We all know that customer service is one of the most critical functions of your business. Without showing your customers that you support them and hear their needs, you risk losing your credibility as a business. 2020 has confirmed what we've known all along: the importance of upkeeping your online business and how it can help keep you afloat when you can't be face to face with your customers. Customer service comes in many shapes and forms and should not be ignored, especially when it comes to your virtual business. So how can you make sure you're maintaining good customer service online? Keep reading to find out.
Customer service can often be the reason customers choose to come back to you time and time again. As consumers, we like to feel as if we matter and that we are well taken care of when choosing to give a company our business. 33% of Americans reported that they would consider switching companies after just one poor customer service experience. According to Ruby Newell-Legner’s “Understanding Customers,” it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for 1 unresolved negative one. That leaves almost no room for mistakes. Now more than ever, it is essential to demonstrate excellent customer service, especially from your online business.
When online, your margin for error becomes much smaller than if you were operating face to face. Unfortunately, customers’ ability to simply click to another website is more accessible than most of us would prefer. If they aren’t pleased with the information they are finding or find poor customer service, they can easily click away and go elsewhere. Maintaining that high level of customer service online helps bring customers in and retain them. Customers want to feel as if they matter, and setting up your business to better serve them online is the first step to having excellent online customer service.
Start with your website. Ask yourself, “Does my website answer any questions that customers may have, and if not, is there a place where they can ask those questions and get a timely response?” Setting up a FAQ page on your website is an excellent way to position your site so that your customers’ questions are answered without them ever having to go that extra step to ask. Another great way of letting your customers know that you are ready to help them is through a Contact Us page. Contact pages allow customers to ask questions in depth without having to call. It is important to remember to reply to these questions as quickly as possible, preferably in less than 48 hours.
Social media is a fantastic tool outside of your website to help you maintain phenomenal online customer service. In fact, it’s changed the customer service game drastically. In a recent study, 1 in 3 customers preferred social media customer service over phone or email. This means that whether we like it or not, customers turn to social media over any other outlet that could provide online help. Thankfully, there is an easy way to adapt to the ever-changing ways of handling customer service. Maintaining a highly interactive social media presence allows your customers to know that you are there and ready to help them. On average, customers spend 20-40% more with companies that engage with them on social media. That means that this small investment can have a tremendous return.
Engaging with your customers on social media doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to sit and obsess about every little detail of your social media. However, it does mean that responding to comments and DMs in a timely manner is extremely important to your customer service success. If you start to find that the same questions are being asked repeatedly, you may try answering these questions within the content of your posts or by creating an FAQ highlight on your Instagram profile so that customers can easily find the information they’re looking for.
Overall, having great virtual customer service is not hard. It requires a little extra TLC, but if you remember to keep your customers’ needs in mind at all times and make them a priority, it can create a positive experience even when you may not be able to win them over face to face.
Mary Vasek is a Marketing Specialist and writer for Atwill Media. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a Minor in Business Management.
When not working, she enjoys spending quality time with friends, attending music events, and hiking.