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10 Effective Online Customer Service Tips

10 Effective Online Customer Service Tips

Customer service hasn’t changed much since commerce first began and if you want a customer to buy from you again, and to recommend your product or service to others, complaints or problems must be handled properly.

The old adage; “A satisfied customer will tell five people about their experience, a dissatisfied customer will tell twenty-five!” is still true today.

Customer Service on the Internet

Because the Internet is an impersonal place to shop, online customers feel little loyalty to you, your company and your brand. Many online shoppers won’t hold back with regard to their anger and upset either, they feel safe behind their anonymous email address. Therefore, in responding to a complaint, you must quickly establish rapport with your customer and to do this, your phone skills and email etiquette must be exceptional. You most likely won’t get a second chance to make the right impression.

Some tips to put you on the right track:

1. Don’t give stock responses when customers are not asking stock questions! Take care to answer every question or concern that a customer asks in an email; there’s nothing worse than getting back an email from a business or their customer service that doesn’t address the concerns you stated in your email, gives stock responses to what you asked, or makes you feel like a nuisance…or an idiot!

2. Always end the call or email on a high note for the customer, they’ll remember your last words best. In other words, don’t end the conversation by saying, “…  I’m really sorry you didn’t receive your item when promised.” Rather say, “… your item is on my desk right now and after this call I will take it to the post office myself.” Then stop talking! Don’t be tempted to apologise again and remind them of the problem, leave customers with the good taste of a resolution in their mouths.

3. Use “exaggerated courtesy” in your emails. Because the person on the other side of your email can’t see your expression or hear your tone of voice, your words must do everything for you. Read emails at least three times before hitting the send button.

4. Remove or reword phrases in your email that could be considered rude, such as, “As I said before,” (Ouch, that’s a reprimand! We expect the sentence to end like this, “As I said on the phone, Stupid!”)

5. If you don’t have the time or staff with the right qualities to handle complaints properly, consider outsourcing your customer service. Look for two customer service “virtues” in candidates: patience beyond measure and a genuine liking for people. If you do your own customer service for your small business, you need to determine if you have those qualities. If not, outsourcing is your only option.

6. Always ask customers what they want; their request will often be more reasonable than whatever it was you were going to do to make it right and it will be the solution they want, not the solution you think they want!

7. Acknowledge their pain and fix it! Customers rarely demand something more than what they originally expected. What they really want is for you to acknowledge their pain and make it right. Making it right usually means getting what they expected in the first place and it doesn’t have to be accompanied by a free gift. So don’t start offering all kinds of freebies to try and make them feel better, don’t substitute “bribing” the customer for genuinely caring about their pain. You can’t buy their loyalty, but you can earn it.

8. Don’t over compensate for your company’s mistake. Gushing with apologetic words and offering them the sky because of a small error can leave your customer doubting your professionalism and if you’ve given them the moon and the stars for such a small mistake, what will you do when you really mess up?

9. If possible, give customers a choice as to the solution to their problem; they’ll view their experience with less pain that way. If they couldn’t download your product because of some technical difficulty, they might want a full refund, they might want the chance to download the product again, or they might prefer that you email them the product.

10. If you do it carefully, you can use some customer service situations to upsell customers. “… Did you notice on our Web site that you can get a second item at half price? If I ship them today, both items will arrive in plenty of time for Christmas. “Now stop talking and let the customer sell themself on your offer. This is not the time for a hard sales pitch!

Every good customer service encounter gives you another chance to increase your revenue

* improve customer loyalty
* correct problems in your buying cycle
* upsell customers.

By retaining customer loyalty you now have the chance to sell this customer something else, and you can rest assured they’ll say positive things about your company.
Remember, “A satisfied customer will tell five people, but a dissatisfied customer will tell twenty-five people”!

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