May 19, 2010
excellent customer service is the number one way to ensure happy customers, repeat business and a profitable business. as small business owners, we’re lucky to be able to make all the customer service decisions ourselves! it’s solely up to us how we want to deal with certain situations and what kind of relationships we want to build with our clients. how lucky we are! today, i’ll share my 5 suggestions on how to be a customer service whiz.
1. think like the customer. reflect on you own buying experiences. what made them wonderful, or maybe less than desirable? after you’ve decided what other businesses have done that make you feel really happy and satisfied (or the opposite), visit your shop like a customer. can you switch the roleplay? how does browsing your shop make you feel? do you feel welcome, at ease, and satisfied with the information provided? if not, make sure to edit the necessary areas.
2. provide thorough information. your shop welcome, item descriptions and policies page are the perfect place to provide your shoppers with all relevant info. make sure to outline exactly what the customer can expect in the policies section (shipping info, payment methods accepted, return policy etc.). in your item descriptions, give them more info than the bare minimum. things you can add to the essentials (i.e. dimensions, weight etc) are the feel of it, the texture, what inspired you and ideas of how they might use the item. get creative and make sure that the shopper has fun reading your descriptions. the best rule of thumb, is try to answer as many potential questions as you can, right in your shop.
3. go the extra mile. adding little ‘extras’ to your buyer’s shopping experience goes further than you might expect. treat them with special care and show them that you’ve thought things through. special packaging will let them know you took the extra time to make their ‘opening’ experience special, and adding a little freebie and thank you note will send them over the top. if you make shopping with your business fun, you can bet they’ll spread the word, and likely be back!
4. communication. having a conversation with each buyer will help their shopping experience become personable. be prompt in replying to convos and help each customer feel like you have all the time in the world to dedicate to them. make sure to send an immediate thank you for items purchased and include all relevant info, especially the estimated ship date. checking in with them after they should have recieved the item will let them know that you truly care and that you’re there for them. also, be careful to maintain an upbeat, friendly tone no matter what you’re discussing with your buyer, it will make all the difference!
5. learn to appreciate a complaint. occasionally, you may get a complaint or two. now’s your opportunity to really excel at providing excellent customer service! remember, to always use positive language and go the extra mile to ensure they have a happy experience. you may end up losing a buck or two or maybe the entire sale, but statistics show a dissatisfied consumer will share their lament with 8-10 people and some will push that number to twenty. the good news is 8 out of 10 customers will shop again with a business if their complaint is resolved in their favor relatively quickly (stats from how stuff works). to me, that’s worth considering doing everything you can to send them away with a positive experience. after it’s resolved, take what you can from the complaint as a positive learning experience, and move on!
do you have any customer service tips? share in the comment section!