If you had to sit down and guess, what’s the most important role in your business? Product developer? QA tester? Web designer? Marketing aficionado? Fulfillment expert? Or maybe you, bringing all these disparate roles together? Each one of these specialties brings something totally unique to the table, and are each deserving of special appreciation and consideration. Today, however, we’ll be looking at something that’s unfortunately more often overlooked than properly admired- the role of customer support.
Believe it or not, a good customer service representative can make or break your business. If you’re not yet in the position to bring someone on in a customer support role (although we definitely recommend looking into the many companies that offer customer service outsourcing!), being a customer service representative is one of the many hats you have to wear as a beginner ecommerce merchant. It’s okay if you’re unsure how to do a job like this. Although there are a number of soft skills useful or even integral to being a good customer service representative qualities like these are ones that can be developed over time. Read on for some key principles to keep in mind to ensure a positive customer service experience as you carry out your customer service role.
First, it’s absolutely necessary to be proactive. You need to make a plan in advance for how you’re going to deal with any number of common issues. Let’s say one of your customers is requesting a return or exchange. How many days does your buyer have to decide whether or not to keep the item? Who’s responsible for paying return shipping? Taking on the role of customer service means that it’s wise to have all this lined out ahead of time.
Second, make sure to empathize with your customer. Nothing of value will be accomplished by meeting frustration with frustration. As long as the interaction remains respectful, do your best to listen to their concerns, fully understand what they’re asking, and outline a couple of different options you could take to solve their problem. In this way, it’s possible to turn a negative situation into a neutral or even positive interaction.
Finally, consistency is the name of the game. If you’re holding yourself to wildly different standards from customer to customer, your hit-or-miss problem resolution skills could soon become the talk of the town. Buyers don’t enjoy gambling. They want to know that if they have a problem, it will be handled swiftly and efficiently, without too much fuss. Lay out a set of ground rules for yourself dictating how quickly you’ll respond, over which channels, and which solutions you can offer for different problems. Then do your best to stick to it unless truly unusual circumstances crop up.
Of course, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Even if you’re just starting out, there’s a variety of companies that offer customer representative services 24/7 for businesses of all sizes. At the very least, it’s worth taking a look at this scalable solution as you continue to grow, to make sure you can spend time on the parts of your business that really make you excited to get out of bed in the morning.
Regardless of your choice, your customers matter. More than anyone, they’re the people most responsible for and invested in the overall outcome and success of your endeavor. They deserve the extra time and care it takes to make sure that they have a truly positive experience every single time.