5 Ways to Deliver Great Customer Service Online

Saturday, July 27, 2013

As an owner of a relatively new online jewelry boutique in Dubai, I get asked this question a lot: how do you differentiate yourself from the competition and how do you turn a prospective customer to a loyal one?

The answer is: Customer service!

Gone are the days when you can fool an online customer with a low-quality, expensive product. A scorned shopper will ruin your reputation on all social media outlets, not to mention the expression of wrath to their friends, families and co-workers. If they decide to go the social media route, it will be very hard to remove it when people search for your company.

That's why it's imperative to make the shopping experience as comfortable as humanely possible. One of the ways to do that is to provide them with honest and timely support 24 hours a day.

After a whole lot of research and from my own experience from shopping online religiously, I came up with a list to help my fellow online business owners achieve success in this area.

  1. Make Customer Service a Priority
    I know that launching a new site comes with a lot of challenges.The technical stuff is bound to take up most of your time. But this is no excuse to de-prioritize customer questions and concerns. If you have the capital, you can hire someone to do this. If you don't, you need to respond in a timely manner.

    I wrote a post about how to discern a reliable website from one that might screw you over when shopping online. One of the tips I include is sending an email to customer service (if a telephone number is not available) prior to the purchase to check the response rate. If 24 hours go by and you haven't heard from them, ditch the site (through out my experience, the biggest names in e-commerce took LONGER to answer my emails than the small, lesser known boutiques.)
  2. Be Honest
    If you made a mistake, admit to it right away. If delivery time takes longer than expected, communicate that with the customer and apologize for the delay. If they ask a question and you haven't gotten a clue, tell them you will get back to them ASAP and actually get back to them when you do have an answer. Simple transparency will go a long way in putting the customer's mind at ease.

    A good tip here is to provide Live Chat on your site to take questions instantly. I found that works best on my site.
  3. Deliver More than Expected
    Nothing makes my day more than when I receive a little extra something with my order. I once got a pen with the company logo on it. It was a cheap ball-point pen but I still use it I really enjoyed the sentiment. So, I did the same at Lavalier: when a customer makes a purchase I always slip in an extra item.

    I also hero my loyal customers by giving them a promotional code to use at check out. 20% off an order will not eat away your margins and your customers will be more inclined to visit the site and, better yet, actually make a purchase.
  4. Clarity is Key
    The main concerns people have when contacting customer service are either related to shipping or related to returns/exchanges. That's why you need to communicate your shipping and returns policies clearly. It should be included on every page and under every item's description.

    A great way to reduce the amount of questions regarding shipping is to provide a tracking number as soon as you get it. Or acknowledge that you received a returned item and you are working on a refund or exchange. 
  5. Offer Easy Returns
    Increase customer confidence by assuring them that they can simply return the item if it doesn't meet their expectations. Some sites offer a refund, others offer store credit. Some will bare the shipping costs for the returns, others will not. Whatever you decide, it's important to have a return policy. A "this sale is final" attitude will not bode well with the customers.
Now it's your turn! Let us know how you provide great customer service in the comments section below.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for this fabulous information. This really helps, i've been looking for this kind of information thanks for sharing keep it up …! Online Shopping

    ReplyDelete
  2. интернет с мобильного покупки в Дубае что лучше для Интернет-магазинов клиентов.

    ReplyDelete