Making Customer Service Work for Your Very Small Business
A guest article by Carlos Aragon, Director of Solutions Marketing, Kandy.
Congratulations, your business is up and running! You’ve got a store, products, and a marketing plan. You’ve even closed some sales and you have a happy customer. Or maybe you don’t? Sometimes things can happen along the ordering, provisioning, delivery flow and the unhappy customer is yours to deal with. What’s your plan?
We’ve all been recipients of both good and bad customer service and American Express helped quantify the risks of bad customer experiences in their 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer:
- It scares existing customers away.
- It makes price the most important decision factor.
- It scares potential new customers away.
But all is not lost – most customers will tolerate a bad experience if a satisfactory solution is provided in a timely manner. Only 37% will switch companies after an initial poor customer service and 58% will tolerate 2 or even 3 instances of poor customer service. So what are the best tools to use?
Customers like voice
The American Express study highlights that while consumers generally prefer online tools for simple inquiries, many are looking for voice interaction when it comes to more complex situations. So in addition to building a website that has as much information as possible for customers to solve their own problems, providing a customer service voice contact on your online store is an intelligent business choice. There are a number of ways you can do that, each with its own set of pros and cons which you can see in the table below.
Ultimately of course the decision is up to you. Any successful business is the result of multiple factors and often a bit of luck. Still, customer service is a key factor in your ongoing operation.
A few additional tips on delivering an excellent customer service:
- Provide a lot of information on your website such as FAQs, tutorials, videos, feedback forms, product reviews, forums, etc.
- Provide multiple contact options: email alone isn’t enough.
- Acknowledge issues promptly, even if only to say that you are working on a solution.
- Follow up if you don’t hear back. Don’t assume the customer has moved on.
- Facilitate call triage with an auto-attendant feature.
- Provide a low or no cost calling option
- Consider messaging and social networks, especially when working with a younger demographic.
- Check the Customer Service category in the Shopify Marketplace for state-of-the-art applications such as Business Phone, which lets you add a second number (including texting) to your mobile includes voicemail, auto-attendant, configurable business hours and SMB options which let you share a single number with up to 4 additional employees. It also includes a click-to-call button for your store that visually presents the auto-attendant menu and lets your customers call the right person at no cost from their web browser.