With e-commerce sales set to top 1.4 trillion by 2015, online retail is a market that can’t be ignored. And as online retail – or e-tail – becomes a normal part of customers’ purchasing habits, e-tailers have to offer their customers more than the novelty and convenience of shopping online. One of the biggest complaints of customers doing business online is that e-tailers lack the personal touch that brick and mortar stores are able to provide. Additionally, customers can be hesitant about making serious purchases online for fear of not having any help and support services available to them should a problem arise. This leaves a BIG opportunity for online retailers that want to step up their customer service game.
The Role of Service in Business
To one degree or another, every business already has customer service structures. Many business owners and managers feel that they are already providing strong service just because no complaints have been voiced. Though a lack of complaints is certainly a positive indicator, this does not mean that there is not some room for improvement.
It is important to understand that when it comes to personal service, online businesses are often at a disadvantage. Without the routine customer interactions that distinguish sales in brick and mortar outlets, web-based business owners have to create a memorable customer experience in other ways.
11 Ways to Provide a Memorable and Positive Customer Experience:
1. Make sure your site is optimized for all screens! Nothing is worse than finding a site that is not optimized for mobile and tablet devices.
2. Become a product expert. Be the company that crowds flock to for specific advice on a particular product or service.
3. Know your perfect customer. Identify what excites and interests them and what motivates them to purchase so that you can tailor your store front to address those needs.
4. Educate your support staff to sell. Customers calling in for support are prime candidates to hear about upgrades and special offers. Of course, keeping support inquires organized with a Help Desk system like Cayzu will help.
5. Sell your vision and be open. Explain your vision and processes with your customers. People like hearing stories and being part of something. This will create a fan base with a stronger connection.
6. Be honest. If you screwed up, you screwed up. It happens. Don’t make excuses as your customers will see right through them.
7. Keep your customers engaged. Promote your social properties on all emails, marketing material and even invoices. Keep point #5, above, in mind.
8. Don’t hide from negative feedback (especially on social media). The worst thing you can do is either hide or delete negative comments. Instead embrace them and face them head on because these are your opportunities to turn that frown upside down.
9. Hire nice people. People in customer service positions should be open, friendly and have patience. Don’t keep the wrong people on the bus as they are a reflection of you. No exceptions.
10. Offer a personal touch! This can be done by reaching out to customers via phone or email and making your contact information clearly visible on your web site.
11. Most importantly, love what you do. If you don’t, customers and employees will see right through you.