It is amazing how quickly a person’s opinion can change because of the smallest details. In online business, that is most often customer service. Done right, it can set you apart from other businesses and help build a trust-based relationship with your readers and potential customers. Just look at Zappos — tons of articles and even a book have been written about their unique and phenomenal customer service.
What is Customer Service?
Customer service is simply meeting the needs of your customers. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
For example, a reader signs up for newsletters or your affiliate program and then days go by before they receive a confirmation of your receipt of their request or they receive any information. That reader then decides to withdraw their request because they feel that you really don’t care.
It is important to follow through on the offers you make to both readers and customers alike. That is why they came to you in the first place. Doing your part helps them make the decision to stay.
Just like in a retail store, people don’t want to wander around aimlessly without any help from an associate. If they have to ask you to help them, then you’ve already dropped the ball. It’s your job to be available and offer assistance when you see it’s needed.
How to Provide Good Customer Service
Now, it would be unrealistic to think that you will sit at your computer 24/7 waiting for a reader to ask a question, but what you can do is put processes in place so that someone or something is there 24/7 to be available for any eventuality.
Examples of these processes could be:
- Auto-responder messages
- Scheduled newsletter deliver
- FAQ page that is always updated
- User-friendly tabs, site map and links to get around the website with ease
- Answering service
- Virtual assistant
Even when you can’t be available personally, you know that your readers and customers will be taken care of. For example: If you have an affiliate program, include enough information to help readers understand the benefits, how they can sign up and don’t forget to give them the tools and resources they’ll need to be successful. Sign up forms should only include pertinent information so they are as simple as possible to complete.
When you have time, go through your email messages for those whose question didn’t fit one of the recorded categories on your “Contact Us” page. The auto-responder message for them gives you an additional 24 hours to get back to them with the information they need.
Prompt service tells people that you are concerned about their business, that you value their input and want to keep them happy. Effective customer service is a big part of building a healthy long-lasting relationship with your readers and customers.