Does Customer Service Really Matter?
It's easy to sometimes think that because all your transactions may be taking place online, that your customer service plan is not important. Unfortunately, that couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, when it comes to eCommerce I would venture to say that your customer service is even MORE important. You have to remember that your customers are not bonding with you as a person, but as an entity on the other end of a internet connection. When that happens, you are less likely to develop a deep customer loyalty. . . UNLESS your customer service is truly outstanding.
Recently, I had a rude awakening in this arena. After calling a MAJOR eCommerce company to ask a question for one of my clients— a general dilemma they were experiencing with integration to their website, I was routed to a representative that I'm pretty sure was Googling every question I asked her. It was terrible. As a result, she wound up not only, not solving my client's problem, but also SHUTTING MY ACCOUNT! After talking with her and finally hanging up, I received an email stating that MY account, an account which was perfectly fine, was being shut down temporarily.
Naturally, I called back. Unfortunately, the man I received on the end of this call, was rude, condescending and treated me like I was a criminal. As if my account being suspended had somehow been my fault. I was frustrated, but tried to explain the situation. He literally began to yell at me until I finally hung up. Intent on calling back and speaking with a supervisor. Instead, the third customer service representative I got there, was kind, knowledgeable and competent. My problem was solved in a few minutes. But it had taken an hour to get that far. Three phone calls and only one of their customer service reps was actually able to help me.
Consider your business. Is this you? Do your customers call in with problems only to be given the run around, frustrated or yelled at? If the answer is 'yes', or 'maybe' then it's time to do some serious soul searching with your customer service handlers. Make sure they understand the rules of good customer service:
1. The customer may not always be right, but they are always worth the trouble. We've often heard, "The customer is always right". Let's face it, sometimes that's just not the case. They can be demanding or impossible to please, however, it is your job to try. They are worth the trouble of going the extra mile to please or set their minds at ease.
2. The customer should be treated with respect at ALL times. I could not believe the treatment that I received from my second call, and neither will your customers. Treat a customer rudely and that's the best way to ruin your business. Bad behavior in customer service is NEVER ok and should not be tolerated.
3. The customer's problems ARE important. If you want to be successful at ecommerce then you need to come to grip with the fact that the customer's problems are YOUR problems and therefore they are important. You should realize that no problem is to small or too large for your staff to handle.
As you take those calls from customers, whether it's complaints, concerns or serious problems, handle each one as if they were your biggest customer. If you do that, chances are they will continue to shop with you.