6 Tips for Providing the Best Online Customer Service

By on March 6, 2013

Businesses exist first and foremost to serve their customers; if they do not fulfill that obligation, then nothing else really matters. This is as true for the online business as it is for the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar business. We should say, especially so, since the portion of shopping that people do online as against in real time is rapidly increasing, with the result that every company has a website. And since the customer does not see the provider face to face, they are more eager for help with their questions than they would otherwise be. All this means that a business must devote the larger part of its activity to maintaining customer service. In this article, six ways of providing the best customer service will be discussed.

1) Make the link to the customer service section easy to locate.
Visitors to your site should have no trouble finding where to go when they need help with something. Therefore, put the link to that page someplace where the customer can see it instantly. If it is at the bottom of the page, then it should at least be on a line with similar links—that is the format that most companies use. At the art supply store site Dickblick, for instance, customer service is at the bottom, between catalog and careers.

2) Give as many contact routes as possible.

The customer should be able to solve his problems in more than way. Typing in questions and finding a list of possible answers, reading the FAQ list, sending an email describing his difficulty and—best of all—talking about his problems to a customer service representative in person through live chat (this will be discussed separately below) or over the phone are the options that should all be available to the individual who wishes to make use of them.

Going online for customer support should always be an option. The customer should never have to call the company on the phone in order to get down to the bottom of his problem.

3) Make the live chat experience a pleasant one.

We mentioned live chat above among the many channels that the customer should be able to use. In this section we shall discuss it in greater depth, since it is one of the best ways of interacting with customers.

The first thing that you do is greet the client in a friendly way, saying something like “Hello, this is (name), may I help you?” Take the initiative and ask the customers questions, rather than waiting for him to tell you. If possible, take him on a walk through, giving suggestions to follow and then ask him if the situation improved. If yes, then say something like “Glad we could be of service to you. Is there anything we can help you with?” Always let the customer do the signing off. And never leave him hanging for long periods of time.

Live chat interactions are continually monitored by outsiders for quality assurance, and if those who do the monitoring are not impressed with what they see they will give you a bad score—which will adversely affect your business reputation. Therefore, you should be on your best behavior when chatting with customers.

Incidentally, I have helped my mother with many of her computer problems through live chat. It was a long and arduous process, but it was worth it because the difficulties did get resolved.

4) Look at other businesses. 

Visit the websites of businesses that have built up a solid reputation to see how they deal with customers’ issues. There are millions of successful businesses on the internet and many of them were inspired by successful business before them as well, so emulating a fellow company’s marketing plan (without outright copying) is a great way to develop your own business’ customer service.

5) “Go the extra mile.” 

Customers are pleased with those who act “above and beyond the call of duty,” because it makes them feel special and valued, and it leaves a lasting impression, and those are two core aspects of a truly great customer service experience. Strive to teach your employees how to cultivate this sort of experience for customers as a business standard, and you’ll already be way ahead of many businesses today.

6) Improve your website’s other operations.
All company activities are connected, directly or indirectly, with the customers. Customer service, therefore, should not be viewed in isolation, but as being integrated with the whole picture.

Customer satisfaction should always be at the front of the minds of all those who work for any company, for, as the old adage goes, “the customer is always right.” Poor customer support simply drives people away.

Author Bio: Callie Cohane works with customer interaction management from nice.com to ensure that business is always running smoothly for everyone involved!

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