One must never underestimate the importance of good customer service. Even in the age of digital retail, where face-to-face interactions with patrons are becoming increasingly rare, it’s imperative that online stores go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to customer service. In fact, it’s an important step in learning how to open an online store. For one thing, this will help generate word of mouth marketing, which can lead to a sizable uptick in new business. Knowing that you value their questions, concerns and other input will make consumers more likely to give your store a try. On the flipside, developing a reputation for lackluster customer service isn’t going to do your business any favors. To ensure that both new patrons and seasoned regulars keep gracing you with their business, put the following pointers to good use.
Respond to Concerns and Queries in a Timely Manner
No one relishes waiting excessive lengths of time to receive responses. This is true in virtually every area of life – from interpersonal communications to work emails. Unsurprisingly, shoppers aren’t keen on being kept waiting after sending questions, concerns or customer complaints to online businesses. The longer they’re kept waiting, the less apt they are to give your store another chance. Additionally, if your store develops a reputation for ignoring communiques from customers, don’t be surprised if you find yourself on the receiving end of negative word of mouth. The faster you are in getting back to people, the more they’ll feel that their needs matter.
To nip such issues in the bud, make a point of responding to emails and social media messages from patrons in a timely manner – especially if they’re sent and received during normal business hours. If possible, try to provide a response within several hours and avoid waiting longer than a full day. Even if someone is coming to you with a complaint, they’re likely to appreciate the professionalism of a prompt reply and take such expediency into account when deciding whether to give your business another shot. Speaking of timeliness, convenient procurement solutions can help make the checkout process considerably less cumbersome.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
As anyone who’s ever worked in a customer service capacity can attest, it’s impossible to please everyone at all times. While some patrons are willing to accept certain policies and restrictions, others seemingly believe that nothing should stand in the way of getting what they want. Furthermore, some consumers regularly make demands of businesses that are downright unreasonable. Certainly, these techniques will help you as you start your own online store.
So, when dealing with people who are difficult – if not outright impossible – to please, just remember the importance of choosing your battles. For example, if arguing with a disgruntled patron is eating up a significant amount of time, simply ending the exchange by giving them what they want may ultimately prove more beneficial than sticking to your guns. Even if their demands run counter to established refund rules or exchange policies, acquiescing and washing your hands of the whole affair may be the wisest course of action. Some customers can’t be placated under any circumstances, and limiting the amount of time you spend interacting with such patrons can be a boon to your mental health.
Be Mindful of the Tone You Take
Since face-to-face interactions generally aren’t part of the online retail experience, it’s important to be mindful of your tone and overall demeanor when you run online storefronts and communicate with customers via email. When interacting with someone via text-based mediums, it’s easy to come across as curt and indifferent, even when you don’t mean to. To get a handle on this issue, place careful thought into every message you send to patrons, and make sure to meticulously read them over before sending them.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of solid customer service. If anything, good customer service is more important than ever before. If a patron is unhappy with your business, they’re likely to take their complaint to social media platforms and/or popular consumer feedback sites, which can lead to negative word of mouth. A single dissatisfied or angry customer with a sizable online following can do quite a bit of damage to your store’s reputation. That being the case, you’d do well to make customer service one of your top priorities and consistently work to correct any failings in this area.