In the digital age, good customer service has become more important than ever. Although most online store proprietors don’t interact with customers on a face-to-face basis, adopting a laid-back approach to queries, concerns and complaints can have far-reaching consequences. In many cases, consumers who feel that they’ve been treated unfairly won’t hesitate to malign businesses on popular social media outlets and consumer protection websites. All it takes is single bad review going viral for an online business to go bust, so if customer service isn’t among your foremost priorities, there’s no time like the present to change that. When interacting with customers, online store proprietors would be wise to utilize the following pointers.
Lack of in-person interaction is one of the biggest differences between running an online business and a brick-and-mortar establishment. When a customer isn’t standing right in front of you, it’s easy to ignore questions and complaints and toss them aside for another day. However, while this may provide you with short-term satisfaction, it’s liable to create big problems down the line. If your store develops a reputation for shrugging off customer complaints, you’re practically guaranteed to see a downtick in business. That being the case, it’s in your best interest to respond to all customer correspondences in a timely manner. Allowing e-mails, social media messages and other communiqués to sit for more than 24 hours sends the message that your customers aren’t important – and this is not a message that any business should want to send.
- Openness to Suggestions
Being open to customer feedback is a great way to show your regulars that their voices are truly being heard. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should indiscriminately take every piece of advice you’re offered, but keeping an open mind is sure to serve you well. For example, whenever a customer suggests functional changes to your store’s layout or online shopping cart software, you’d do well to consider it. The more personally connected your customers feel to your store, the more likely they are to reward you with repeat business.
- Willingness to Back Down
When working in any type of customer service capacity, it’s imperative that one be willing to choose their battles. Losing your cool with a customer is always ill-advised, regardless of how disagreeable that customer happens to be. Even if a customer is quite obviously in the wrong, it’s often better to give them what they want than risk blowing up at them and incurring the consequences. Because online retail lacks the face-to-face interaction of traditional retail, the temptation to fire off a nasty email or social media reply can be overwhelming – but not giving into this temptation can save you a number of headaches down the line.
Good customer service should be a priority for any online business owner. Regardless of what area of interest your store caters to, courtesy and responsiveness are sure to go a long way. While it may sometimes be tempting to put customer concerns on the backburner, doing so can quickly result in undesirable consequences. Being quick-to-respond, open-minded and willing to choose your battles will keep customers coming back and help ensure your store’s long-term viability.