Customer service needs to be a priority for your company, regardless of what business you are in.
With the online market as competitive as it is today, you need an edge to rise above your competition. Your customer service is what will set you apart from other businesses that offer products and/or services that are similar to your own.
A lot of companies feel that the initial cost of implementing a customer service program is an expensive investment. You should consider it precisely that: an investment. Any money that you put into customer service will return to you in the form of new customers and satisfied regular customers.
Do I really need a customer service program?
Every online business, regardless of its size, needs a customer service program. Depending on the size of your company and the products and/or services that you offer, this may require the work of one or more employees. Here are some suggestions on how to build a successful customer service program:
Step 1 -- Review all of your promotional material and Web site content. Does this information make sense to your average customer? Is your Web site easy to navigate? Get an objective outsider to review everything and offer some constructive criticism.
Step 2 -- Call your own phone number to see if your phone answering system is easy to navigate. How hard is it for a customer to talk to a human representative in your company?
Step 3 -- Make sure that your customer service representative(s) is/are fully knowledgeable in all areas of your products and/or services. Also, ensure that your representative is organized, competent and prompt when dealing with customer complaints.
Step 4 -- Treat your employees well. Are your workers happy? Do you ask for their input on ways to improve your customer service? Customers can sense attitude, good or bad, even through a phone call.
Step 5 -- Set an outline for dealing with difficult customers. It is very important for your company's customer service representative to address the customer right away and listen without interruption, taking notes as the conversation develops. Make sure that your representative asks questions and gets the entire story. Your representative needs to remain calm and patient, even if the customer does not. Try to agree with the customer on some point, or thank them for bringing the problem to your attention. Explain what actions you will be taking and let them know if you will be following up with them.
"The customer may not always be right, however, it's not our job to prove they are wrong."
Step 6 -- Check on your customer service program often. You need to meet more than just your customers' temporary needs, you need to take care of current needs and anticipate future needs and problems. Even with the best customer service program in effect, it is still better to prevent a problem, rather than deal with it after it surfaces. Anticipating and preventing future problems can be hard work, but your hard work will pay off when you are the top company in your field!
Reprinted from InternetDay