Good customer service features extremely highly on my list of important criteria when it comes to running a business.
I believe that it’s something each and every one of us really appreciates when we encounter it – and it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling on eBay, Amazon, eBid, Etsy, your own website or any other online ecommerce venue – good customer service principles apply absolutely everywhere.
What’s more, good customer service isn’t even particularly difficult to implement! It’s actually a bit of a no-brainer if you ask me.
All you have to do is be efficient, polite, honest and interested. Do this and you can use your customer service skills to rapidly increase your positive feedback as well as ensuring your customers return to your store in future.
So, with this in mind, here are three very simple steps you can follow every time you make a sale online. It will do wonders for keeping your customers happy.
1. Dispatch orders fast!
Pretty obvious really, but I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s nothing worse than waiting absolutely ages to receive something that you really, really want!
We are unfortunately a nation of impatient people and, whilst your customers actually do understand that they may need to be a little bit patient whilst they wait for their order, this often goes out the window when parcels seem to take forever to arrive.
So, as far as you can, you should try and make that waiting process as short as possible for your customers.
Now, I realise that daily trips to the post office might not be the easiest option for you, but quick dispatch really is important to help you generate positive feedback. If you don’t dispatch fast, you can be sure your competitors will, and it’s important to stay ahead of the game. A speedy turnaround will put a smile on your customers faces and prompt positive feedback.
It’s vital too that you do let your customer know when their order has been dispatched. Make sure you update them as soon as you have dispatched the order so that your customer knows their parcel is on its way.
If there is one thing that makes waiting for a parcel worse, it’s waiting for it and not knowing if it’s actually been dispatched! Communication is easy so make sure you stay in touch with your customers.
2. Prioritise ALL customer service
Posting items superfast is one way to prioritise customer service within your online business, but there are other things that you can do to make your buyers feel really appreciated and this is primarily linked to communication.
If a prospective buyer asks you a question about your product, don’t wait for a week before responding; don’t even wait 3 days. You should answer as soon as possible providing as accurate a response as you can – preferably within 24 hours. It could mean the difference between that person purchasing from you – or your competitor.
Staying in touch with your customers throughout the whole buying process is important and you should make sure that all of your communications are polite, to the point and free from errors. People don’t want to wade through a long winded message filled with grammatical and spelling mistakes that make it hard to understand what you are actually saying.
Ok, so this one might sound obvious, but another way to prioritise customer service within your business is to make a commitment to always be honest. It’s easy to tell a little white lie here and there about the quality of the item you’re selling or about what’s included within the package. But please don’t be tempted – it’s just not worth it!
You don’t need to go baring your soul to every customer, but letting them know for example that an item has a small scratch on it or the packaging is damaged is far better than not mentioning it at all – and will avoid possible problems further into the process. You can always frame a negative comment in a positive light to avoid putting someone off an item, for example:
“This item comes in its original packaging. The packaging is slightly damaged, however the item itself has been thoroughly checked and is in perfect condition”
From this simple paragraph a buyer can tell that you’re an honest seller. You’ve made them aware of the damaged packaging, so now they can feel confident that you are to be trusted and pay attention to detail.
3. Go the extra mile
A friend of mine once ordered some mini table games from an eBay seller. They were for children and guests to play during her wedding reception. She’d messaged the seller, asking for the size of the games to know if they’d be appropriate for the setting and had mentioned their use at her wedding.
She was incredibly touched to receive a handwritten note and a card contained within her order wishing her all the best for her wedding and her future married life, along with a thank you for the purchase.
This is such a simple gesture, and yet it made all the difference. My friend will almost certainly return to the seller should she ever need something similar. In fact, she’s become a bit of a vocal advocate of the seller, passing on her recommendation whenever anyone is looking for something that they might stock!
Little gestures really do go a long way!
If you are selling products aimed at women, when you package up the order, wrap it in pretty tissue paper within the mailing bag. Not only does it show that you care about the item and the customer, it’s also another little trick to encourage positive feedback. Not to mention the fact that a little something like this can make an otherwise ordinary product appear special!
In a world where we often don’t need to communicate with real people anymore, a small handwritten note expressing your thanks for the order can bring a smile to the face of your buyers. It’s always nice knowing that you’re dealing with a real person, and that personal touch can really help to increase the chances of receiving positive feedback.
So, going the extra mile in your own business could involve these extra little personal touches, or it might simply mean ensuring that your products are packaged safely and securely.
It could mean making a trip to the post office every day even though it’s out of your way, or it could mean answering some emails during the evenings to make sure that none of your buyers need to wait a long time for a response to their question.
I’m sure you get the idea. This is a practice that I have always stuck to and believe me it works.
Work out what it means to go the extra mile in your business and your customers will always be happy – particularly with the festive season and an increase in orders just around the corner!
Positive feedback is so important, so putting your customers first will benefit them in that they’ll receive a great service – and benefit you in that you’ll receive great feedback, recommendations and repeat business. It can be a win-win situation!