NOTTINGHAM, England, February 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Excellent customer service should be paramount to an enterprise of any size, but in a small to medium size online business providing a superior service can clearly differentiate you from your competitors. In turn, this can convert prospects into customers & instils trust in existing customers keeping them returning time & time again.
At Order Blinds we pride ourselves on our personable, friendly & helpful customer service & have found that in doing so customers choose us over our competitors who may even offer a cheaper product. It also makes it easier to sell again to returning customers, repeat orders generally have a higher basket value as customers have trust in our services & we receive a high rate of referrals.
So what key steps do you need to take to ensure your business excels in keeping your existing & potential customers happy? We've compiled a list of our top 10 tips to give you a nudge in the right direction...
1. Always answer the phone
This may sound like a glaringly obvious point but you would be surprised at how many businesses disregard this. If your opening hours are stated as 9am-5.30pm on your website & printed marketing materials then make sure a call is never missed during this period! If a call is left unanswered, an existing customer calling with a query or problem will be extremely frustrated & a prospect will simply hang up, disregard/forget your organisation & call a competitor. If your team is small, occasionally calls may be missed when all staff members are already on the phone. A simple answering machine that apologises & takes a message is enough to prevent the caller from becoming aggravated or discouraged - just make sure the call is returned as quickly as possible!
2. Respond to customer emails in a quick & timely manner
Nobody likes to feel like they are being ignored & in the present day ecommerce climate customers expect a quick turnaround on both delivery & service. If you receive a high number of emails out of office hours, make it somebody's duty to deal with these first thing in the morning. A swift response to a customer enquiry will set you apart from the competition allowing you to win more business. Especially from the customer who is getting this project sorted now.
3. Be a good & attentive listener
When a customer calls with an enquiry or indeed a complaint give them time & space to get their point across to you. Talking over a customer is not only rude but a sure fire way to get them riled up! Be certain to pay close attention to what they are asking & the finer details of their query or gripe to ensure that your answer is to the point & tailor made to their specific enquiry. Insincere, generic or scripted responses are a big no go.
4. Always apologise if you are at fault
We all make mistakes. Whether caused by human error or a technology issue, when the fault is anyone but the customers ensure your apology is forthright & earnest & you let them know how you plan on resolving this for them in a timely manner. Not taking responsibility for your mistakes or diverting the blame will only cause aggravation, hostility & shine a negative light on the business.
5. Exceed expectations - under promise but over deliver
Master the art of managing expectations & you will never leave a customer unsatisfied with the service they've received. For example, if your average turnaround time from point of order to delivery is 3 working days, you can advise your customers that it takes 5 (providing that this is still competitive). In doing so you provide yourself with a little leeway to resolve any problem that arises & still deliver within the stated timeframe, never failing to meet their expectations. If the item arrives in 3 days then most customers will only be impressed with the speed of delivery & their expectations have been surpassed - this makes your company unforgettable.
6. Always try to be a "yes man"
Providing a solution wherever possible will always create a happy customer. We frequently receive customer enquiries about products that we do not offer. In most instances we can use our industry knowledge to either source the product for them & if we can't supply it for them then we have no qualms in putting them onto a competitor who can - whatever it takes to give them the answer they need.
7. Manage your supply chain effectively to resolve problems before they become a problem for your customer
When a customer makes you aware of a problem then they are already upset & you are on the back foot - a dreadful position to be in. Make the effort to monitor the progress of your orders & identify problems or delays. On most occasions you can resolve the issue without the customer becoming aware or affected by the problem by sourcing out of stock items elsewhere or giving a supplier a polite nudge. When the quandary is unavoidable & the order will be late, contact the customer immediately to let them know. You'd be surprised at how understanding a customer can be if you have made the effort to keep them in the loop.
8. Continual improvement is key
There aren't many industries where a product or service is as good as it possibly can be so for the rest of us run your business with an aim to constantly improve the information, and service available to customers. This can be as simple as noticing that numerous customers ask the same question about a product. In this case add a Q and A section to your product description making it easy to find the answer, this content can also help attract new customers searching for the same answer online.
9. Keep customers updated with the progress of their order
Order confirmations, despatch notifications, courier tracking information...it all contributes to a fantastic buying experience that the customer will appreciate (most will expect) & will make their experience with your company a memorable one.
10. Know your product inside & out
Product expertise speaks volumes to a customer & when you have an answer to all of their product queries they feel secure & confident in your organisation to provide them with the right product for their needs. There may be the odd occasion where you don't know the answer to a question - it relates to a product range that's just been launched, the customer's dilemma has unique circumstances that haven't been addressed before etc. When this happens always be honest & upfront with the customer advising that you do not know the answer in this instance but will attempt to find out for them. Promptly make your enquiries & get back to them with an answer as quickly as possible. Whatever you do, never guess the answer or provide possible false information as it will inevitably come back to haunt you.
11. Take ownership of a problem & see it through
Small businesses have the opportunity to outshine large & multi-national business' customer service call centres by providing compassionate & personable assistance. Use this to your advantage & build a genuine rapport with your customer. When a problem arises, take responsibility & make certain that it's settled quickly. Reassure the customer that you will personally get this resolved for them, keep them updated throughout, give them your name & tell them they can call you directly should they need to raise any further concerns. Going above & beyond in this scenario is certain to gain you a loyal customer.
About Order Blinds Online Ltd
Order Blinds is a customer focused online retailer of window blinds serving the UK and Europe. Through years of experience of working within the industry we have built a fantastic collection of solutions for dressing windows.
For customers we offer extensive options available to order online in almost all style of blind as well as a personal service via telephone or email for those who aren't sure which product will best serve their needs.
Tel: 0800-1488229 / 01159699933
SOURCE Order Blinds Online Ltd