Studies have shown it's easier to convert an existing customer than acquire new ones. One important avenue to maintain in your quest to grow a loyal repeat customer base is your customer service. When a consumer has a positive experience with your customer service team, you can win over a customer for life. Here are a few tips for improving your customer service and building a client base of returning customers.
- Call to Chat
Despite today’s technologically advanced culture, many customers still want to speak with a live person when making customer service inquiries. For those times when you simply cannot answer the phone, having a professional, yet personable voicemail message will do. You still communicate that there are real people that will be handling calls.
The Connection reports that “having a prominently displayed phone number can increase customer trust even among customers who never call, which can increase sales.” By having a visible number, your business will be perceived as reliable and trustworthy, prompting visitors to make a purchase. Be sure that your phone number is visible and that you have a clear ‘contact us’ page.
- Keep your Word
Do not make promises you cannot keep. If you promise specific ship dates, keep them. Broken promises annoy customers and could deter them from shopping with you again, especially if their issue stemmed from shipping errors. To keep customers loyal, keep your promises, or do not make any at all. Consider offering expedited shipping to get your product in the hands of your consumers even quicker
Also, in your company bio, if you state the timeframe as to when you expect to respond to customers – especially via phone & email –meet those set expectations. Be sure to collect data and actively review these reports on a monthly basis to ensure your staffed appropriately to meet demand.
- Listen & Respond to Customers
Though it can be frustrating, it is crucial that customer complaints are handled. Respond to complaints in a timely manner – for emails a benchmark should be within 24 business hours. For calls, you should strive to minimize hold time to keep the process moving and avoid further agitating consumers.
This reassures the customer that you are actively listening and that their opinion matters. It is also important that beyond emails and website comments, you pay attention to the feedback your social media channels are receiving. Giving your company a voice and paying attention to your customers is a great way to build a positive identity and good customer service.
- Remedy the Issue
Put the needs of your customers before profits. If a customer reaches out to you about a damaged product, or lost a piece to a recent purchase, replace it for them free of charge. Based on other complaints, offering a coupon, free gift or expedited shipping should all be considered as solutions. Not only will an act of generosity increase the chance of a returning customer, it is likely the customer will repeat their story of excellent customer service. Word-of-mouth is a successful marketing tool, and you can potentially bring in new customers from it.
- Have a Robust FAQ Page
Give prospective customers a wealth of resources. By offering an in-depth FAQ page, you can answer many of your customers’ questions without the need for them to call you. By providing answers to frequently asked questions, you free up your phone lines and establish a sense of credibility. By providing answers to basic shipping questions and return policies, customers can place orders with a sense of security and know exactly what to expect in terms of their order.
- Have Detailed Products
Help your potential customers feel confident in their purchases by providing high quality images and detailed product descriptions. A disadvantage to eCommerce is a customer’s inability to see and experience a product in person. Give them the next best thing by including multiple pictures that can be enlarged and an in-depth description of key features, size, materials, etc.
- Live Chat
According to Sales Force, “77% of customers agreed that online chat positively influenced their attitude about the retailer.” Offering a live chat capability gives customers the chance to have an immediate response to their question(s) without calling. Live chat responses can be sent faster than email.
Another feature to using live chat is you can set the chat window to pop up onscreen if a customer has been on one page for a specific amount of time. Much like a salesperson will approach a seemingly “lost” customer; your live chat window can offer instant assistance to a customer that may be in need of help.
- Offer Surveys for Feedback
Offering an optional survey is mutually beneficial for both you and the customer. Surveys give customers a chance to express themselves in a more anonymous way than through social media or posting a review on your website. Surveys also collect valuable data and can help identify where your store’s strengths and weaknesses lie. To promote participation and prompt return shoppers, offer a coupon to customers that take the time to fill out the survey.
It is important to put the needs of the customers first to establish a positive relationship. Once this relationship is established, customers will return to shop and recommend doing business with you to their friends, family, and colleagues. By following these 8 simple tips, you can give your customers excellent customer service.