The retail landscape has changed considerably since the turn of the century. Whereas the vast majority of consumers used to patronize brick-and-mortar establishments for everything from groceries to leisure items, many of them now regard the Worldwide Web as their preferred shopping destination. Frankly, it isn’t difficult to see why – shopping online gives consumers the ability to purchase any item they want at any time. As an added bonus, comparison shopping has never been easier. Although shopping online doesn’t involve much in the way of face-to-face interaction, customer service is still very important. After all, if your store is incapable of treating customers with respect, countless competitors can be accessed with a few simple button clicks. Online store proprietors on the hunt for effective customer service tips would be wise to heed the following pointers.
- Don’t Take Forever to Respond to Customer Queries
It’s not hard to see why many online store owners take their sweet time in responding to customer concerns, complaints and queries. Since the customer isn’t standing directly in front of you, there’s no real sense of urgency. However, adopting this approach to questions from your patrons isn’t going to do your store any favors. Suffice it to say, a customer who waits days – or even weeks – for his or her query to be addressed isn’t going to be doing business with your store again in the foreseeable future. Additionally, if your store develops a reputation for shrugging off customer queries, it won’t take long for word to spread. Thanks to social media, as well as various consumer feedback sites, businesses that treat customers poorly get their comeuppance in the form of unfavorable reviews.
- Don’t be too Proud to Own up to Mistakes
As is the case when running a traditional retail establishment – or a business of any type, for that matter – you should never be too proud to own up to mistakes. If a customer comes to you with a grievance that’s a direct result of a mistake on your end, it behooves you to take responsibility for your actions and make things right. Far too often, people who work in sales go to great lengths to avoid admitting their own errors, resulting in justifiably disgruntled patrons. As you’ll find, swallowing your pride and admitting your mistakes can win you points with discerning consumers. If you’ve set out to create a successful online business, remember to check your pride at the door.
- Be Selective About the Battles You Fight
There’s no question that some consumers take the adage “The customer is always right” too literally. Still, as anyone who’s worked in sales long-term can tell you, it’s important to choose your battles. Sometimes, it’s easier to give irate, unreasonable patrons what they want than prolong your interactions with them any further. This is particularly true in the digital age, as certain customers won’t hesitate to slam your store all over the Internet for imagined slights.
Many online store proprietors make the mistake of thinking customer service doesn’t matter in the digital age of shopping. Since they’re not interacting with patrons face-to-face, they see no reason to exercise common courtesy. However, these individuals couldn’t be more wrong. Now that consumers have more options than ever before, customer service has never been more important.