Posted February 23, 2013
Running a business solely online requires a different type of mindset than the one needed to manage a brick-and-mortar store. There’s no memorable face or friendly handshake when you do business online. This makes customer service even more important for e-commerce retailers — each interaction with a customer could be your last, especially if the service is lacking and there are competitors in your market. Bad news travels fast in the online sphere, so follow these guidelines to ensure every customer has a positive experience.
1.) Build Your Best Website
In creating a virtual business, your website is your most important asset. This is the face of your company, whether you’re selling wholesale products online
or creating the newest online marketplace. Keep it user-friendly so customers can easily navigate and find all their desired items in a timely fashion. This not only includes products sold, but also links to your social media outlets and detailed contact information. Otherwise, it’s likely clients will venture elsewhere.
Collect customer information on the site; for instance, ask people to open an account in order to receive special services and discounts. Once the information has been entered, an employee should reach out to the customer within 24 hours. Make this initial call when your brand is fresh in the new customer's mind.
2.) Properly Train Staff
Continuously evaluate what others think of your company. You can bring in an outside organization to survey customers about email marketing, interactions with the sales team, and the condition of your merchandise. Find out where you’re excelling and where there is room for improvement.
Take this feedback and use it to train staff. Make it a requirement that all sales associates take an online exam. This way, customers won’t get mixed messages, and you’ll ensure that each sales representative possesses the appropriate skills to sell your product.
3.) Provide Personal Attention
Individualized gestures can go a long way. Find out what each customer’s priorities and desires are. You can use social media sites to gauge clients’ likes, but make it the marketing team’s job to send out personalized emails as well. Once the marketing team has sent these, ask your sales associates to follow up with a phone call.
4.) Be Honest and Ask for Feedback
It’s best that customers know upfront all the details surrounding the products they are purchasing. Let your credibility be known, particularly when it comes to the first transaction.
Often, if a customer has a lackluster or negative experience, he or she will take to the Internet to vent. Interacting with clients via social media to resolve an unsatisfactory experience can be a quick and efficient way to help, but sometimes speaking with the customer directly can ensure that no miscommunication occurs. Create a spot on your website where people can either write or call to speak with a representative.
When building an e-commerce business, it’s important to create an online presence that’s conducive to a positive customer experience. Your company should be continuously evolving. Let your clients help you achieve ultimate success. Make it easy for them to navigate your products and provide a space for feedback — whether it’s good or bad.