How to Effectively Support Your Customers
In your quest to be the best, a few things can fall by the wayside. When you're trying to make your site visible, when you're trying to increase sales, there's one thing at the base of all of that and you cannot forget that base. Your base is, obviously, your customers. You cannot forget about them. You're probably thinking, "How can I forget my customers? I need them if I want to meet my sales goals." That is not what I mean. You can't just remember your customers when you're trying to meet your numbers. You have to remember them all the time. Everything you do should be done to help benefit and support the customer in the best way possible. If you happened to forget that customer support is a thing, I've got some tips for you.
One of the biggest frustrations from a customer's standpoint is not being able to reach anyone who will assist with their problem. Whether you're using LiveChat, social media, or good old-fashioned phones, someone needs to be available to assist the customer. If you're struggling with that then it's time to start ramping up your availability to customers. Add a call line if you don't already have one. If you have a call line, add more agents who can assist. Whoever is doing your social media outreach needs to also be equipped with customer service skills. If you don't have social media outreach, you should probably work on that too.
Decreasing the response time is critical in helping a customer. The longer they have to wait for a response, the more frustrated they're going to be. The more frustrated they are, the more likely it is that you're going to have to put out multiple fires instead of just one. Ultimately, if you're struggling with response time, it might be time to consider having some things be automated. For instance, it may help to have your call line have an automated agent as your gate keeper. Email responses can have an automated receipt confirmation. As long as the customer is feeling like your company is available to hear their concerns--and you actually are there to hear their concerns--you'll be in a good spot.
Listen to the Customer
Imagine your life. Imagine when you're talking to someone. While talking to them, they talk over you or they don't even hear what you said. Isn't that frustrating? Of course it is! Imagine a custoemr in similar shoes who needs help from you, who has to talk to your company, but doesn't feel heard. You know where they will feel heard? Yelp. Better Business Bureau. Social Media. To avoid all of this, make sure whoever is handling your customer is actually listening to them. It may help for the agent to recap the conversation with the customer in order to make sure the agent understood all of the customer's concerns.
If all of the custoemr's concerns were effectively heard, the customer won't need to call or email back. First call resolution is critical in supporting your customers. If they have to call back because they didn't feel heard the first time, you're going to start playing Whack-a-Mole. By that I mean that you'll assist the customer enough to let them feel helped, they disappear for a time, then they pop back up again. Having a customer return for the same thing also reduces the amount of time available to assist customers with new issues. And then they don't feel heard. Do you see where I'm going with this? Listen to the customer intensively the first time and you can't go wrong.
Understand Moods and Needs
Your site sells the most beautiful jewelry around. Let's say it's particularly popular among brides and bridal parties. Being involved with that can be stressful enough. Let's add to it that what the bride ordered is not what came in the mail and her wedding is a week away. Can you feel the tension building? I hope you do because this is an example of the type of scenario in which you have to fully understand the gravity of the situation for the customer. Understand how upset this bride already is and understand what she will need from you in order to be in a better frame of mind.
Many companies might apologize for the mistake, send the correct item, and leave it at that. If you want to provide effective customer service for your customers, though, that's not enough. Apologize to her and tell her you understand. And don't just say you understand, you need to actually understand her plight. Do whatever it takes to make things right so that, at the end of the day, she can say your company took a lot of the stress off of her. Now, this probably isn't a scenario that will happen often, but your willingness to do it for even one customer will go a long way in terms of customer service. Your customer, the bride, will remember how helpful you were and when her friend asks for recommendations for bridal jewelry, she'll only have one place in mind.
Nurture/Add Value to the Relationship
Customer service isn't just about having various issues solved. It's also about the experience as a whole--the good, the bad, and the monotonous. Tell me why any customer should come back to you. They came to your site to purchase an item, they bought it, that's it. If nothing remarkable happened for the customer, are you really providing them with a good experience? You don't have to perform miracles and a fireworks show everytime you have a customer. You just have to remind them that this is a valuable relationship worth continuing.
It may help to know what your competitors are doing for their customers. It could provide insight to what you could or should be doing for your customers. It's also helpful because, if you know what the competitors are doing for their customers, it's less likely that they'll snag some of yours.
Your customers are your bread and butter. If you aren't providing them will exceptional customer service, they're less likely to remember you if a friend asks for a recommendation. They're less likely to consider you when they need to make another purchase. Word of mouth travels fast. I can remember some awful experiences I had with sites and subsequently shared them with others. They vowed never to use that site. If I had an average experience somewhere, I probably didn't even mention it. But if I had a really good experience? I sang until I couldn't sing anymore. That, the signing, is what you want for all of your customers. At the end of the day, customers aren't going to rave about how easy it was to find you on Google (it still matters, though), they aren't going to commend you on the technical aspects of the site (you should stll work on them, though), they aren't going to appreciate your marketing funnel (you still need to understand that, though). What the customer will remember is the service you provided to them. And if it isn't effective, you haven't effectively gained a customer.