Whatever happened to Customer Service??

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  • Karma:
16 Jan 10 05:19:50 pm
Have you ever been fortunate enough to experience this extinct
concept called 'customer service?' If so, you're one of the few that has yet to
experience true customer service online. More often that not, we get terrible service, discourteous service, or complete and total lack of service. Sound familiar?

Have you ever sent questions to a company you were thinking of buying from, but only half of those questions answered? Or not answered at all. And, the one's that were answered were only HALF ANSWERED themselves? If so, did you follow through to buy from them? Probably not.

These are all things we need to think about and take VERY seriously as online vendors/sellers. Not only will offering excellent customer care set us apart from the majority, but will also increase sales and profits when our clientele realizes that we actually DO care weather they leave with a quality product or service and with all of their questions answered.

So how do we ensure that our customers genuinely feel cared for, and their business valued? Take the following common sense steps to stop customer complaints BEFORE they start:

1. Answer all questions thoroughly and enthusiastically.

When someone asks questions about your product or service, they're expressing a STRONG interest in buying what you have to offer. Don't force their spending dollars elsewhere by sending incomplete answers or taking days to respond to their e-mail And when you do write back, don't make your prospects feel like the response was a chore. After all, if they knew everything you know,they wouldn't need to buy what you're offering.

Feel honored to explain the answers to their questions, and make sure they understand, 68% of customers don't follow through on the sale because of a perceived ATTITUDE *or* INDIFFERENCE toward them by the owner, manager, and employee, So remember, they choose to do business with you! Realize that decision, and honor them for it.

2. Take measures to guard against preventable disasters.

This one speaks for itself. Think like sticking to established policies comes to mind. An online contract is mutually agreed upon by both the provider and the consumer. Don't jeopardize client relationships by going against contract terms, and don't try to invent conditions later on down the line. If there isn't a written or verbal agreement, its not enforceable.

Not only can this type of practice lead to a fat lawsuit, it's just plain unethical! Fewer surprises equals happier customers.

3. Find a way to resolve the complaint fairly...then stick to your word.

In most cases of dissatisfaction, your customer will ask for a refund. However, don't make the common mistake of thinking that refunding their money is the end of the problem. If you do, the customer won't be leaving with anymore than they started, except for a disappointed experience with your company..and that's NOT what you want. So, you might correct the situation AND offer them something of value for there time and trouble.

4. Follow up on your customer's complaints to be sure that their needs were properly met.

After you take that special action to win your dissatisfied customer over check back with them after a few weeks. This doesn't have to be anything more than a quick e-mail to see if they need anything else, and to see if the arrangement you made for them has been working out.

5. Treat every customer as your most highly valued Customer(s)

Knowing how to satisfy customers and KEEP them satisfied are both very important parts of excellent customer care. Whether it be before or after someone has done business with you, make sure that it's always a pleasant experience, and give then as much personal attention as you can possibly can.

If you know how to effectively resolve customer complaints, rebuild credibility with follow up letters and calls, and make sure the customer feels valued, you'll never be short of business OR Profit.

Thanks for reading this, and may your business be blessed like mine has been.

John(aka bacpro)

J Baca

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  • Karma:
16 Jan 10 09:54:38 pm
Some excellent advice in that post John, thanks for that.

No doubt at all that customer service is nowhere even close to what it used to be, and good customer service via email is virtually non existent, even with larger companies.

The point that everyone seems to miss here is that email is a good thing for business, would you rather spend that time where people are emailing you, answering their questions on the phone?

I know I wouldn't, yes I know that email also means that you will get a lot of time wasters, those wouldn't contact you if they had to pay for a phone call, but are more than happy to waste your time seeing as they were sitting at the PC, and had nothing better to do anyway!

Of course this is why email is regarded by so many in business as a low response form of customer service. They feel that if you are serious you will call, not email, so emails get put at the back of the line, and then in a lot of cases, ignored completely.

It's business, can't make every inquiry a sale, but responding to a customer,s inquiry promptly, informatively and courteously, whether it be over a counter, over the phone or by email, will always give you a much better chance of making a sale either then, or in the future.

It's funny, in my business I often get a thank you so much for the quick response when I service an email inside, what I consider to be appropriate, and that's a 24 hour window, but much sooner if possible for me.

I used to think people were just being nice, but when you experience that lack of response that some companies provide, I think they are just grateful that some actually took the time to respond at all!

Don't treat you emails like a trip to the dentist, you should be thanking customers for using the email and saving you the time from sitting on the phone all day and getting no work done at all!

Mark (fudjj)

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  • Karma:
16 Jan 10 10:35:05 pm
great post, i almost always have an ebay page open when im online just for that reason. i know what its like to ask sellers questions and get a response a couple hours after the bidding has ended.
having good customer service skills will bring more sales and higher bids

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  • Karma:
17 Jan 10 11:48:39 pm
Great post, John! Thanks.

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  • Karma:
26 Mar 10 05:03:32 am
Good posts, Everyone must remember who your talking to or what country you are working with. Each country has different cultural ways of doing business and communications. I know, every day I am online I have to keep reminding myself "patience and understanding". Here is an excerpt from one of my suppliers instructional pages.

Never get angry when dealing with Chinese people.

Many times you will want to because, yes, we can be quite annoying - sometimes on purpose. ;)

But if you lose your temper you will get nowhere. Never become rude in an email or abusive on the phone. That would be the end of your communications with that Chinese person, and in business you can't afford to go around insulting people, wherever you are.
Chinese people don't always say what they're thinking.

In fact, we hardly ever say what we're thinking. Western people often stress out when dealing with Chinese because they think the Chinese people are lying to them or holding back the truth. But it's just a different cultural style of communication: not always getting all the information openly stated is just the normal style in China.

A brash style of "let's lay it on the line... let's not beat about the bush... let's cut to the chase... let's get straight to the point" etc that we hear from American business visitors unfortunately does not go down well in a Chinese communication style, where we prefer things more understated. Basic information sometimes takes a while to come out in the open.
When negotiating prices you must aim for a non-confrontational style.

If you accuse people of trying to rip you off, or demand better prices for yourself, you are setting up a conflict feeling in the communication. It won't get a successful result, even if you are half joking trying to barter in a strong way.

The Chinese way is to suggest and offer concessions and variations and everything is presented as a possibility for consideration, not a set of demands. Make sure every deal you are discussing is a win-win situation.
Don't enter negotiations in an arrogant-sounding way, or present yourself at the beginning of your relationship as bigger than you are. Boastfulness will just make your Chinese contacts suspicious of you.
If you are polite, generous, helpful, and friendly when you deal with Chinese people, you will get much more than expected in return.

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  • Karma:
27 Mar 10 09:50:47 pm
That excerpt is wonderful, it encompasses everything everyone needs to know when doing business in China.

I really enjoyed reading that, took me longer than the few minutes it took me to read that, to actually learn those lessons that were laid out, and those lessons are gold!

Absolute best way to do business in China is face to face, to the Chinese that shows respect, and respect is what they build a business relationship on. Sure, everyone can't all go to China and business face to face, but we can all be mindful of the cultural differences between countries and make doing business internationally a lot lot easier.

Nice post!

Mark (fudjj)

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  • Karma:
28 Mar 10 02:38:37 am
The chinese have great customer service.Unlike what I have gotten in the usa.

Selling for 4 years


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