6 Ways Your Customer Service Department Can Generate More Revenue Your customers love you, but are they improving your bottom line?

By Jeremy Gin

entrepreneur daily

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The value of providing excellent customer service has now been clearly established, and you should build your own brilliant customer service organization within your business. But, how do you take the next step and leverage that service into increased sales? Here are some tips to do just that, compiled by surveying the best practices of the 10,000 businesses that manage their reviews on SiteJabber.

1. Request reviews after providing service.

Reviews can substantially boost revenue, and one of the easiest ways to get more reviews is to ask for them right after a customer service (CS) interaction. Assuming you're already following CS best practices, your interactions should establish personal relationships with customers and result in generally positive experiences, making it an ideal time to request a review. On SiteJabber, businesses that ask for reviews after CS interactions see review conversion rates increase by 73 percent.

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

2. Post public customer service responses.

One of the best places to show off excellent customer service to prospective customers is in your public responses to reviews. By having your CS team publicly respond to and thank each reviewer, it gives prospective customers a taste of the great experience that's in store for them if they purchase from you. And, if you do happen to get a bad review, you can show everyone your professionalism and courteousness, which can be even more powerful than positive reviews themselves. On SiteJabber, businesses that respond to reviews have 86 percent more positive reviews and get 120 percent more leads from their reviews.

3. Share service interactions on social media.

To further amplify your positive CS interactions, share them on social media -- this can be done with reviews, video testimonials or Instagram photos. These assets can be posted for your fans and followers or incorporated into ads, which can increase click through rates (CTRs), reduce costs and increase revenue. Social media ads incorporating reviews, testimonials and other user generated content have improved CTRs by up to 300 percent.

Related: 8 Reasons a Powerful Personal Brand Will Make You Successful

4. Highlight extraordinary service stories to reporters.

Have your CS staff look out for opportunities to provide extraordinary service and identify incredible customer stories. Maybe a bride's gown didn't arrive on time, but your bridal shop provided miraculous same-day service to save the day and the wedding. Maybe your tech support center saved someone's computer from foreign hackers.

Consumer interest reporters and the business press are always hungry (reach them via email or Twitter) for these types of stories, and they can provide fantastic press for your business. On SiteJabber, we found that customers who have had an extraordinary experience like this are more likely to write a review, so scour those positive reviews carefully for press ideas.

5. Cultivate brand advocates.

Brand advocates have been valued at five times a regular customer and as much as half a million dollars. The question then becomes: What is the best way to cultivate them? At the highest level, there are three steps: identification, cultivation and maintenance.

Identification can be done on the customer service level. Look out for interactions that indicate a customer is an enthusiastic supporter on social media -- by monitoring brand mentions and checking followers and fans for influencers -- and in public reviews.

Cultivation can be accomplished by engaging and thanking potential advocates. Do this through public acknowledgement on social media or reviews and personal touches like hand-written thank you notes. Additional ways to thank prospective brand advocates include offering special deals and gifts. This can be automated by emailing coupons to reviewers or social media participants.

As time goes on, advocates can be maintained through continued engagement, exclusive offers (e.g., friends and family discounts) and special events (e.g., parties and closed-door sales).

Related: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People

6. Increase lifetime value of existing customers.

One of the great advantages of providing excellent customer service is that you can retain more of your customers. This is valuable, because we know retaining an existing customer can be five to 25 times cheaper than finding a new one.

Also, as you track the performance of your customer service via public reviews and internal Net Promoter Score surveys, offer customers coupons as rewards for their responses. This helps customers to feel more engaged with the development of your business, and engaged customers will generate substantial additional revenue.

Jeremy Gin

CEO of SiteJabber

Jeremy Gin is CEO of SiteJabber, a leading community of online business reviewers. The company recently launched SiteJabber for Business, the only completely free review and reputation-management platform, disrupting the practice of charging businesses to manage their reputations. SiteJabber's more than 750,000 member community has reviewed more than 55,000 business and helped more than 40 million consumers find reputable businesses.

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