4 tips for service businesses to improve CX
The customer (or client, speaking of service businesses) isn’t always right. But the experience they have with your business is something that you always need to get right.
This is especially true for service businesses, where you’re not selling a tangible product that can speak for itself. And especially today, when your prospects have countless competitors to choose from.
Numbers from a recent PwC report back up this uber-importance of providing a stellar client experience (CX):
- People will pay a 16% price premium for a great experience
- 43% of consumers would pay more for greater convenience
- 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience
- 65% find a positive experience with a business to be more influential than great advertising
When it comes to CX for service businesses, establishing yourself and your team as adept, credible, and reliable is just the beginning. There’s a lot more you can do to set yourself apart as a business that’s hell-bent on ensuring an exceptional client experience.
Here are four tips to improve the client experience as a service business.
1. Empower clients with self-service options
Remember the stat on people willing to pay more for greater convenience? This first tip is all about that.
Self-service options — such as a website chatbot, knowledge base, an appointment scheduler, etc. — are no longer “good-to-have”, but almost a necessity in providing a positive CX.
So for service businesses, investing in a secure self-service client portal, in particular, is a very wise move. But it’s not easy to build one from scratch, and 55% of consumers find web self-service portals difficult to use.
Plus, if it’s not easy to use or mobile-friendly, then your clients won‘t use it and it’d be a wasted investment, simple as that!
The solution? Consider leveraging a user- and mobile-friendly client portal software like vcita. It empowers your clients to easily schedule appointments, pay for services, share files, send messages, download resources, and so much more.
Also, you can add your brand colors and logo to your portal’s design, and convert your client portal into a lightweight mobile app so clients and prospects can easily get in touch — anywhere, anytime.
2. Compete on value, not price
Product-based businesses often compete on price. In a competitive market with many contenders offering near-identical products, price wars may make sense.
But as a service-based business, you’re here to sell value, not compete on price. Lowering your rates doesn't just mean lowering your profit margins, but people often view cheaper service providers as the black sheep of the bunch. Not to mention competing on price will likely lead to selling yourself short.
So, while pricing your services competitively is fine, don’t hesitate to raise the rates if you can showcase clear ways how your business adds greater value to your clients.
Here are a couple of ways to compete on value:
- Double down on a super-specific niche to cater to a hyper-targeted audience. For example, if you’re a dietician passionate and knowledgeable in veganism, then branding your business as a specialist in vegan diets can work extremely well. It allows you to charge a premium and portray yourself as an authority in that niche.
- Promise faster turnaround times (and keep your word!).
Another great way to increase the value you can offer your clients is to...
3. Bundle your services and productize
As a service business, inventory costs aren’t exactly a huge concern. This means you can readily bundle two or more services into a package, or simply include optional add-on services to enhance your offer (and thus, the value).
But you can go beyond bundling and try to productize your services. Productization varies depending on what services you offer, but it can lead to a new revenue stream and let you reach more people.
Let’s continue with the dietician example above. In this case, you can create a full-guided vegan program with explainer videos and recipe tutorials that you can then sell on your business website.
And creating a quality video is not as hard as you might think — all you need is some basic equipment such as a good quality camera (your smartphone’s camera is likely enough!), mic, tripod, clean backdrop, sufficient lighting, along with an easy (and free!) video editing tool like OpenShot.
It’s easy to use and has all the basic features you’d need to create a professional-quality explainer video or tutorial. Oh, and here’s an extensive list of great alternatives to pick one that suits your exact needs.
Likewise, you can write and sell a cookbook, sharing all your best recipes with clear pictures. Such strategies can work for plenty of other types of services too.
4. Check in on your clients frequently
Recall the stat on people willing to pay more for a welcoming experience? This one’s all about ensuring a great experience for your existing clients.
An often overlooked aspect of great CX is being proactive in supporting your existing client base. While most of your competitors are busy focusing on getting new clients, get in your existing clients’ good books and stay top of mind by frequently checking in on them.
After all, it’s easier and up to five times less expensive to retain existing clients than to acquire new ones. Clients that you keep happy over a period of time are the driving force behind your company’s success, as they tend to drive more referrals and remain loyal to your business.
And so, take the time to check in on your existing clients regularly:
Use social media to engage with your clients’ content. Comment on their posts relevant to the services you provide. Share or retweet to show your support. Start a conversation with casual questions like “What’s your best advice on _?”, “What are your weekend plans?”, etc — it’s all about being in front of your audience without seeming salesy.
Also, one in three social media users prefers social media customer care service over email or phone. So while calling or emailing your clients every once in a while to check in on them is fine, be ready to help your clients and answer their queries in DMs and tweets, too.
Ask your clients to spare a few minutes to write an honest testimonial about their experience with your business.
Post updates about your services and client testimonials on your website, social media profiles, and Google My Business listing.
Of course, checking in too frequently may annoy your clients. But with some experience and good judgment, you can determine how often you should touch base with them.
Be it a product or service, CX is playing an increasingly important role as more and more businesses compete to acquire and retain customers, and get them to spread the good word.
While there’s plenty more you can do to further improve your CX as a service business, implementing the four tips outlined above will go a long way in upping your CX game to the highest standards.
So, what are you doing to enhance your CX as a service-based business? Do you have any advice for fellow business owners in the same boat? Drop a comment below!