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Improve Your Online Customer Service

Improve Your Online Customer Service

By Derek Gehl | Entreprenuer.com

If you’re wondering why customers aren’t coming back to your e-business, maybe you should take a long, hard look at your customer service.

Even if you master each and every one of the internet marketing strategies out there—sales copywriting, search engine optimization, e-mail marketing and the rest—they’re not worth a dime if you forget about customer service. It’s a strategy that all truly successful business owners understand and pay careful attention to because the one thing all successful businesses have in common is satisfied customers.

There’s an old saying in business: A happy customer will tell one or two people; an unhappy one will tell 10! So it pays to keep your customers happy—especially when doing business online.

Online, a seriously ticked-off customer might not just tell 10 people; they might also write a lengthy rant on their blog, post comments on other people’s blogs, write a negative review of your site on a shopping website, or criticize you on forums and message boards. Or all of the above.

And worse, once something’s been written about you online, it’s very difficult to get it removed. This means that any prospective customer who decides to do a search on your business name could come across it.

So while good customer service might cost a bit of time and money, bad customer service online could cost you dozens of prospective customers. Think how much losing even just 10 sales would cost you, and compare it to the extra sales you’ll gain from making your customers happy.

What’s really interesting is that many case studies show that building good customer service into the operation of a business increases a company’s efficiency as well as its sales. Here are some simple strategies to help you improve your customer service:

Step #1: Automate your sales process to keep customers in the loop.

Use autoresponders to thank your customers for their order, welcome them to your opt-in e-mail list, and send them order confirmations and other transactional emails like “your item has shipped” notices. Customers have come to expect these courtesies, but not everyone online bothers.

You can even add an element of surprise to these customer-service e-mails by including a coupon for money off their next purchase or some extra information they’ll find relevant to the product they’ve just bought. You may also want to ask if everything is all right with your customers’ purchase or if there’s anything further you can do.

This kind of follow-up can relieve any possible feelings of buyer’s remorse and reinforce the positive feelings about your business your customers had when they originally bought from you.