New Year’s Day. While it is mostly a time for celebration, it is also a time for reflection and resolution for the new year. Though many of us make personal goals of self-improvement, now is also a great time to make resolutions for your professional life as well. Though proper inventory management and an effective shipping strategy are essential foundations for an ecommerce business, if you want to achieve lasting success, you need to have exceptional customer service. Excellent customer service will help you steward repeat customers and attract new ones. In fact, studies have shown that 89% of customers have stopped buying products from an online business due to poor customer service. With such a high percentage of individuals expecting good customer service in order to support a business, it’s vital to establish great customer service practices for the coming year. Here are a few New Year’s resolutions to help you accomplish great customer service and improve your company’s bottom line.
Resolution #1: Try not to “win” an argument with a customer.
Every now and then you will be faced with a difficult customer. Even when you try to resolve the issue to the best of your ability, they will still challenge you and argue. Though it’s difficult, you need to always resist the urge to fight back and engage in an argument. It’s just not worth it in the long run. Instead, take your emotions out of the situation – this person doesn’t know how much your business means to you. Let it go anyway. Remain calm, listen openly and try to have empathy. Many times, customers just want to vent their frustrations and feel as though someone is listening. Once the customer has aired their grievances, let them you know hear them and understand, and then deal with the issue at hand.
Resolution #2: Respond to customer complaints faster.
Studies have shown that 33% of people will recommend a brand that gives a quick but ineffective response (ineffective as in the issue wasn’t yet resolved), while 17% of customers would recommend a brand that gives a slow but effective response. This means that customers seem to prioritize a business that addresses them in a timely manner over a business that makes them wait for a response, regardless of how good the response is. As soon as you see a customer complaint or inquiry, send a quick message letting them know you have read their note, and that you are working on getting an answer to them asap. If you feel confident setting time parameters for responses, like “all issues will be resolved within 24 hours,” then certainly share that. Responding to customers quickly will communicate that you genuinely care about your shoppers, and you are working on answering their needs.
Resolution #3: Be more available to customers.
What’s one of the biggest customer complaints? Needing help from a business, and not being able to get in contact with anyone. We aren’t suggesting that every business should keep customer service hours open 24/7, but make sure your customer service hours, phone number and email are displayed in a conspicuous place. If you can, implement a live chat service for your website. A recent survey showed that 31% of customers are more likely to buy from a business after chatting with them live. Let customers know that you are here to help – don’t make them crawl your site trying to find a way to connect with you.
Resolution #4: Engage with your audience on social media.
Social media can be an excellent way to connect with buyers, as long as it is managed properly. Studies show that 33% of customers prefer to go on a company’s social media page rather than call by telephone. This means that, now more than ever, you should dedicate time managing and responding to interactions on your social media accounts. Just like resolution #2, it is important to respond quickly to customer complaints. On social media, you want to be especially cognizant of how you phrase your response. It will be public, after all. Don’t let that intimidate you – instead, use it as an opportunity to show a big audience just how much your business cares about customers, and how you can deal with adversity in an honorable way.
Resolution #5: Be more flexible when it comes to your policy.
We understand that policies are created for a reason, and in order to protect your business it is important to stick by them. That said, there is an exception to every rule. If you have a return policy that excludes free returns after 30 days, but a loyal customer who has shopped from you for years would like to return an item on day 31, let it be. Losing a long time customer is way more detrimental to your business than a broken policy (studies have shown that loyal customers spend 2 times more at a business than a new customer). It will take some judgement on your part, but allowing yourself to be flexible on certain rules can benefit you financially in the long run.
55% of customers are willing to spend more for a better shopping experience, and customer service is a key component in providing an exceptional buying process. It is important that you look at your business and see what you can improve on when it comes to customer service for the new year. It can easily be the difference between “okay” profits and rocking sales.