How to provide great customer service for your online business
Good customer service is vital, whether your business is physical or online. It keeps your customers happy, providing them with any refunds or assistance that they need and generally making sure their shopping experience is as positive as it possibly can be.
One business that knows the importance of customer service is PolkaPants, a business creating tailored chef trousers designed to be stylish as well as practical. Here are founder Maxine Thompson's tips for ensuring you provide great customer service online.
To provide great customer service, it needs to be the essence of the business rather than an afterthought. Here at PolkaPants, as well as providing a high quality product, we try to offer more than the usual services of refunds and exchanges. We try to provide a sense of community to those who have purchased our garments. We aim to achieve this through communication on a personal level and engaging with them as people and not just seeing them as sales. We like to support them in their industry (and they do ours) by interacting through social media and on our website. This additional sense of being part of a community, helps them to feel rewarded for their purchase, and maintains our brand loyalty.
Creating and maintaining reasons for brand loyalty is extremely important for our company - women could choose to purchase trousers from any high street store, or uniform shop to wear to work. However they miss out on the PolkaPants experience, the support, the encouragement and the sense of community that our brand provides.
We aim to maintain this through three main ways:
1. Be accessible
Our customers have several ways that they can contact us; phone, email and through social media. We do our upmost to respond and interact through all three channels. We aim to respond to all customer service queries within 2 hours - as we are a company that ships internationally - customer service has to be available round the clock.
2. Focus on customer relationships by listening to what they have to say
We want our customers to be repeat customers. We want them to buy their first pair of trousers, then come back and purchase 2 or 3 more pairs. We want them to tell their friends and family and other industry people.
And for this, we focus a lot on post sale customer service. A follow up email to see how they are finding the product, we offer 10% off their next purchase for feedback about the product and encourage people to send/tweet/ instagram picture of them in their PolkaPants to maintain that sense of community and strengthen our relationship.
3. Admit when we’ve made a mistake
We are only human and we all make mistakes. Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. One valuable lesson is if you make a mistake, don’t deny it or try to cover it up. Admit your mistake, apologise and do whatever it takes to make the situation right. Your customers will respect and appreciate your honesty and are more likely to be patient.
When you provide an awesome customer support experience, you’re going to save everyone time, money and frustration. You’ll get a stronger brand, engage with a wider community and your product, and your brand and your business is going to get even better.