5 Ways to Improve Customer Service Online
How to learn more about you online customers
Online transactions are certainly less personal then the face-to-face interactions you have with clients in your store or office but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on providing excellent customer service for your online customers. One sure-fire way to keep customers coming back is to treat them well – online or offline. Here are some tips to help you ‘turn up’ the level of service you provide and keep your customers coming back for more.
Just checking in
Keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis. Send monthly email communications (with links back to your website, of course) to tell customers about new products in stock, sale items, special offers or even coupons. Here are some ideas on the types of communications you could send:
- Birthday clubs-Ask customers for their date of birth and send them a coupon for their special day.
- Thank you emails-Send your customers a thank you note and ask them if they have any suggestions for better service.
- Gold Memberships-Ask your customers whether they’d like to be part of an exclusive membership program. These programs would send advance alerts on sales or preview new products.
Where can I find ….?
Did you know the number one reason visitors leave a website in the first few seconds is because they can’t easily find what they are looking for. Nothing can be more frustrating to customers than not finding basic information about products, shipping information, return policies, refunds and/or store credit. Make your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate and make sure the following is included:
- Detailed product pages that always have thorough product descriptions with images.
- An FAQ page that clearly answers return and shipping policies and clarifies anything that might confuse your customers.
- Include a searchable FAQ in which customers can type a question such as, “Do you ship to Post Office Boxes.” Help me!
- There will be times customers will not want or be able to ’self serve’ from your website. In these cases you have an opportunity to be there with a helping hand for your customers. Make sure your customer service telephone number or email address is easy to find. You can also consider offering customers live chat with an experienced customer service representative. Live chat can be an inexpensive way of answering questions visitors and reduce the call volume for your call center.
Magic Words That Make Everyone Feel Good
Ok, this may seem like common sense but sometimes we all forget. Whether in person or online it’s always to your benefit to be polite to your customers. Use the words please, thank you, and you’re welcome. If you make an error, admit it quickly, and make it up to your customers. Other ways to show your customers that you appreciate their business:
- Send thank you gifts to lifetime customers. Award bonuses to your customers who make a big purchase.
- Reward customers a point for every one dollar they spend. For example, customers can get a free computer for 1000 points that they’ve earned. In other words, customers who spend $1000 dollars on your products and services to get enough points to get the free computer.
- Enclose a hand-written thank you on the packing slip or personalize it more with the business card with contact information from the manager.
Last but not least, exceed expectations
Nobody is perfect and mistakes are bound to happen, but it’s important to exceed customers’ expectations. For example, if you fail to deliver an item, don’t just apologize for the error, but offer the item discounted or free of charge. Here are some other ways that you can go that extra mile and ensure return customers:
- Make returns policies simple and flexible
- Offer the choice of money-back guaranteed or store-credit if customers are not fully satisfied
- Always remember that if you go that extra mile for a customer – more often than not – they keep coming back.
Customer Service Guru Learn how to use the web to serve your online and offline customers better.
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