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This is where your advantage as a small company comes into play. While you may not enjoy volume of these sites, you can create a higher percentage of repeat visitors/buyers with superior CS. Generally, when you hear people talk about improving CS, you hear things like: "make yourself available" and "give good contact information." This is true, but it goes beyond that. What people really want is speed. People want their questions answered now. People want their CS issue resolved in a hurry. Providing a phone number is a must, but chances are, people don't want to go off-line and call you for answers to their questions unless it is a last resort. In e-world, people want an i-response: Immediate, internet response.
Of course, you can't be everywhere at once. Managing a small business or website is already a full-time job. But making CS a focal point of your website can pay immense dividends for your traffic and or profit. Think of it this way, if you can respond to a customer's question within 24 hours, you are beating about 50% of large e-companies already. If you can respond within 12 hours, I would estimate that you would be beating somewhere around 80%. If you can respond within 6 hours, you are providing customer service that most e-commerce giants only dream about.
A quick list of ways to improve your customer service:
1. Speed: We all know as customers, that few things are more valuable to us than time. Standing in line is no fun at supermarket, and waiting for a response from a CS center is no fun either. 2. Contact information: Make it easy to find. Make it an address that you or an employee checks on a regular basis. Don't make customer work to find you. 3. Live chat: Offer your customers opportunity to use instant messaging software to contact you. MSN Messenger and ICQ are two widely used formats that work on almost all platforms, and it's 100% free. 4. F.A.Q and search options: Make them thorough. Not all sites need F.A.Q (frequently asked questions) pages, but if your site does, then make it thorough and easy to understand. If your site has an search box, be sure that it gives adequate results. Test it out. It's surprising how many high-profile websites have inadequate in-site search functions. 5. Customer is always right: We all know that this is bull, but, old adage still stands test of time. Whether or not customer is "right," our job as CS managers is to put out fires. Quick, pleasant responses to even most irate customers will almost always cool situation. In fact, an efficient CS agent can turn even most irate customer into a loyal customer
Take work out of it for your visitors. Encourage them to ask questions and reward them with quick, friendly responses. Your customers and visitors are most important asset you have. Make them feel that way.
Bryan Marye, IMR http://www.imr-central.com Receive articles like this every week free, by signing up for the IMR Resourceletter: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?SubscribeA