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PERSONALIZED CUSTOMER SERVICE” FOR SMALL BUSINESS
In recent years, plenty of companies have been established to take part in and share the whole market. Andy (2017) states that in 2016, nearly 660,000 companies were established, up from 608,000 in 2015. So companies need to find a new way to attract customers. And personalized customer service is the most useful way. Lisa (2016) found that 76 percent of the customers in the study believe that personalized customer service shows how much does the business care the feelings of them. By providing personalized customer service on a consistent basis, it shows a standard of care of the customers. Customers will be appreciate and come to expect. In this study, the aim is to find the personalized customer service in business and what are the benefits and disadvantages of the personalized customer service. Some research conclusions of personalized customer service will also be provided to prove the opinions. The results will be useful for small business entrepreneurs, they will know whether the personalized customer service is suitable for their businesses to develop the company.
Key words: personalized customer service, small businesses, benefits, disadvantages.
What is personalized customer service?
Personalized customer service is that the companies pay attention to the requirements of customers before, during, and after the sales by providing professional and high quality service for each customer. (Paul, 2018)
Personalized customer service in businesses
Personalized customer service gives customer a voice. Personalized customer service should be tailored to customer’s specific needs, abilities, and expectations. Rather than forcing customers to comply with an established service model. Business needs to adapt with using the methods which are provided by customers. (Lola, n.d.) There are different types of personalized customer service. In the airlines, there are different types of seat classes. The first class, business class and the economy class. Passengers can choose the type of class they want. The higher price the passenger pay, the better service they will get. In gyms, there are rooms only open for VIPs, VIPs can watch movies, sleep or play cards in that space. But general members only can use fitness equipment such as dumbbells and barbells that everyone can use. The different levels of service will give the most suitable type of service for customers.
Advantages of personalized customer service.
Recent research (Toma, 2018) shows that one of the most efficient ways to retain customers is to offer better customer services.
The customers will feel the attitude of the company and trust the company in a further step.
The customers had a positive experience. Dan (2006, p.18) states that the customer had a positive experience. The product worked and the price is worth buying. They served by a employee in time, answered all the questions and recommended a similar product. Next time, if someone offers the same thing, they will still come back to you. In that situation, customers want to know more products of the company and it is a good chance to evolve the relationship between the company and the customers.
The good service will promote the customers to pay for the products of the company. In the research of Brandon (2011) shows that when the customers are hard to decide whether it is worth buying the product, the customer service will let them buy analogous products to promote orders. And they will accept the advice because of the pleasant customer service. Customers can trust the company without worries, they believe the company will figure out any problems in the process of consumption and the after-sales service. 2. Good personalized customer service will be useful for the development of small businesses.
The customers who are well-served will be a long term customer. Under these circumstances, the company have a lot of time to develop new customers. Philip, et al. (2015, p13) said that The cost of winning a new customer is 5 times that of retaining an old customer, and the profit of an old customer is 16 times more than a new customer. After the customers become loyal customer, they approve the strength of the company and show it in actual purchase.Actually, for a company, most income come from the loyal customers. Loyal Customers are more profitable and forgiving. Brandon (2017) suggests that not only is loyalty cheaper, but also it has better returns. On average, they’re delivering 23% more revenue and profitability over the average customer. And the brand will stand out from the crowd. The businesses can do questionnaires to research for the customers’ satisfaction. The high customers’ satisfaction means the company has more loyal customers. Loyal customers will help do the expansion and the brand reputation of the company Chris (n.d.) states that customers often talk about their experience when dealing with businesses, especially if it’s unusually good or poor. By delivering strong customer service, you’re making use of the effective marketing tool known as word-of-mouth advertising. Customers will be happy to tell their friends and relatives about how well your business has taken care of them, resulting in additional advertising at no cost to you.When company launch a new product, the first batch of buyers will be old customers. They are the loyal customers of the company. In the research of Brandon (2017), he said that’s a nice way of saying you’ll be able to sell them more stuff. Once a brand has proven itself with one product or service, customers are six times more likely to say they would try a new product or service from the brand as soon as it becomes available. So the profits that the company will gain from products will increase. 3. The different types of customer service will attract different types of customers. Personalized customer service is a new kind of service, and the prices of these kind of products are always more expensive than common products. So customers who can afford to buy will be interested in our new kind of product. After experiencing the personalized service, new customers may be satisfied with our business. These kind of customers are rich. If they decide to be loyal customers, the profits we can gain from them are much more that customers before. 4. Personalized service will help the business know the lacks of the services in the company. Personalized customer service is more flexible than ordinary customer service. From the different requirements of customers, the business can notice which parts of the customer service is still insufficient, so they can care more about these parts and bring up to full strength. In this case, the general customer service will also be improved. Two kinds of customer service will attract more customers than before. Disadvantages Some defects of the personalized customer service that can not be ignored as well. These defects will also cause big problems of the company and let the business go to failure. 1. To give everyone personalized customer service will cost too much. The small companies can not ensure they can afford this.For the company, the basis of giving everyone private service is the human resource. They need to pay more salaries than before. The company need to pay more salaries to every employees because of the high workload. Each customer needs their own way of requirements. So employees needs to create different types of service. The labor price is increasing in recent years. So if the company provide the personalized customer service for the customers, they need to hire more employees to satisfy the requests of customers. The proportion of skilled employees is declining and it is only about 5 percent in the whole labour market. The mid-level skilled employees are 20 percent. And employees who have no skill is more than 70 percent in the labour market. (Anon., 2018) It become hard to find employees who can do their work with high efficient. So the salaries for these kind of employees should be higher than general staffs.The solutions to solve this kind of problem is to employ few staffs and give the personalized customer service to small number of customers. By observing the results of the income status after providing personalized customer service to define whether this kind of service is helpful for the company. Many customers don not always know what they want exactly. When business staffs recommend some kind of products, they are not satisfied. But they can not describe what they want as well. So it will be wasting time for giving them the customer service and the staffs will be burnout. The quality of the customer service can not be promised. The wrong attitudes of the staffs cause the departure of customers. So people who do customer service jobs needs to be well-trained by the company to make sure that these staffs will not be tired because of the behaviors of customers. That will cost not a few for the company. If small companies can not find a balance between cost of the salaries and income, the whole company will go bankrupt soon. The bosses want the rapid development of small companies and they don not consider the actual situation that the companies face. The companies are not able to create profits like they expected. So when the companies have some loyal customers, they can begin to provide personalized customer services. Because they have stable income from these kind of customers. This new kind of service will not cause bankrupt as easily as before. The personalized products are always cost more than general ones. And high price of this kind of products will reduce the purchase desire of customers. And if the business can not promote customers to buy the personalized products, the business will be in losing money condition. Conclusion All in all, we can summarize the pros and cons of the personalized customer service. Benefits: 1. The most effective way to retain customers. 2. A good way to cultivate loyal customers. 3. Improve the relationships between customers and the businesses and make the relationships go to a further step. 4. Help the business to develop new customers. 5. Loyal customers will help the expansion of the business. 6. Help the companies gain more profits from new products. Disadvantages: 1. More cost of the salaries of employees. 2. Easy to let the company go bankrupt if the company can not find a balance between the cost and income. 3. High price will cause the decrease of the number of customers. According to the final list of pros and cons, the benefit is twice the disadvantage. Although the personalized customer service will cost more than before, but the profits of this also can not be ignored. And most of the problems can be solved if the business pay attention to. Small business does not have same brand reputation as companies who have foundation. So it is important for small business to improve the reputation of the brand in another way. Then small business will be known in the market and have the ability to compete with large companies. So I think the personalized customer service is necessary for small business to provide.
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