Dont let poor customer service kill your business
Don’t let Poor Customer Service Kill Your Business
One of the quickest ways to kill your internet business, or any business for that matter, is to offer poor customer service. When people take the time to complain about some part of your product or service they will have been stewing away for a while before they decided to contact you. If they can't get hold of your or you don't respond to their communication, you'll end up with a very angry customer. When that angry customer has had enough and decides to let the world know about your terrible product they'll attract attention like bees to a honey pot.
The last thing you want for your business is bad press. Bad news spreads quicker than good news... People love to have something to gripe about and if that gripe is about your product, you're going to loose sales very quickly.
Before you can decide on a good customer service system, you need to be absolutely certain your product is top quality and will exceed your customer’s expectations. Once you are sure of your product you can be fairly certain that customer service issues will be related to:
- Payment problems.
- The customer purchased the wrong product.
- Installation issues for software products.
- Setup problems for a web service.
- Delivery problems for a physical product.
You need to decide on some basic ground rules for your customer service department. For example:
- Will you handle all customer service issues yourself, or will you hire somebody to do it for you?
- How quickly will you reply? If it is going to be longer than a few hours, you need to send an immediate email acknowledging the issue and stating that you will reply within 12, 24 or 48 hours, what ever you decide on.
Next you need to decide on the actual method you will use to receive and reply to customer service issues. The three most popular customer support systems are:
1) Normal Email.
As part of your website you could have a web page with your contact details and simply state your email address as one of the methods to get hold of you.
Bear in mind that email harvesting programs will get your email address and over time you will be inundated with spam. To get around this you could use a small graphic which contains your email address, or you could display it in this format: "me [AT] mywesite.com" with a note to your customers to replace [AT] with @.
Another point to consider is using a unique email address for customer service issues. You don't want to mix this email with any other accounts, keep it separate so you can keep track of it.
2) Feedback scripts.
There are simple feedback scripts which are freely available online and which allow your customers to contact you without you having to display an email address anywhere on your website. Your email address will not even be embedded in hidden form fields or other HTML tags.
These scripts allow you to use a form on a contact page into which your customer can enter their contact details and the nature of their customer service issue. The script will then email these details to your email address.
While these scripts are more secure than leaving your email address visible on a web page, they don't offer a means of tracking support issues.
3) Help Desk scripts.
By far the most professional method of providing effective customer support is to use a help desk system. Your customer will have to open an account before they can log a support request which eliminates most non-genuine support issues. After opening an account, they can log a support issue which is automatically given a unique identification and the details stored in a database. The customer is immediately sent an email explaining that their support issue has been logged and they can expect a reply in 12, 24, or 48 hours, or whatever time span you set.
The beauty of a help desk support system is that even if your email fails for some reason, you won't miss any support requests. All you have to do is login to your support desk administration panel and all the unanswered support requests received will be displayed. Your task is then to answer each support issue and the system will automatically mark the issue as closed.
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