In this lesson, you will learn about:
- The importance of providing great customers service
- Elements of exemplary customer service
- Customer service guideline critical to success
Customer Service often gets overlooked when planning out your business. We’re so worried about selling our products, that we forget the most important part of this business...our customers. Without them our business is just a pretty website with products, and hardly a business at all. Let’s talk about how to harness the power of customer service, so you gain loyal and satisfied customers, who keep coming back.
Customer Service revolves around one core fundamental: “Contact”. Your customers must be able to contact your business. Customers have questions, complaints, ideas, whatever. It’s your job as a business to field them. This will help you build a loyal customer base. Different forms of contact can be: Telephone, “Contact” Form, Live Chat or Email.
Each of these need to be set up and managed. Telephone is a classic form of contact, and we all know how that works, just be sure to have a dedicated phone line for your business, and always answer with a branded greeting. “Love You Drooly - Home of the Love, Land of the Drool, How may I help you?” - This goes a long way to conveying professionalism and spreading your brand voice.
Setting up a “Contact Us” form is essential to your customer service, and it’s incredibly easy inside the Bigcommerce control panel. Just go up to “Web Content” in the top menu, and select “Web Pages”. Now, click “Create a Web Page”, and let’s select the fourth radio button: “Allow people to send questions/comments”. This allows us to enter an email address where we want to receive customer questions or comments,
and a few check boxes to select what information we want to gather from our customers. You can fill out your page description and SEO information just like any other web page.
Then we have Live Chat. We covered the installation of Olark’s Live Chat App in our “Create Buyers” video: “Tools That Convert”, but it’s an easy install from your SingleClick App Store.
Let’s review some best practices for supporting your customers.
Step 1: Always be available. This means answering your business telephone when it rings, having your Live Chat program open and active as much as possible, and answering your emails in a timely fashion.
Step 2: Be professional. This doesn’t mean be dry and have no personality, this means choose your words carefully. Not everyone has your great sense of humor. Play it safe, by treating every customer the same. Remember your brand voice in this area, but keep it professional. Being professional also means using good grammar, whether it’s phone, chat or email, write and speak clearly. Believe it or not this can be a turn off to many online shoppers. If they see tons of spelling mistakes and bad grammar they might consider that unprofessional, and boogie on to a more respectable site.
Step 3: Be kind. Remember these are the people who help make your business successful. Whether they’re paying customers or just shoppers, trying to decide, this is where we turn shoppers into buyers. Not every visitor is going to be kind to you, but you can’t let that phase you. Enter into each interaction like it’s brand new, and your first of the day. Don’t let one upset customer affect the rest of your customer interactions. Smile before you answer each customer, and it will carry into the conversation.
Step 4: Be helpful! This is by far the most important rule. The whole reason you’re doing this is to help your visitors buy from your store. Help them decide which of your products best fits their needs, or how your product works, or why it’s a good buy. Sometimes this means asking useful questions, but that’s how you build a loyal customer relationship - by getting to know the customer, showing them your brand has personality, and cares about its customers.
If you follow these steps your customers start to chatter on Twitter, Facebook and around the water cooler about what a great experience they had shopping and dealing with your brand.
OK, so you’ve mastered the art of supporting your clients, but you probably don’t do it all by yourself. Be sure to impart your strategy on your employees, and be strict about it. It’s very important that everyone maintain the same brand voice and policies. This does not mean you all have to sound the same. Each employee should have their own personality, but each must comply with the brand’s voice. Think of Southwest.com, each employee is very different, but they all provide the same helpful and fun level of service. Also, it’s extremely important that each employee abides by your brand’s policies.
This leads to my next point. Although your customer service should be helpful, your brand must also have policies and guidelines in place so you’re ready for almost anything. This gives you and your employees a company standard to work from. Be helpful to your customers at every turn, but be firm when necessary. Sometimes customers may try to take advantage of your kindness and you have to say, No.
Unfortunately, not all customers may be a good fit for your company.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to lose a sale over your business’s policies. Make sure your employees know which policies bend and which don’t. This can actually lead to more brand loyalty. When you can point out to your customer that your brand policy doesn’t allow for this request, but you’re willing to make an exception this one time, this goes a very long way with customers and will actually build their love for your brand, all while maintaining your professionalism.
So just remember customer service is paramount to your success. Maintain your brand voice, be kind, helpful, and always be available for your clients. If you’re not a big corporation don’t act like it. Connect with your customers, who are human beings just like you. Meet their needs and you’ll build loyal customers for years to come.