Having worked in retail for the first few years of my “professional” working life, it was always hammered home to me how important customer service was. “Smile genuinely”, “be helpful”, “offer the best possible service you can to each person who walks through the doors”. As cliched as some of the advice I’ve been given sometimes sounded, I always tried to take it on board, as I believe that having a great experience with a brand you’re interacting with really has the power to transform someone’s afternoon for the better.
Nowadays, when I’m working with brands who primarily function online, I still think it’s incredibly important to offer great customer service, as a positive interaction with a brand will always ensure that a customer is more likely to come back in the future, which is in itself a fantastic marketing win. It sounds like a no-brainer, but unfortunately, I still see so many brands completely and utterly failing in the customer service area of their business when it’s actually the easiest thing to get right. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind when you’re thinking about how to best serve your customers.
Social channels are the easiest way to offer someone a positive experience with your brand
Social media represents one of the easiest opportunities to offer great service to both your existing and potential customers. It is not hard to respond to a customer enquiry in a timely fashion, even if it’s just to direct them to an existing resource on your website, a phone number, or another way that they can get in touch with you for more information. Less than 24 hours on a business day, or first thing on a Monday if a message is received on a weekend is the goal here. If you’ve set up a social page, it’s you or someone at your business’ responsibility to check it frequently. If you’re not convinced on how important this is, Facebook is right now in the process of rolling out a new feature which lets a user know how responsive a business page is to messages it receives. Just this morning I spotted it on the fan page of a DJ collective my friend is a part of – A clear sign that brands will need to start to pick up their act if they’re going to become a trusted and successful online.
Surprise and delight tactics can work wonders – As can having an actual brand personality
PhotoJojo has been one of my favourite stores to buy camera gear from for years now. Does its website have a flawless navigation system, with all of its products organised into logical categories? No. Does it have the best prices on all of its products? Not always, no. Does it have the full range of everything ever made by Canon, Nikon and all other camera brands in existence? No. So why do I frequently buy from them over other online retailers of camera gear? You guessed it – Customer. Service. It’s important to note though that their customer service begins right on the site, before you’ve even bought anything. Their helpful, funny and practical reviews give the brand its playful personality, and helps their customers much more than a copied-and-pasted manufacturer-provided description ever will. Of course, when you do actually buy something from them, they give people a pleasant surprise by including a rare breed of stow-away-saurus in every parcel – Something that’s become a much loved quirk amongst the brand’s fans.
Use the power of reviews
Great customer service is more likely to yield great customer reviews, and great customer reviews yield – you guessed it – more customers. 72% of people say reading a positive customer review increases their trust in a business, and unfortunately, it’s the one bad review that will always stick out like a sore thumb on your brand’s social page or Google+ profile. While it’s inevitable that there are the occasional customers that for some reason or another, have just been rubbed the wrong way by your service or product, be sure that you do encourage the happy customers to leave reviews. Check out this great KISSmetrics post on creative ways to get more customer reviews.
How does your business offer excellent customer service , whether you operate purely online, or in the real world as well?