Building The Backbone of Your Business: Customer Service and Support
Did you know your business’s biggest money maker is not actually your most popular product? It is often overlooked, but every online business’s primary product is and always will be their customer service and support.
Your reputation is everything. One poor customer experience can result in the loss of sales, a negative online review, and much more. On the other hand, a good customer experience typically results in more sales, better reviews, and retained customers.
With the massive spike in online sales due to the pandemic this year, you can expect more site traffic than ever. So if you want your customers to leave your site with a smile, this is what you’re going to need to know.
Your customers are the backbone of your business. They’re the key to your success in the present and future. So, making sure that they come back to your site and recommend it to their friends is a must. Here’s a few things you can do to give them a great experience during the holidays:
- Returning should be as easy as buying. According to the New York Times, customers see return policies as a guarantee of a business’s trust in their own products. So make sure that your return policy is laid out clearly and impossible to miss. A good way to make it glaringly obvious to your customers is through a button. Have a button on every product page that says, “View our return policy” which will link them back to your return policy.
- FAQs save everyone’s time. People will have questions. It’s one of life’s few guarantees. We also guarantee that you won’t have time to answer every single customer question when you’re dealing with everything else during the holidays. But what you can do now is anticipate all the questions you will be asked about delivery and returns. Have all the answers clearly laid out in an FAQ to save your and your customer’s precious time.
- Have different checkout options. Different solutions work for different customers. Some people may need expedited shipping and others might feel more comfortable with a contactless curbside pickup. So be sure to offer a few different options and check out these 8 ways to complement your existing checkout.
- Show customers your human side. Reaching out to customers directly through your social media channels shows them that there’s a real person who cares about their concerns on the other side of the screen. And you can respond to their concerns, thank them for their business, and use their feedback to improve your business.
There’s an important distinction between customer service and support. Customer service aids the customer’s experience with the business’s service while customer support aids customers with any issues that might arise with the business’s products.
I know, confusing right? Here’s an example that might make more sense. So imagine you walk into a kitchen store in the hopes of buying a new fridge. The employee who tells you which part of the store to find fridges is providing you with customer service. However, when you get home and can’t figure out how to control the temperature, you call the store back and the person who helps you solve the problem is providing customer support.
We’ve just outlined some strategies for improving customer service, but if you want to retain customers you’ll have to do the same for your customer support. Here’s how to do just that:
- Implement live chatting. The age of patience is long gone. I can feel my blood pressure rising just at the thought of being on hold for 30 minutes to get customer support. Live chatting is a great work around for this problem. It gives your customers the opportunity to get the help they need immediately and directly from your website. So if you don’t think you’ll be available to respond to live chat, consider contracting a business operator for the holiday rush.
- Make your contact info easy to find. Way too many companies exist where it’s impossible to get in touch with them directly. Don’t be one of those companies. They don’t retain customers. During the holiday rush you need to be responsive to customers whose questions aren’t answered by your FAQ. Make sure a phone number or email address is easy to find, or even include a “contact us” button. Check out this quick step-by-step video on adding a click-to-call button on your website:
- Try to be quick and personalized. If you’re not using live chat these holidays, that’s okay. However, make sure that you reply to customer emails as quickly as possible. The average time it takes for someone to reply to a work email is 1.87 hours, so customers may be used to that and become frustrated if they have to wait 2 hours for a response. Also use your customer’s name, no one likes getting the ol’ copy-paste treatment.
Reviews and Analytics
You need to care about online reviews. Over 90% of people read online reviews before making a purchase, and 84% of people trust them as much as a friend’s recommendation. Good reviews help customers find the right products and the right stores, and also helps build up a business’s reputation. It’s wrong to assume that bad reviews will only serve to hurt your reputation. With the right attitude and response towards them, they can actually help your business and reputation improve.
- Reviews sell. You’re confident in your product. You know it’s great and you want others to know this as well. So, incentivise people to leave reviews. Also, You can offer them a small gift card towards their next purchase or add something to their order. Trust us, this will help you – having as few as five reviews can make your products 270% more likely to sell.
- Respond to poor reviews. You might not like seeing them, but they’re a good source of constructive criticism. Actually listen to what your customers have to say. When they see that you’re listening to them and planning on doing something to improve they may give you a second chance and then recommend you to a friend.
- Google analytics is your best friend. Without real data it’s very hard to improve your online performance. Google analytics is a free tool that every single online business should be using. Check out Google’s guide on how to get started.
- Communicate internally with your team. Make sure that everyone is on the same page this holiday season. That doesn’t just go for your employees, it also applies to your business partners. It only takes one weak link to result in a bad review, and you don’t deserve your reputation being hurt because of poor communication.
Customers are the backbone of your business, without them, you collapse. So that makes customer service and support the vitamins that build strong bones. Having happy customers is as integral to your long term success as anything else. This holiday season it’s important to dedicate extra focus to customer service and support because traffic is expected to shatter previous records.
As always, please reach out to us if there’s anything we can do to help you prepare and succeed. Also, feel free to download our holiday merchant guide which has tons of great tips.