Selling Online: The Value of Customer Service
Customers are the only thing standing between you and failure. Get enough of them in the way by their own free choice and they will lift you up above failure. They give you success. Customers choose you. You give them awesomeness in return and then they approve and disapprove with their wallets. It kind of like social contract theory.
Great organizations have failed by losing the hearts of their customers through poor service or poor business practices. Those companies have often met their demise. I know lots of people who run small businesses; Small businesses that would be much bigger if they gave a shit how their customers felt, or cared about what they said as they walked away from a sour deal.
This article in my online selling blog series is about the importance of customer service. Aside from picking great products to sell, providing awesome service is probably the second most important aspect of any business. Over the course of doing business, just a few poor customer experiences can be very damaging to your reputation and long term success. You could have 99 successful interactions with different clients and the 100th one that goes poorly will be the one that get the most lip service. It is that one that you must give your upmost attention to in order to ensure that it is smoothed over.
Often times I will ask a client if the resolution is to their satisfaction. If it were ever not sufficient to their expectation I will offer to go further until I have no other viable options left to meet their expectations. This is not always easy but my philosophy is that I would rather not be doing business, and have no business at all, no profit or gain in any way, than to let a customer walk away feeling like they got screwed. It has never come to this for me and rarely does it take more than just showing the client that you give a damn to really turn things around. But whatever it is, seek it, and if its possible, do it.
Each and every customer should be valued and treated as important. Take their questions or concerns seriously. When issues arise do you very best to find a resolution that works for your customer, not you. Show love, kindness, and empathy. Let your customer know that you value whats important to your customer at all times.
It’s the service after the sale that is most important. Every customer concern is an opportunity to win a heart and let your heart and your business shine for all to see. Most transactions go smoothly but when customer issues arise seize the opportunity to shine. If you are ever in question, just pretend you are legit having the same problem as your customer. How would you feel? How would you want to be treated or spoken to in the conversation? How would you want it resolved? These are great questions to ask in every situation where a customer concern arises.
While many companies do a great job of providing goods and services, excellence is rare. This means that you have an opportunity to offer excellence to your clients. While a big company like Overstock.com or Jet.com can provide a large variety and fast shipping, customers know that if they have an issue, its probably going to take a lot of work and the response will be systematic and generic instead of personalized and genuine. This is where you can really stand out in the crowd.
In short, customers are everything. Each one is unique. Each one is super important to your success. Treat them this way in all ways and at all times. Do your very best to make them happy. You will not please everyone %100 of the time. And while I too have had customers with concerns, it is rare that a customer will walk away totally unhappy if I get the chance to make it right because in this type of situation, I work tirelessly to make it right to their full satisfaction. If you want to have a good selling reputation you should too.