Stand Out Online by Providing Exceptional Customer Service

The Closet Entrepreneur by Kendra Leah Fuller

By , @Writing2Day

Let’s talk about providing top notch customer service and what it can do for your business. We have just come through the holiday shopping season and a couple of really big customer service let downs have prompted me to write this post. Without going into the reasons why I will never again order from a couple of online retailers, I would like to share some ideas about good customer service.

I find these to be no-brainers, however my customers shared with me on many, many occasions how a competing retailer had treated them poorly. This left me scratching my head in confusion. If I want your business, shouldn’t I treat you right? If you are competing online with big box retailers and other small businesses, how can you stand out? By treating your customers like the gold they are.

Biggest Customer Service Snafu 1 – Not Returning Phone Calls

Hopefully you are as bewildered by this as I am. Believe it or not, when I would return someone’s phone call, the typical response was, “I can’t believe you called me back.” Seriously? Do I want your business or not? As a small business, you probably do not have someone manning your phones 24-7. Set up your voice mail encouraging people to leave you a message. Listen to your message to be sure it is courteous and professional. Check your voice mail at the very least daily and please, please, please return the call within one business day.

Customer Service Snafu 2 – Not Returning Customer Emails
This pretty much goes along with not returning phone calls but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. Answer all emails promptly (within one business day), courteously, and personally. Yes, that means you – the owner of the company. Responding personally is your main edge online, your big advantage. When you respond personally to a customer as the owner of the business you have just become a person to them, no longer known just as a business name like Amazon or Walmart. Who are you going to be most loyal to – a big box company or a company with an owner that really seems to enjoy visiting with you and helping you in any way they can?

Customer Service Snafu 3
Not Notifying the Customer that You Can Not Fill Their Order in a Timely Manner

Hopefully you have a shopping cart set up to let the customer know at the point of purchase that an item is out of stock. Hopefully you have your cart set up to send a confirmation email/receipt of the customer’s order which also notifies them of any backordered items and anticipated shipping time. This should suffice during most of the year. However, once holiday shopping starts after Thanksgiving, you need to be especially diligent about making sure any backordered items will arrive in time for Christmas.

If you have any doubts about this, you need to contact your customer and give them the option to keep the order, choose a different item, or cancel the order all together. Do not wait until the last minute to make this call. Give the customer plenty of time to make other arrangements. If you do not make the call or wait until a customer no longer has time to order online, you will have lost that customer forever. By going out of your way to help that customer find something else in time, you may have just gained that customer’s loyalty for a very long time.

Customer Service Snafu 4 – Not Shipping Orders within One Business Day
Have you ever placed an order online and paid extra for 3 Day Shipping, only to have the retailer take three days to process and ship the order? You paid for 3 Day Shipping because you wanted that order to arrive in three days, not six. Your customers will feel that you ripped them off when they pay for shipping and do not receive the package within that shipping time. This rule stands even if the shipping has not been expedited by the customer. Always ship an order within one business day. Hire help if you are falling behind.

Customer Service Snafu 5 – When Something Goes Wrong, Eat It and Make a Customer For Life
Hopefully you are striving to provide the best service you possibly can 100% of the time. No matter how hard you try, there will be times that something goes wrong. This may or may not be your fault. It does not matter. Listen politely to your customer. Go above and beyond with your solution to make it right. If it was your mistake, by all means include a hand written note apologizing and maybe a small gift if you screwed up royally. You can turn a potential lost customer into a long-term customer by how you handle a bad situation.

Honestly, I really hope you felt this article was a waste of time. Hopefully you are doing all of these things already to let your customers know you value them. To your business success!

See Related Posts: #standoutonline #competeonline #customerservice


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