The #1 Rule of Online Business
Could following one simple rule completely transform the way you do business and increase your profits? Yes! Can you guess what it is? If you think it's offering the latest products or spending thousands on marketing, you are wrong! (Although these can certainly help) What if I told you that you could increase return buyers and make more money by simply offering exceptional customer service?
It's a simple formula: 1 customer + first-class customer service = 1 great customer experience = repeat buyers = more sales for you!
So with all that money-making potential, what's the best way to go about offering the greatest customer service possible? Read on to learn the craft, then wait for the positive feedback to roll in and watch your business grow!
Is there a difference between online and offline customer service?
Absolutely! When you go to a store or restaurant, what makes the service great? A warm smile when you arrive, a friendly and enthusiastic waitress, or maybe it's the small talk between you and the salesperson behind the counter that leaves you feeling satisfied? Unfortunately for online retailers, this type of personal contact isn't possible, which is precisely why we must go above and beyond to make our customers happy.
The good news is that while you can't always greet buyers with a happy smile or give a friendly handshake after making a sale, there is plenty you can do to make your customers have a great experience when they shop with you.
Today we are going to go a little beyond the basics (which you have hopefully already implemented) such as listening to customer needs, dealing with complaints professionally and fairly, and bring you some more expert approaches to customer service which you can work towards:
Customize your email communications
Personalizing is everything, and while some of your emails might be automated, you can easily personalize any other communication you have with a buyer. Saying something as trivial as "have a great weekend" or "How's the weather over there in Utah?" can make the entire transaction more pleasant for the buyer and give them greater confidence in buying from you.
Don't skimp on the post sale communication
A week or so after the trade, it's a good idea to send a quick email and ask if the item arrived safely. It's the perfect way to let customers know that you appreciate their business, but also a great way to help get more sales in the future by letting buyers know about new promotions and products. This is a highly effective marketing tool because it's quick and concise, and it won't end up in a spam folder (as long as you use the email address you used to communicate with during the initial trade).
When buyers have a great experience with you the first time, they are more than happy to hear from you and learn about new product lines or sales. Remember that discount coupons for their next purchase are always a great incentive for them to revisit your web store or eBay listings.
Send out items as quickly as possible
This is crucial. Many buyers on eBay feel anxious during the time between when they pay for their item and when they receive it, especially first-time buyers. Therefore, getting their item out to them as soon as possible gives them confidence in buying from you, and significantly increases the chances of them telling their friends about you, or returning themselves.
Getting to the post office every time a payment comes through is far from efficient, so thankfully there is a solution! Our friends at USPS offer a free carrier pick up service so that you can give them a call and have them pick up your packages (that's right you can do more than one at a time!) as long as you let them know by 2am (CST) on the day you want it picked up. Check out http://www.usps.com/pickup/welcome.htm for more details.
Make it easy for people to contact you
Responding to individual requests or questions won't take up as much time as you think and there will always be customers who don't read through full item descriptions or FAQs and will take up more of your time than others, but this is simply part of running any business. Always be patient and answer their questions thoroughly.
Make sure you list your contact details prominently. If you are selling on eBay, you can do this on your About Me page, or when using your own website, have a ‘Contact Us' page and list at least two ways buyers can contact you such as email, phone or Skype.
To go that one step further, consider setting up an 800 number. This will help give you a competitive edge, and sellers of high-involvement or technical products will find this useful when buyers have a lot of questions. Plenty of phone companies only charge you on a per-call basis so you will only pay if and when a buyer uses it.
Remember that good customer service can be the cheapest way to make customers happy and keep them coming back for more. The truth is that when it comes to online business, you can master every other sales strategy from stocking the latest products to perfect keywords and searchability, but if you don't keep the customers satisfied, these aren't worth a dime!