Toss out everything you’ve learned about online business. Forget the social media stuff. Forget doing all that advertising. Forget link building, SEO, and the technical Web strategies. What really matters at the end of the day is how well you treat your customers.
Consider this …
Suppose someone types in your business, in Google, and the first item they see is a 1 out of 5 star review on one of the main review websites (like Yelp). Do you really think your flashy website and optimized marketing campaign is going to do anything if they’ve already made up their mind because they’re seeing you’re so negatively reviewed?
That’s why customer service is such a crucial part of online business. By providing exceptional customer service you are almost always guaranteeing that you’ll receive great reviews. People actually want to refer others to your business.
Without customer service you’re merely mixed into the sea of competition. You’re selling the same ol’ product offered by everyone else (in their eyes). People have no real incentive to order from you.
Let’s put things on track.
This is how you provide customer service that wows them. This is what you need to do to stand out from the competition. This is the three-step process to exceptional customer service:
1. Set an example (and follow a mentor)
Customer service is a skill that requires time to learn and understand. It takes practice talking with people time and time again to really get understand how to solve their issues. You can achieve this by spending years and years providing customer service help or it can be streamlined if you seek a mentor to aid you in this area of business.
For example: Stormy Simon is one such type of individual that could be considered a mentor. She is one of the board members at Overstock.com (a major, major eCommerce retailer) that really made her mark by the customer service initiatives she brought to the company.
When you find individuals like this you can then begin to replicate their approach to success. You can emulate the service they brought to their company.
By using a mentor you can align your customer service goals. In a lot of ways it’s like having a coach. Their examples and way of conducting business will let you skip much of the learning process so that you can start providing great service right from the get-go.
2. Go the extra mile (always)
They say the customer is always right. This is half true.
When it comes to customer service it should come down to applying the 80/20 rule. This is known as the Pareto Principle in which 80% of the return comes from 20% of the effort. When applied to customer service you can see it as something like “80% of the revenue comes from 20% of the customers”.
Yes, all customers are valuable in their own right but some are simply too much of a hassle.
You’re better off spending the majority of your time handling customer requests from those that bring real value to the company rather than take up your precious time. Essentially – you’re trying to work with the evangelical customers that understand your business and its offer. You’re not wasting time trying to appease those that are trying to cut every corner and pinch every penny.
So the point is:
- Do as much as you can for those that bring real return for your business
- Be ready to cut out those that are a waste of time
It may sound mean but cutting out the penny pinchers, freebie hunters, and troublesome individuals will allow you to focus more time providing great customer service to those that matter – those that are going to provide the highest profit for the business.
3. Share the experience with others (like on social media)
Finally, in this day and age, it’s also about what you project to the community.
People all over the world doing business with you have access to free social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. This means when they have a great experience they may feel inclined to talk about their experience with their followers and friends.
This is pure gold in terms of business.
An element of customer service is what to expect with customer service. When you know a company is known for their great service it gives you an incentive to give them a try. It creates a buzz.
By encouraging individuals to share their experiences on social media and through word-of-mouth you are setting up the process that will bring new clients and customers to your business. By repeating this excellent experience you will, in turn, grow your business in ways that can’t be done by advertising and marketing, alone.
As a bonus you can utilize these platforms to understand your customers to a greater degree. This analytical data can be used to increase the exceptional nature of your service. It’s win/win.
Let’s examine it one last time: find a mentor that helps guide your customer service experience, go above and beyond with those that matter, and encourage them to share that experience with those willing to listen. Through these three items you will create a business ready for success. Provide incredible customer service and all other things will fall in line.