All that goodwill you’ve built up on your marketing side? Gone in an instant if you have a crappy customer service strategy or team. If you need a refresher on the basics of how to get customer service right, here are some tips:
The customer is always right
Here’s your starting point as a retailer. Retail is a service industry, and part of what customers are paying for is your ability to provide them with a high quality service. Just because their item is low price, in a sale or ordered online, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be treated like any other customer.
Of course, retailers know that customers aren’t always right. Sometimes they make mistakes. They can be rude, abrasive, or just plain wrong, but that’s not the point. You have to approach service from the perspective that the customer is correct.
Don’t try to win an argument with a customer. In their mind, you’ve already made a mistake of some sort, so you’re starting from a losing position. Consider the impact of, say, providing a refund, against the possibility of losing all future revenue from that customer.
Make your returns proposition clear up front
Not only is this best practice, there is also a legal requirement (again as part of the DSRs) to ensure that your delivery and returns proposition is clearly explained before the customer makes a purchase.
Make sure your returns policy is up to date, and don’t do an HMV; make sure you know exactly how the policy works in every circumstance.
Respond quickly and positively
Let the customer know you’re looking into the issue, even if you haven’t got an answer straight away. Don’t leave an issue hanging, as the customer will increasingly feel like they are being ignored.
These are great tips, but how do you put it into practice? Let’s say you get a swath of confusion on your Facebook page that all your fans can see. Instead of ignoring them or deleting the comments (never, ever do that), here’s some language you can use: “Sorry ladies! We are working on it and might try again next week. Thanks for your patience and letting us know what was going on.”
See how it follows all the rules above? The most common thing I see when companies respond online is that they don’t match their tone to the company’s personality or the person they are speaking with. It’s okay to show personality and be positive – being stoic and proper really won’t win you any points, even if you do everything else right since it’s so forgettable.