We’re discussing the little operating changes that can easily be set up in an online business that will add greatly to your customer support process.
4. Set up a responsive help system or customer support mechanism.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive and complex hosted solution.
The main thing customers want to know is how to easily, quickly, and reliably get in touch with you should a problem or concern arise.
Customers online understand that small companies may not have full time “operators standing by” waiting to answer every question thrown at them.
But by all means, return phone calls and emails just as soon as you can, preferably within a few hours of receiving them.
5. Try to anticipate your customer’s questions and needs.
A comprehensive set of FAQs (frequently asked questions) can reduce email and telephone questions by as much as 80%.
Combined with a clear and easy to locate set of company policies, this “preventive” solution can free up the owner’s time spent answering routine questions to a great degree.
Think also about getting an autoresponder set up to email information and answers to your customers that doesn’t require your hands-on attention.
6. Set a “no questions asked” 100% refund guarantee policy on all your products, if you can.
Set it up to last for 3 months, 6 months, or a year from the date of purchase – the longer, the better. Why?
Online buyers almost expect this kind of “fall back” protection these days.
They will be more confident that you aren’t trying to rip them off if they are comfortable that they can get their money back at any time.
Studies have shown that a strong guarantee increases sales significantly.
If you place all the risk of the purchase (the chance of losing money) on yourself, your customer will trust you and feel confidence in your company.
7. Increase your prices (if you have to) in order to provide excellent service.
At one time in the early days of the Internet, the lure of a low price was the determining factor for people purchasing online.
Studies show that less than 20% of buying decisions today are made on that basis.
Good customer service and safe and secure buying are becoming more critical to the purchase decision than a low price; so even if you have to charge a little more for your products to provide excellent customer service – that will be money well spent.
Think about the trade-off this way: What would you rather do – spend $199 on a product that you were sure you could return for its full price no matter why you decided you didn’t want it? . . .
Or spend $179 to get a discount on the same product, but have no guarantee or reason to believe that you would ever see your money again if something wasn’t right?
Is $20 too much to pay as “insurance” to protect your $199 investment?
8. Put a system in place that allows customers to track their product during shipping. Of course, this applies to physical products only since digital products aren’t typically shipped to the purchaser.
It’s easy to do now that UPS, the Postal Service, FedEx and other shippers have online tracking systems.
This move alone could divert a lot of email and phone inquiries away from your customer support personnel (yourself)!
9. Incorporate customer feedback into your daily routine.
Contact your clients following a purchase to make sure they received their product, were happy with it, don’t have further questions about its use, etc.
Don’t forget to take this moment to thank them for their business.
Simple gracious little acts of kindness and gratitude will pay big dividends in terms of customer loyalty and additional product sales.
10. Surprise (or at least “please”) your customers with unexpected and free bonuses on a regular basis.
I’m not suggesting you shower them with gifts you have to purchase and ship to the customer.
But why not send them an information product that you create in a few hours that will help them in some way use your products?
A little 2-3 page “how to” product could be sent by email or downloaded from your web site at almost no cost (other than your time) to the owner.
Other examples of unexpected gifts are redeemable coupons for 25% off your next product, special customer appreciation sales events, free shipping for a defined period of time, or email “remembrances” at holidays.
11. Include a small but unannounced bonus with every shipped or downloaded product.
Again, it can be a little thing that the owner creates in his spare time. But an unannounced bonus can have a big impact on a customer.
You should be able to include such a bonus with the delivery of the product at no additional cost to your business.
Imagine how good your customers will feel if they are pleasantly surprised when they open their delivered package and find more than they paid for in value?
12. When mistakes happen, and things don’t go right for the customer in your business, make their personal satisfaction your ultimate goal.
By handling their problem personally and as quickly as possible, you can turn a potentially irate customer into a fanatically loyal fan of your business.
If I have a complaint or a problem with a business or product and the owner personally sees to it that my concerns and anger are laid to rest, a huge burden is lifted off my shoulders and I understand that this is a company I can feel comfortable with in the future.
Bad situations that are rectified quickly are something for satisfied customers to talk about with other prospects in your niche – even more than good service that is expected and often taken for granted!
I hope you will consider adding some or all of these suggestions into your daily business execution.
To your online business success,