Business owners tend to worry about customer acquisition. Customer acquisition is obviously a necessary concern when building and expanding a business. But for a business to have longevity, a great deal of effort needs to be put into customer retention. Consistent sales and support relies on your ability to bridge connections and spark loyalty. To spark that loyalty, you need to put the customer first.
Why customer service is paramount
Customers today are in the know. Google, smartphones and websites like Yelp and Foursquare easily keep consumers informed. Customers have a wild open field of choice– online brands are numerous and easy to find. Negligent customer service can leave your brand marred with bad reviews.
A great product with poor customer service is a waste. A customer-centric business will always win favor, because customers love feeling valued. There are two things that should always be remembered:
- Customer service needs to be a focused experience that is friendly, quick and seamless.
- Customer service starts with a conversation
Exceptional customer service starts with a conversation. When customers have a problem or an inquiry, they expect a speedy response.
If your response takes too long, the quality of your customer service isn’t very good. That’s why it’s incredibly important to watch and monitor any activity or chatter on social networks, check and respond to your emails, and answer phone calls. The responses should be timely.
In addition to timeliness, the conversations you have should be personal. Cold, slick companies are quickly falling out of favor. Customers don’t feel valued when the person answering their support questions and requests is impersonal. Gruff, stiff support repels customers-which is why it’s key to respond respectfully to support requests. It’s even better to respond in friendly manner. Warm conversations disarm any distrust that your customers may have.
How to provide the best customer service experience
The internet has opened several different avenues for support. You want to offer support on as many different channels as possible.
Live Chat– Live chat is good because it’s instantaneous. When there’s live chat, you and the customer are online at the same time and can quickly see each other’s responses. This allows for any problem to be solved quickly, which is of major importance to customer care. With live chat, someone needs to be alert and handle support questions. It’s better if there are multiple people on your team who can handle this responsibility.
Social Media– Online support is quickly shifting to social media. If you cannot quickly respond to complaints or questions on Facebook or Twitter, you will be perceived as inattentive and negligent. If you are suffering a reputational crisis, you need to track and monitor all social channels for any comments or activity. Live chat is a private channel of communication, but social interactions are often public, and can damage your image if they are handled clumsily. Since social media platforms are public, you also have a good chance to demonstrate the quality of your customer service to prospects and other customers. Live examples of timely and personal customer support interactions will boost your image and dispel concerns about your business.
Create a resource of support– Often enough, your website is the first stop before someone sends you an email, goes to your social media pages or calls you. To prepare for this, you need to create a support resource on your website. This is a page (think of the common FAQ page) that answers popular questions about your company and offers tips and advice. Many support problems can often be solved by the customers themselves, without any hand-holding. Provide a clear resource that goes into detail on troubleshooting the common issues that customers encounter.
Above all, be timely and personal. Track and monitor what’s being said about your business. Respond to issues to inquiries in a warm, helpful manner. Ensure that all customer service interactions are logged and saved– if someone has a continuous or recurring problem, you will already know what it is once they return or create a new customer support request.
Customer service and E-commerce go hand-in-hand. Embrace it, and get to work on having the best support for of any retailer in your industry.
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