Create a Better Online Customer Service Experience
There is no such thing as a perfect online customer service policy that covers every situation and every scenario. Instead of attempting to craft a flawless plan with every angle considered, customer service policies can be anchored in two simple ideas: empowering the employee and, of course, customer satisfaction.
Empowered employees have the authority and responsibility to solve problems on behalf of customers. A carefully developed policy can ensure that employees can bring timely solutions to the table. Here are six useful guidelines to improve your customer service policy.
Customer is Always Right, Especially Online
At times, customers will contact your online representatives about a problem and be absolutely furious. It is possible for that same furious person to leave a confrontation feeling much more sure of their loyalty to that company for how they were treated. Furthermore, they will be sure to communicate within their spheres of influence about the way in which they were treated, good or bad.
1. The customer is always right. Even when they’re not, the customer will always perceive that they are right. Thus, it is the responsibility of the employee to guide disgruntled customers into a mutual state of understanding and respect. How they are treated during conflict will determine if they continue to use your products or services or click over to a competitor. And, potentially, it can benefit your social media presence, rather than harm it with the addition of a customer rant.
Empathy and Patience
A simple “you’re welcome” or “thank you” said with sincerity makes a person feel like they are genuinely appreciated customers. Genuinely appreciated customers make for excellent word-of-mouth advertisers. Ask questions that will uncover the root of the problem. With patience and diligence, representatives can find out what is really bothering the customer and find a solution that benefits all parties involved.
2. Treat customers like your grandmothers. This means address them with patience, respect, and a predisposition toward kindness. Make contacting a customer service rep easy, with a clear contact form, phone number or email address that is impossible to miss on your site. And never underestimate the value of cordiality. “Please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” can go a long way, even in an email.
The workplace ought not be a place of dread. When it is, there is a heavy air that is palpable to everyone working. This black cloud can leak through to phone conversations or live chats with customers, even when the exchange is supposed to be a positive one. Unnecessary conflict, sarcasm, or bitterness will make a customer want to spend as little time as possible dealing with your business. Not only will they be reluctant to complete future transactions that require exchanges with employees, they will ensure that others are reluctant to give your business a chance as well.
3. Regardless of hierarchy, all coworkers are to be spoken to in the same attitude in which you yourself would want to be spoken. Creating a positive communication climate is essential in the workplace. Answer all questions and clarifications your coworkers need with patience. Make sure all employees are happy first, to ensure they are just as happy when helping customers.
Make Customer Service a Priority
Your phone number or live chat information should be placed on every page of your website in an easy-to-see location, and it should be in the same spot on every page. This helps the customer feel as though you are inviting them to contact you for even the smallest question. In the business world, the customer is god. Making it easy for them to contact you online will help them feel like a priority.
4. Give priority to customers. Make your contact information readily available on your site. Be sure representatives know that they must immediately stop any other tasks they may be completing to give their full attention to customers.
Businesses should strive to exceed the customers’ expectations in every area of the company— products, services, website usability. Of course, going over and beyond with customer interaction is also a must. Often, an angry customer will call prepared for a fight; what customers don’t expect is someone on the other end who is willing to listen and do whatever it takes to more than make up for the unpleasant circumstance. A customer calling in or emailing with a good review may not be expecting a free gift or discount coupon; a small and easy act such as this, however, will further reinforce their positive view of your company.
5. Be willing to “go the extra mile.” Do a step above what you are expected or asked both within the company and with customer interactions. Test your website to ensure it is delivering the experience you want customers to have: a good one.
Know the Policy
It ought to be evident in all actions and vocalizations of employees that they thoroughly understand the customer service policy and the reasoning behind each point. Training should focus on making sure employees know and understand the customer service policies of the company.
6. Training is imperative. All employees must demonstrate knowledge of customer service policy in daily customer/employee interactions.
Shopping online can be wearying. Between comparing prices from vendor to vendor, not physically being able to handle the actual product, and waiting for it to be delivered, there are plenty of opportunities to estrange consumers. If you can always exceed a customer’s expectations, your reputation as an outstanding business will grow by leaps and bounds, and as a result, so will your customer base.
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