Customer service and business management go together like a horse and carriage. You don’t get one without the other, and you certainly won’t get far until you pair them together. After all, that carriage can’t walk itself. The horse may be able to move alone, but it won’t achieve its purpose. The same can be said for your company if you don’t get customer service under control.
In the past, this has been about wearing a smile and offering face-to-face interactions. But, with more business done online now than anywhere else, these methods don’t suit every company. Instead, many managers are left with the dilemma of how to make customer services work behind a screen. And, one thing they can all agree on is that a smile will not help here.
Instead, they’re left working out how to develop decent connections without the chance to speak with customers. Challenging, we know. But, as can be seen from this article of tips for providing better customer service, there are some clear-cut guidelines for keeping customers happy. And, we’re going to look at the ways you can integrate each of these into your online operations.
Let’s start with a point which is much the same in both online and physical business. Reliability and assurance are always crucial for positive customer relationships. In physical industry, this may mean turning up for meetings on time, or ensuring products are in the best condition. When it comes to the online world, the main difference is that you may need to work harder to keep your products in one piece. After all, they have further to travel. But, if you hire a reliable courier service, you should be able to tackle both these issues in one. Better, you could consider this as outsourcing. You won’t actually need to put effort in to keep communicating because your courier will do it for you. Most services like these send dispatch and date of arrival notifications. Some even send a time-period in which to expect delivery. All you really need to worry about, then, is getting the parcel to your courier in time for the promised delivery day.
As for assurance, you should focus on the payment options you offer. After all, the main concern any online shopper experiences is that of card fraud. Assure customers they can trust you by offering payment options such as PayPal which provide some level of buyer security.
Next on the list are tangibles. In layman’s terms, that means issues such as your professional appearance. In the real world, this involves clothes you wear and the neatness of your shop. It also refers to issues such as staff availability. Getting this wrong is like trashing your store then not putting staff in place to help customers find what they need.
When it comes to online tangibles, your website is obviously the focus. On the face of things, this falls to neatening it up. As well as appearing professional, this will ensure customers can navigate. From the off, that will keep your them happy and more liable to buy. You should also think about how your site appears across platforms. Getting the appearance right for a computer won’t do much good if you don’t consider mobile use. Especially in an age where most customers browse on their mobiles. As such, it’s imperative you work on developing a responsive design. And, of course, even a clean shop won’t work without staff. It’s down to you to focus on providing help which is accessible such as a live chat on your site.
Empathy is perhaps the most difficult thing to emulate online. Yet, you could argue that it’s more essential than anything for developing trusting relationships. No one likes the cold business which doesn’t have a touch of personality involved. In many ways, this is the motivation behind the smiles staff in physical shops always wear. But, as we’ve already told you, smiling won’t help here. Instead, you need to find new ways to build empathy with your customers.
The most obvious option here would be social media. Nothing’s better for creating meaningful relationships online. As well as allowing you to reach out to customers, this can generate empathy from them to you. And, that’s got to be a plus point. By developing a strong voice, you can encourage customers to empathise with what you’re saying, and thus feel a responsibility to your brand.
It’s also worth noting that online feedback is another fantastic place to work on this issue. By responding to negative comments, you can empathise with disgruntled customers as you would in a shop. You can take the chance to apologize for their issues and work towards finding a solution.
Last on the list is responsiveness. In physical stores, this refers to things such as the length of queues, or the time it takes staff to find a specific item. Online, this mainly applies in regards to ease of communication. As we mentioned for tangibles, a live chat is sure to help bring a professional presence to your website. But, you also need to take steps to ensure that instant chat stays instant. This could mean guaranteeing multiple members of staff are available at any one time. It could also mean improving your internet connection to ensure you receive messages without delay. Obviously, there will be times when your live chat will be offline. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you leave a contact page. Each morning, check any messages from this and reply to them before anything else. Fast communications like these keep you in customer’s minds and could seal a sale.
Responsiveness also applies to the speed with which you react to orders. In an ideal world, customers want their products as soon as possible. So, you should aim to process all orders on the day you receive them. That way, you can rest easy that delivery will be fast and customers will stay satisfied.