Offering excellent customer service is about more than feeling good. It is essential for the survival of your business. People who have had a bad experience with your business will be vocal and can turn potential leads away from your business. People who have a positive ongoing experience with your business are likely to remain with you as a loyal customer.
However, when you provide excellent customer service as a standard part of your business operations, you generate not only loyalty, but also talk. You will attract new business by reputation.
Providing excellent customer service online requires a commitment from you. The following are a few tips that can guide your business towards excellence in providing customer service online.
Know Your Product or Service
To provide good customer service, it is essential that you understand every aspect of your product or service. Your customer-facing staff need to understand how your products or services work. Your website needs to provide a comprehensive FAQ’s page and clear instructions for how customers can contact you. Providing more than one contact point and an estimated time frame in which you will reply (if it is not instant) empowers your customers and helps them feel that you are accessible.
Customer service starts with a smile. Your website should feel welcoming. Your access points should feel inviting. Your responses should be affirming and positive. While customers are not always right, they are always paying attention to how you are treating them. Know the name of your customer when they contact you, and use it. Pay attention to how they spell their name. Listen to the complaint and do not make it personal. If one of your customer service agents and the customer are not communicating well, move the case to another agent who can relate to the person on a more familiar level.
Train Your Staff
It’s important to make sure all of your employees, not just your customer service representatives, understand the way they should talk to, interact with, and otherwise assist customers. Provide employee training that gives your staff the tools they need to carry good service through the entire customer experience. Chats, emails, telephone calls and any other form of communication with customers should adhere to a style guide to ensure that your brand is consistent and your message clear.
Listening is one of the most powerful tools of customer service. Active listening means not interrupting, responding with solutions and respecting the interaction. When you listen, you learn. It is one of the most valuable tools your business can develop, the ability to listen to customers and adapt to feedback with positive responses.
You can learn a lot from customers when you ask for their feedback. You can use customer surveys, feedback forms, and questionnaires, but you also can make it a common practice to ask customers first-hand for feedback when they are completing their orders.
You need to define time frames for reply. In many online businesses, having 27/7 support is not possible. However, you can provide email forms and reply within 24 hours to most clients, even if it is just a reply email to acknowledge the receipt of an email.
If you give a timeframe, you need to honor that timeframe. If you cannot, you need to contact your customer and give them an explanation. Being respectful of your customers’ time, and strive to provide real solutions.
Excellent customer service can be provided by asking your customers what they want and making sure that they are happy with the products and services you’re selling and the process of purchasing, ordering and working with you. If you are successful, you are on your way to becoming known for providing excellent customer service.
Know Your Market
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