As an entrepreneur, you have many decisions to make each day. You need to decide what aspects of your business deserve the most time and allocation of funds at any given moment. When considering these items of importance, where does quality customer service rank on your to-do list?

Providing sufficient customer service is not merely a necessary expense of owning a company. No, it is not something to leave on the business "back-burner," so to speak.

Rather, customer support has the potential to add unquantifiable value to your company. As the direct line of communication from your business to your clients, the realm of customer service provides crucial insight to your company's reputation and future. Let's discuss three reasons why good customer service is vital for the success of your business.

1. Customer Service Inquiries Reveal Underlying Issues

When a client reaches out with a problem, they offer you a broad opportunity to better your business. Insightfully consider each customer service request as unprompted, yet helpful feedback, showing you exactly what requires improvement. Then, this provides you with the basis to fix the underlying issue and improve the user experience for future customers.

For example, if you receive questions from confused patrons about a special promotion, you may choose to rewrite the advertisement with clearer wording. If multiple customers are unhappy with the sizing of a clothing purchase, you could update your details on the item to better reflect the true measurements.

The benefit of responding to customer service issues with a proactive mindset is truly twofold. For starters, solving underlying issues saves you effort in the long run. If you eliminate the problems that past customers experienced, new customers likely will not need to contact you for support. This reduces the overall time you will devote to customer service.

Secondly, solving underlying issues and streamlining the sales process can reflect positively in your overall success. Think about it this way: if you reduce the roadblocks in the sales funnel and improve the overall shopping experience on your website, more customers are likely to follow through and successfully complete purchases. In that regard, view customer service issues as insight to bettering your business and you will see your bottom line grow.

Here is a great tip: use a free spreadsheet tool to keep track of customers' issues. Jot down some simple details of each inquiry, and soon you may start to notice a pattern. Any issues that arise multiple times merit a few minutes of brainstorming for a solution.

2. Study Customer Issues to Better Allocate Time

Most business owners are familiar with the phrase "time is money." To be a successful entrepreneur, your time needs to be spent wisely, and in the areas of utmost importance. Too, the time of your customers is relevant. If a customer senses you don't respect their time, they likely won't respect you as a business owner.

The key is balancing the time spent by both parties on customer service issues and streamlining or even eliminating some processes when applicable. This concept is finely illustrated by Bill Price, former Global VP of Customer Service at Amazon and his contemporary David Jaffe in their book The Best Service is No Service:

Consider each quadrant of the above matrix with special application to your company's customer support methods.

To start, if a recurring customer service issue is irritable to customers and irritable to you, eliminate it. Price considers these conversations, processes, or methods the "leaky pipes" of the sales funnel. Brainstorm ways to eliminate these roadblocks altogether, since no one is benefitting from them.

If a conversation is valuable to customers yet irritable to you, automate it. For example, if a customer service issue continually arises with a simple fix, yet takes much of your time, consider a self-service FAQ page. You will still provide the continual help that customers need, without spending your valuable time on it.

If a customer service issue is irritable to customers but valuable to you, simplify it. If integral processes on your site annoy customers, strive to streamline them. Sometimes necessary steps cannot be eliminated. However, making the process simpler or more organized can diminish customer dissatisfaction.

Finally, if a customer service conversation is valuable to you and valuable to customers, encourage it. These are the customer service conversations from which you and the customer both retain the most value. For example, perhaps you are encouraging the closing of a sale, preserving a relationship with a past customer, or gaining feedback from a new client. Spending your time in this type of customer service is vital to your company and your clientele.

3. Listen When Customers Provide Valuable Insight

Another reason why customer service is vital to your business is that, through contact with clients, you have the opportunity to gain extremely valuable information. Customers may unknowingly make statements or complaints that inspire you. They may suggest new ideas or bring to light issues that you may never have considered otherwise. In a competitive market where everyone strives for the best, this type of feedback is essential to success.

For example, keep track of customers' inquiries for a product or service. If clients continually ask if you sell a certain product, consider why they need it, and if it is something you could provide. Your business may blossom into even more success if you just listen to the suggestions and needs of your audience.

At the end of the day, people buy what they need. So listen to customers when they come to you. Be wary of assuming you know better. The most successful companies evolve over time with their clientele. Adapt openly to suggestions and criticism, too. Customer service is vital to your company in that it allows you to remain connected with your audience. You, as a business owner, just have to listen.

Good Customer Service Is Vital To Your Success

Providing effective customer service isn't just a byproduct of owning a business, nor should it be left to chance. Strategic customer support is a proven revenue driver. It turns the one-time buyers into loyal customers, and loyal customers into word-of-mouth marketing machines.

Give yourself the competitive edge you deserve. Provide exceptional customer service every time, and watch as your business skyrockets to success.