So you’ve launched your online business and ramped up your marketing game, so…
How about improving your customer service?
Across the globe, 96% of consumers say that customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
Growing and establishing a loyal customer base is crucial to businesses of all sizes. The way you interact with existing or potential customers can make or break your chances of making a sale.
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you,”Chip Bell, author of the book Take Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers.
Here are 6 basic Dos and Don’ts of excellent customer service that are easy to put into practice!
DO: Observe basic courtesy
“Please” and “thank you”s can go a long way.
Staying polite and pleasant is the cornerstone of customer service. In fact, 68% of customers believe that great customer service begins with a polite customer service representative who, of course, stays polite till the end.
In replying to online queries and messages, make an effort to appear pleasant and engaged: use smileys (appropriately, not excessively), address your customer as “Sir” or “Ma’am”, and always remember your Ps and Qs.
DO: Reply promptly
28% of customers expect a reply from a brand’s social media within an hour.
So make it a point to reply to your customers as soon as possible.
If you find yourself too busy with other tasks, try to set aside a fixed window every day (e.g. 10 a.m.–11 a.m./5 p.m.–6 p.m.) to reply to your customer queries.
DO: Ask lead-generating questions
In the world of improv comedy, there’s one golden rule every comedian knows by heart: Always answer each question thrown at you with “Yes, and…”
The same goes for business. When customers ask you a question, don’t just answer it point-blank and let it end there.
Instead, answer their query in an engaging manner, peppered with follow-up questions that can hook them into making a purchase.
For example, instead of giving a price to a buyer asking you: “How much?”, you can say “It’s P300 🙂 May I know what you plan to use our product for?” If your buyer replies that it’s a gift for his partner, you can offer to jazz up the wrapping to give the recipient a memorable unboxing experience!
Now that’s great customer service.
DON’T: Appear disinterested
Just as you’d be turned off by a snotty salesgirl while shopping at a boutique (think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman), customers hate uninterested replies from brands.
This makes you appear rude and unconcerned, which can even lead you to lose a potential sale.
Customers respond well to empathy. In fact, if responded to in a compassionate manner, angry customers are more likely to calm down and leave feeling supported.
Yes, it may be tempting to impress potential customers with impressive promises (“We can deliver the product in one hour!”), but overpromising can backfire spectacularly on you: either through losing your pissed-off customer or by them leaving you a bad review (eek!).
Remember: Always be realistic.
Learn how to manage your customer’s expectations, and make it a point to communicate your processes clearly.
DON’T: Spam interested customers
No one likes a naggy person.
It’s important to keep customers interested, but repetitive messages can turn them away–for good.
If an interested customer hasn’t replied within the day, exercise restraint and think twice before asking for an update.
Send one follow-up message (max) the next morning, and let them make the next move.
If they don’t, it’s their loss.
Remember, empathy and warmth are key to building and growing a loyal brand following. As Damon Richards says
Customers do not care how much you know unless they know how much you care.