In this modern age, we have so many opportunities to provide customers with top-notch service. But sadly some companies seem to have failed to embrace the developments available to them.
If you provide any kind of online service, you should provide easy to access online communication tools to your users.
In a perfect world, of course, there would be no problems and your customers would never need to contact you. But this is not a perfect world – mistakes happen. What’s important to your customers is how you deal with those mistakes. And the first thing they’re going to want to do is tell you about their issue. If you don’t make that easy for them, you’ve already failed.
Make the options clear!
All sites should have a clear ‘Contact Us’ link at the very least, and that link should take you to a page detailing the methods for getting in touch.
So what options should you offer the user?
Personally I think Live Chat is a must for any medium to large company providing an online service. It’s what users are beginning to expect as it’s being offered by some high-profile services.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress site there are many different widgets available to you for Live Chat. Try this search to see the options. If you are on WordPress.com you might want to try tlk-io as there is support for widgets and shortcodes so you can add this to your pages. I’ve got one of these widgets over on the right in my side bar if you want a look.
If you don’t think you can manage Live Chat, you’re going to need to offer an alternative online option like a contact form. You can add a contact form really easily on WordPress.com (see information on their support site) and there are many contact form plugins for self-hosted WordPress. I’ve got a contact form here on my about page as an example.
Traditional contact means should also be made available – your business phone number perhaps, and certainly a postal address should be accessible on your site too.
None of this is going to be any good if there isn’t a human at the other end of the chat or form… It’s no good for the customer if their query disappears into a black hole and is never answered.
If you are offering a service you must also offer customer service.
Customers will return if they feel they are getting good service from you. This includes the service they get when things go wrong. If a customer has a problem they first need to contact you – if you make that easy you’re off to a good start – but then your response is key.
An automated response may be useful as a ‘message received’ note for contact forms and emails, but it must be followed up as soon as possible with a human response, doing your best to sort out the problem. Don’t forget to apologise if necessary and empathise with the customer. Remember experiences you’ve had as a customer. Simply, be nice! Go the extra mile if you are able to.
A good customer service experience can be the difference between keeping a customer and losing them for ever.
There’s always a but isn’t there?!
All this is great, but what if it’s just you, selling your products online? You can’t offer a 24/7 chat service, you can’t man telephone helplines all on your own!
You can still offer good customer service though. Make it clear on your site that you have limited resource, make a contact form clearly available, and then work methodically through any messages you get as quickly as you are able. Don’t offer more options than you can realistically keep up with and you’ll be fine 🙂
However large or small your company is, you’re going to need to keep track of what’s going on. Whether it’s by using a simple flagging system in your email program, or by purchasing CRM or help desk management software, you’ll need to keep things organised.
So I’d say the key things to remember are:
- Make sure you offer easy to use, easily accessible online communication methods.
- Reply as quickly as you are able to, with a human touch.
- Keep organised!