Everybody loves to receive excellent customer service. On purchases big or small, the level of customer service provided is the number one contributor to both customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Providing excellent customer service is not just a ploy to make a sale.
It’s a term that encompasses the full customer experience from beginning to end, regardless of whether the purchase is actually made or not.
Ultimately, your aim is to offer such a great experience that your customers become loyal to your brand.
When you achieve customer loyalty, you achieve repeat business, great reviews and existing customers will recommend your brand to potential customers.
On the flip side, if your customers receive a bad experience, it’ll do the complete opposite. Bad customer service results in complaints and it’s important to remember that word travels fast!
When it comes to doing business online, offering customer support is pretty much the same – it’s only the tools and specifics that are different.
Many of your customers won’t know you personally, especially if you work in a global market. Your challenge here is to prove you are a real person who they can depend on.
There are plenty of ways you can strive for excellent customer service online, it just takes a little thinking-outside-the-square. Here are five ways to accelerate your customer service in an online market.
Establish trust and make it personal
The internet is jam-packed with online businesses trying to out-do their competitors. So how do we know which ones we can trust?
Your web content is hugely important here. If it’s accurate, honest and conversational, it’ll go far in earning the trust of potential customers.
Use your web content to ‘talk’ to your customers in a way that reflects who you are and how you would speak to them if you were face-to-face.
Your content should come across as human and conversational, not robotic and factual.
Sure, it’s vital that your content meets search guidelines in order to optimise your page online. However, we still advise that you write content for humans first and search engines second. Think of your content as a conversation. Before you hit the publish button, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I made it clear that I can help the customer within the first couple of lines?
- Would it sound like I’m waffling if I were speaking to them in person?
Above all, your content must be accurate and honest in order to establish trust with customers online. Don’t claim to be anything you’re not. If you believe in your product or service, you’ll have the right tools to encourage potential customers to believe in it too.
If grammar is not your strong point, have an expert take a look at your content before it is published.
Many customers find it very off-putting if web content is poorly-written.
It can also give the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing.
It’s also vital that you put a face to your business to build trust with customers online. This is what the About Us page is for.
Customers appreciate being able to do a little background check on you as a company and transparency will take you a long way.
Show your credentials, experience and expertise as well as including a little bit about your family life and your interests.
Make sure you have some great images of you and your staff on this page too.
Empower your team to support your customers
Many of us have different ideas of what makes excellent customer service. You need to make sure you and your team share the same values on this topic.
Establish your company values together and brainstorm ways you can provide the best customer service at all times. The key is to be on the same page so you can deliver a consistently high level of customer service right across the business.
It’s not enough to assume you all know what it means to provide excellent customer service. Think of each member of the team as a cog in the machine. It’ll only take one person to break loose and destroy all that you’ve worked so hard for.
Most online customer service comes by way of providing customer support, so teach your employees how to simply ‘talk’ to customers appropriately.
Seeing as you can’t deliver ‘service with a smile’ like you would face-to-face, establish a tone for writing to customers that you can share with your team.
This is the best way to appear friendly in a world where short answers can so easily be mistaken for blunt answers.
Even a little emoji here and there can help you with this – just don’t go overboard!
Encouraging feedback is a critical part of growing as a business. All businesses should be striving to be their best.
So how can you expect to improve if you don’t know what your customers think of your brand?
Online business, especially, should have a designated space for customers to place feedback. A simple follow-up email survey is easy to distribute and quick to complete. This provides the perfect platform for customers to share their thoughts of their experience with your business. It also allows them to vent any frustrations directly to you, instead of seeking an online review site.
Don’t be afraid to receive negative feedback. This will only make your brand stronger as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
Have you ever reached out to an online business only to receive no response? Frustrating, right? It certainly makes the business look unreliable.
Respond to all customer queries, big or small. Always.
Any person who contacts you through your website is a potential customer. If you disregard them, it will reflect badly on your business. The purpose of being responsive is not to make a sale, it’s to promote conversation and to be perceived as reliable.
There is something very satisfying about asking a question to an online business and receiving a prompt, accurate response. If you’ve had this experience before, you’ll know how much something this small can influence your feelings towards that business.
Provide excellent customer service through all channels
If you want to stand out on the ever-increasing World Wide Web, you’re going to need to have a bigger online presence. With social media being one of the best modes of modern communication, it’s unreasonable to expect great things from just the website alone.
Online businesses have been quick to cotton on to the benefits of having a social media presence (although, many are still yet to find out!). But with social media comes another layer of opportunities to provide excellent customer service.
DMs, PMs, Tweets and comments – customer queries come in from all angles. You’ll no longer have just the website’s contact page to manage.
But social media is quickly becoming the preferred choice for communication with online businesses.
Customers also love to be able to access social media to check out photos of previous work, read reviews and find out a few quick facts about a business.
Your level of customer service can be greatly enhanced by your social media activity. Use social media to your advantage and include it in your full online customer experience.
If you’re not offering excellent customer service, you’re behind the eight-ball. Online businesses must work even harder to compete with the traditional in-store experience.
Remember, potential customers have many choices at their fingertips, so if you don’t stand out, you won’t get the business – it’s as simple as that.
If your online presence is yet to reach its full potential, give us a call today to have a chat about how we can help.
We are an award winning SEO, content marketing and social media agency who value transparency, quality, communication and business results for our clients.