In the world of business the phrase, “the customer is number one” wasn’t just something people said, it was something people did. The true key to running a successful business is to figure out new ways to increase and improve customer service as a means of making your customers happy. Happy customers buy things. Happy customers come back and buy more things. Really happy customers tell all their friends about your business and the things you do to make them so happy.
E-commerce isn’t any different from any other business model in this regard. In fact, due to the nature of the Internet and the way people use it to constantly communicate and share experiences with others, it is even more important to create an excellent customer experience and provide top-notch customer service. This article will focus on some of the methods and ideas behind providing gold standard services and support to your customers as a means of keeping them happy and creating a positive reputation for your business within the online community.
Literally 5 seconds after having a fantastic experience your customers can be out tweeting and posting comments to their friends about your business. Having confidence in your customer service, products and support helps you to implement ways to give your customers quick access to their social media accounts through icons, buttons and invitations to “tweet this” right on your web page. Business owners who aren’t confident in their customer relationships should probably not include links to social media.
Social media is beneficial in many ways. It helps you to communicate with your customers and build a relationship with them. It also gives you an opportunity to promote specials, discounts and new product offerings, while giving your customers a way to provide feedback to you about their experiences. The more communication you can encourage – the better. Create accounts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other media site that will help you to reach your customers and establish a solid presence on each social media network, checking for messages daily, replying when needed and posting fresh information at least once a day.
Discounts and Coupons
One way to increase customer loyalty and return purchase visits is to offer discounts and coupons to your customers. The discounts don’t have to be huge, in fact they can be as small as offering “free shipping” on purchases of $50 or a straight-up 10% discount off all purchases within a limited amount of time. You can send invitations to participate in these deals direct to your customers via email marketing programs or as ads within the admin or shopping cart areas of their accounts. Experiment with different methods until you find what works best for your customer base.
Discounts and coupons can be the deciding factor for a customer that is weighing the decision of making a purchase. Some companies will even send out “abandoned shopping cart” emails that offer a discount on the items the customer selected by never actually purchased. Chances are the customer is still thinking about the items they put in their cart, so a quick reminder that they left the items there coupled with a special offer of some sort will usually get them back to your site to complete the purchase.
No matter how well your site is run or how great your customer service is, there will always be problems. How you handle a problem is what will separate your business from your competitors. There are some business owners who see customer-based mistakes or errors as “their problem” and offer no support or solutions to make it right with the customer. That’s a huge mistake and will not only cost them future sales with the customer in question, but that customer will then tell on average another five to ten potential customers not to use your business.
If you need to provide a refund or make a change in an order, make sure to do it as quickly as possible. Don’t make your customers go through a bunch of red tape just to get their refund. The idea here is to build trust through solid business practices, open communication and excellent customer service. The way you handle this transaction will mean the difference between future sales by happy customers and a bad reputation from disgruntled consumers.
It is more important than ever before to stay on top of your website and keep it optimized for both your visitors and the search engines. Contact New Bedford Internet for a free consultation at 508-415-8648.