real-time, streaming video lets you demonstrate how a product works or troubleshooting a problem. It also gives you the opportunity to get visual feedback from customers. If they look confused, you can respond with more information. They can point to where the problem is. You can’t do that in an email, a tweet, or on the phone.

There are a number of companies that offer streaming video services. One of them is Zendesk. They offer a chat widget that you can add to your website that offers help to customers in real time. It lets you track customer behavior and reach out to them when they need help.

Social Listening Opportunities

Customers know that businesses collect information on them. Some expect the business to use it to customize their experience. For example, a brand might reply to a tweet about their product and answer questions. It’s all about using technology to anticipate customer needs.

Your business can also monitor social media sites to gather information that can help you respond to an unhappy customer’s tweet. It also helps you proactively resolve issues when someone is bashing your business. There are a number of tools available to help you monitor these sites and notify you when your business is mentioned.

Deliver the Unexpected

Not all innovations in customer service involve new technology. You can provide superior service by just doing the unexpected. For example, rather than sending an email to someone who just signed up for your newsletter, why not send a handwritten thank you note too? It’s a novelty that gets you noticed.

Not sure you have the time to do that? MailLift will do it for you. This company has staff that will handwrite a note based on your specifications. They can even send it with your local postmark on the envelope.

Great customer service can give your business a competitive advantage. But its impact can wear off if you’re not constantly innovating how you deliver it. Consider whether applying these trends can help you can sustain that advantage.

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