Best Customer ServiceThere is sometimes a disparity in how we present ourselves offline and online in business.  It can be hard to translate everything you do offline into the online world but it is a goal worth striving for. As people continue to engage more with businesses online it is very important that you have the very best customer service.  Below are some quick tips to consider to improve customer service online.

1) Be transparent

People do business with people they know, like, and trust.  You can’t build relationships if you are not up front with who you are.  The first thing I do whenever I visit a business website is I look for their contact information.  Make sure you make it easy for people to contact you.  The most important items to have consistently across your site are business location, email, and phone number. Customers should also be able to easily understand who you are and what you do.  Bonus points if you post a picture of yourself and your staff with a description of what everyone does for the actual business. For a mobile site, make sure that your business locations are clickable to be mapped and that your business number is clickable so that people can call you easier.

2) Obsess over speed

Are you often frustrated with companies that put you on hold for 40 minutes?  If you don’t like companies that do that to you then you shouldn’t do it to your customers either.  The best way to improve customer service is to simply speed everything up that relates to the customer.

If you have phone support, reduce the wait time or perhaps even consider removing the automated answering machines. People like to talk to humans not a robot. There are way too many companies with complicated dead end phone trees. Set yourself apart by having the quickest time to connect your customers to your staff.

If you have email support, make sure they get answered as quickly as possible. As business owners, it is very easy to be distracted by emails that don’t really pertain to your business. Set up a separate support email address just for customer issues and have it auto-forwarded as important to your main email address. You can’t imagine how delighted customers feel when they get an answer to their questions within the same hour.

Consider implementing a live chat feature on your website. If resources allow, having a live chat feature is a great way to improve customer service. I like live chat because I can usually get a simple question answered quickly and be on my merry way to finish what I had set out to do on the website.

3) Go above and beyond

As a business, you should always position yourself as the leader in your industry. The majority of your customers may just be browsing, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Provide guidance or helpful tips to educate your customers on your services and products. Having a company blog is a great way to connect with your customers and build that trust.  If you’re looking for some business blogging tips, check out our posts on business blogging.

We’re humans and sometimes we make mistakes. Own up to your mistakes when dealing with customers.  Customers expect to get what they pay for, and when they don’t, make sure you correct it. If you make that extra effort, you will not only turn a negative into a positive, but you can turn unhappy customers into supportive fans. Don’t make the mistake of treating customer service as an afterthought. If you approach customer service as part of your marketing strategy, you not only gain a different perspective but you will create loyal customers who continue doing business with you.