Online customer service is a vital part of any business. Nowadays, it’s no longer enough to make sure your subscribers are satisfied. Membership websites must put a lot of effort into building long-term customer loyalty. However, this might seem like a challenging task if you’ve just launched your site.
Establishing customer service practices early on can help you develop lasting relationships with your subscribers. It can also become an essential part of your business strategy. Feedback drives development, so it’s smart to strive for a client-oriented approach.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of online customer service. We’ll also discuss three best practices you can implement straight away. Let’s go!
The Importance of Online Customer Service For Your Membership Business
When it comes to your business, customers should be at the forefront of everything you do. After all, your membership website wouldn’t exist if there were no audience interested in subscribing. Therefore, you should strive to provide an exceptional experience before and after they convert into paying members.
Excellent online customer service can help you enhance subscriber loyalty and drive new business opportunities. It can also generate new leads as happy clients will likely refer your site to others.
On the other hand, one angry customer can translate into as many as sixteen anti-referrals. They might also share their frustrations on social media, which could damage your reputation. Fortunately, you can turn even the most frustrated individuals into loyal fans if you respond to their feedback, so make sure to take all complaints seriously.
Besides, a customer-centric approach can also benefit your business by:
- Providing opportunities for continuous improvement. Complaints might be part of a bigger problem. Listening to your customers can help you identify issues quickly and drive product development.
- Helping you know your audience. Seeking feedback helps you identify your customer preferences and even segment your offers based on their different needs.
- Identifying growth opportunities. Continuous improvement of your products might eventually expand your existing service range and create new opportunities for your business.
Finally, the most successful service-based companies, such as Amazon or Zappos, use customer management as a vital component of their business strategies. It's wise to take a page from their books and consider online customer service as part of your core responsibilities.
3 Online Customer Service Best Practices for Membership Businesses
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of adopting a client-focused approach, let’s look at three best practices you can implement right away. Depending on the scale of your site, you can carry these out yourself or bring them to your dedicated support team.
1. Be Personal to Create a Positive Customer Experience
First, ensure that all your customer communications are personal. For example, setting up personalized greetings can go a long way. Receiving generic emails that start with “Dear Subscriber” can be frustrating and might even land your messages in users' spam folders.
Studies have shown that users are 26% more likely to open an email that contains a personalized subject line. This can positively affect your click-through and conversion rates. In fact, HubSpot conducted a marketing experiment to measure customer engagement by sending out generic and personalized emails.
The results showed a clear preference for the personalized approach. The click-though rate was significantly higher. Plus, customers appreciated seeing a personal email signature with contact details instead of the general company name.
Although these statistics are geared more toward marketing emails, the concept is still beneficial when it comes to customer support. If someone is reaching out to you for help, they're probably already frustrated.
An extra little personal touch like their name in the greeting makes you appear more attentive and invested in solving their problem.
2. Make Renewals Hassle-Free to Drive Ongoing Loyalty
Imagine being subscribed to a service and then having to complete numerous tasks to renew your account. This can quickly put off customers who are otherwise satisfied with your services but passive enough to give up the subscription if you don’t minimize the effort required to maintain it.
Therefore, it’s smart to automate the process, making it as easy as possible for your members to renew. This will also help you cut down on membership losses due to busy or forgetful subscribers who mean to update their accounts but fail to.
If your cancelation process is simple enough, members shouldn't have any problem with automatic renewals. However, if you want to make sure subscribers know when they're about to be charged for renewal fees, our MemberPress plugin has an automatic reminder feature for notifying them.
This way there are no surprises and you give members a chance to cancel or upgrade their services before the next billing period. You could also entice them with personalized offers, provide renewal discounts, or run a drip-email campaign to encourage users to renew.
3. Encourage Feedback to Pinpoint Opportunities for Growth
It’s smart to be proactive about customer feedback instead of waiting until something goes wrong. There are many ways you can engage with your subscribers to learn their thoughts on your products or services. For instance, you could implement a live chat, create a private forum on social media, or post surveys.
If you regularly receive negative feedback about a certain aspect of your membership site, it might be time to make a change in that area. Customer responses might also give you ideas for new offers you could develop. This can be especially effective since you'll already know from your feedback that subscribers are interested.
A simple feedback form rating your products and services alone can tell you a lot about your customer satisfaction levels and indicate improvement areas. You could use tools such as SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or even the WPForms plugin if you prefer to build it yourself.
Finally, make yourself available so that your customers can easily reach you. Include clear contact instructions for your email, contact form, or phone number. You might even consider upgrading your communication options and adding help desk functionality to your membership site.
Online customer service is essential for any website. Being customer-centric can help you develop lasting relationships, which is critical for any membership business. Plus, a happy subscriber might encourage others to sign up.
To recap, we’ve talked about three best practices for membership business online customer service:
- Be personal in all communications.
- Make sure your subscribers can renew without annoyance.
- Ask for feedback and keep improving.
Do you have any questions about online customer service best practices? Let us know in the comments section below!