Customer Service Online:
How to Take Charge and Profit
It is often said that if you are a happy customer, you will tell one or two others - when an unhappy one will tell dozens. Online though, a seriously unhappy customer might not just tell 10, they may write a lengthy blog criticizing your business. They might post on forums, comment on other people's blogs, write a negative review, tweet their unhappiness, upload photos to Facebook or criticize you on forums.
This has the potential to do serious damage to your business, because once online, it is incredibly difficult to get remove. With that in mind, this customer service article gives a few keys to good customer service online and avoid a painful run-in with a disgruntled customer and damage your business.
Tip #1 - Keep Your Customers in the Loop
Whenever someone buys online, many businesses make the mistake of thinking that's the end of the relationship, with no need to be providing good customer service online. Not so. Your customer wants to hear from you.
Think about it. When you go shopping at a regular store, you leave with a purchase. You have it in your bag. You have the experience of shopping with physical contact with someone. When you buy online, once you give your details and click the buy button, you have nothing immediate to show for it - other than a dent in your bank balance.
With that in mind, it is essential to keep your customers in the loop. Thank them for their order. Ask them if they would like to receive your newsletter. Give them an update of their order, when they can expect it - and even better if you can: let them know when it is shipped.
This kind of follow-up will help increase trust in you and your business, while reinforcing the positive feelings they had when they first landed on your site.
Tip #2 - Questions Questions Questions
We've all had questions when we buy online. "How long will it take for me to receive my goods?" "How much is delivery?" "What if I'm not in when you call?"
Providing good customer service online can head off these type of questions by creating a comprehensive FAQ page on your website. Answer the most common questions you get asked and keep track of new questions you may need to add. If someone emails you with a question - reply to them promptly. Often the times when you respond to a customer's concerns promptly, it can generates a huge amount of goodwill for your business. Even angry customers can be turned into devoted fans if you pay attention to them! Acknowledge and admit to your mistakes and you will be viewed in a positive light.
Tip #3 - Contact Information
There will of course be times when people want to speak to you directly, so do not hide your contact details away. Make your phone number clearly visible and set out the times at which you can be contacted - similarly always provide contact information on every email you send out.
The more open and contactable you are the more trust people will have in you and your business. If they feel you are there at the end of the phone should something go wrong they will be more likely to buy from you - it is as simple as that.
Tip #4 - Personalize Your Emails
Research has shown that providing good customer service online by personalizing emails have almost twice the click-through rates as generic emails. You can personalize your emails in the subject line, sending birthday greetings, details of products they may be interested in based on past purchases, or reminder emails for products they may have viewed but not yet bought.
The more details you can collect about your customers, the better you can serve them with targeted offers, thank-you messages and information relevant to their needs and wants. This is where your email marketing software can come in - doing the personalization for you, and allowing you to spend more time thinking of ways to target your marketing efforts.
Tip #5 - Talk to Your Customers
Finally, keys to good customer service online includes talking to your customers. Studies have shown that customer satisfaction is higher among people who have been asked what they want, even if their answers have not been acted on. Simply asking what your customers want and how you can make your services better makes them feel appreciated.
To sum up this customer service article ...
Providing good customer service online does not have to cost much. Small gestures such as thanking them for their business will go a long way to maintain a positive vibe about your business, leaving you free to respond to real concerns or complaints which will make your overall customer service better.
This guest article is provided by Flooringsupplies.co.uk, provider of quality laminate flooring and carpets. For more information visit their website or follow Flooring Supplies on Twitter @flooringadvice.
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