Building Remarkable Customer Service for a Small Online Shop
Have you ever wondered how it would be possible for you, a small online shop owner, to compete with the giants of online e-commerce? The answer is simple: customer service. On a small scale, it is much easier to be personal with your customers and go above and beyond what is expected. You have the ability to make a customer feel truly appreciated. Taking advantage of that ability may be the single most effective profit boost you’ll ever get as a small online shop.
Build the remarkable customer service
These are just a few of the steps you’ll need to take to build remarkable customer service in your business:
No matter what business you are in or what demographic of customers you serve, they’re all on social media. If your business isn’t, then it should be. The majority of large retailers all engage in social media interactions with their customers, so it is important to differentiate the service you provide from theirs.
The key is to be completely personal. Don’t act like a business with every post you make. Drop the idea that the photos you upload, videos you share, and news events you comment on all need to result in a sale. Your goal is to provide useful or entertaining content the customer will appreciate.
Remember, social media is not about you or your business. To each customer, it’s about them and their life. Customers that like what you post will interact with you. Once you are interacting with customers, you’ve become a part of their lives. Sales will come naturally once you’ve established a relationship with your potential customers.
Specifically, “listen” to conversations on social media networks. Most often, the goal of social media networking is to gain followers, friends, fans, and promote your business to them. People often neglect one important avenue of customer support. Listen to what people are saying about you.
You may not realize it, but many major retailers are now employing social media professionals to respond and respond quickly when their name is mentioned on a social network. You should ideally check often (every few hours) to see if your business has been mentioned on any of the major social networks.
By reaching out to customers posting positive or negative comments on their social network pages, you will provide that “wow” experience the customer is looking for. They want to know you are listening, and they want to know you care. Make sure you don’t just join in on the conversation to defend your business. Be a problem solver and resolve the issue as quickly and publicly as possible. If you need to discuss personal or identifying information about the person, always remember to take the conversation to a private message.
3. Be Honest
This may seem obvious, but this is where the major retailer and you can part ways. Big box retailers are hesitant to ever admit fault or take blame. They will often apologize for an experience and offer a condolence, but never fully take responsibility.
To deliver above and beyond support, admit when you’re wrong and do it publicly. We all make mistakes as humans, whether you are a human running a business or not. People will appreciate your honesty, and it will build a reputation for your company as always taking a stand for what is right.
Once you’ve developed a customer base, go out of your way to help them. This goes far beyond helping them select the right product that you offer or helping them track their shipment. Help them with any and everything you reasonably can.
Always look for secondary issues. By that, I mean when someone contacts you with a praise or an issue, they will often say more than just what their concern is with your company. For example, if a customer posts on Facebook “I placed an order at your company last week and it still isn’t here! If my dial up service wasn’t so slow I might be able to actually track the package”. Here, they’ve introduced several problems:
Their order is later than they feel it should be.
They can’t check the status.
Their Internet is too slow.
The first problem needs to be investigated. You may not only be at fault, but you may be impacting other customers with this same issue. The second problem they are having isn’t your fault, but it’s something you can help with. Contact them immediately and let them know the status of their order. Don’t just tell them the day you shipped it and tracking number. Check with the carrier before you talk to them and find out exactly where it is and when it will arrive. The third problem has nothing to do with you, but you can try to help anyway. Do a quick search for free programs that speed up dial up service by delivering low resolution images in exchange for faster load speeds. They may appreciate that more than anything else you help them with. Think outside of the box and do everything you can to help.
The bottom line is that you need to differentiate yourself from the big retailers that are attempting to capitalize on the customer experience. Learn from what they do well. Find out what they aren’t able to do well due to being so large and capitalize on that hole in the customer service market. Individual and personalized customer service is the one major advantage that small online shops have over the established giants. Take advantage of this and make sure you aren’t just giving “regular” support to your customers. Blow them away with amazing service every time.
If you are looking for create your own online store, signup at Jooy.com to get started today.
Photo credit – Chelsea Gabriel