Putting Your Customers First
Have you ever had to call into customer service, and either gotten a hold of someone who acted like they didn't want to be there, or worse, gotten caught up in automated telephone attendant hell?
It has happened to me more than I care to think about.
This usually seems to happen with utilities, government offices, and companies who have gotten so large that they forgot that it was the customer who got them there.
Thankfully I don't do work for any of these types of companies.
Unfortunately, and especially in the case of the large company who forgot the importance of their customer, the customer service representative is usually not very high on the pay scale and doesn't try to excel at their job.
I'm not making excuses for their behavior, but it makes me think the company is just trying to fill a seat.
The Good, Lets Focus on What You Can Do For Your Customers
On the flipside, and also thankfully, I've reached many more kind, thoughtful, and truly helpful customer service representatives, than those you wish you could strangle.
The types of companies who hire better customer service representatives realize the importance of keeping good customers satisfied.
Building satisfaction trust and loyalty in your customer base is just as important as looking for new customers, and many times it costs less to keep a customer than to find a new one.
Customer assistance and satisfaction is the cornerstone of a great online business. Gone are the days when a small complaint gone unhandled may only affect a handful of potential customers.
In the world of the online business an unsatisfied customer may voice their complaint to thousands.
With an online business it's even easier to provide great customer service because of the many support and communication channels that we have at our disposal.
And finally, Solutions to improve the customer's experience with your company
It's very easy to provide an FAQ, frequently asked questions page, to address the answers to simple questions a customer may have and allow them to save the time of contacting customer service.
Providing the ability for a customer to leave feedback on a product or service, and making sure that a company representative addresses all feedback, is a great way to build trust and loyalty.
On Amazon for example, click density metrics, meaning where a visitor clicks most on a page, show that the feedback area gets way more attention than the product area on the page for any given product.
Email support is another way for the customer to interact with the company when they are in need of customer service. It's important to try and respond to all questions within 12 hours, and 24 hours should be the outside limit.
It's very important to provide a phone number, along with business hours when that phone number will be answered by a live person.
I've personally provided phone support for products that I'm familiar with on a few of the startup companies we've built sites for, and I can't tell you the number of times a customer has thanked me for just being there to talk to them.
Another way that's not really new but that has become much more popular in the last couple of years is the chat boxes that pop up on a website and a customer service representative asks if they can help.
I've personally had fairly good luck getting answers to obscure questions when I'm doing research.
Of the various communication avenues that I've presented here, they all have one thing in common, the need to respond in a timely fashion.
While setting up business pages for clients, on Facebook, I've noticed that they rank your response times.
I'm not sure exactly when it started but it's been there for at least the last three years, and it should be important to you as a business owner even without being reminded.
Another way of providing great customer service, and one that's especially important if your company is involved in e-commerce is providing transactional emails.
Transactional emails are used to, welcome new subscribers, confirm registration, send purchase receipts and send shipping confirmations.
Transactional email provides great customer service but you can also learn how to incorporate these emails into your marketing plan by clicking on this link.
Putting the customer first is something we should all strive for.
Be one of the good guys, and make your business better by helping your customer and keeping them happy!