Involved in internet marketing or not, EVERYONE has a few terrible customer service stories.
But hopefully some good experiences too!
I could go one about my own experiences as a customer all day (I really could) but I’m not sure how helpful that would be for you.
So instead, let me share with you my 3 part simple approach for providing customer service as part of your web business.
1. Dedicated Email Address/ Support Desk
You could use a GMail or Hotmail account but far better to set up a firstname.lastname@example.org address.
Not only is this more professional for your customers, it will also help you filter your emails when they arrive. For example, I have all the messages to my various support emails go into dedicated folders.
Another solution is to use helpdesk software such as Hesk (free) or Kayako. Although I know I’ll probably have to end up using some at some point I prefer email as this gives the customer a more personalized service (in my opinion).
If you have any kind of business you’ll know that the same questions are asked time and time again. Answering them individually can be a real slog and a big waste of your precious time.
To avoid this you can handle FAQs by doing 2 things:
a) Template Emails
I find these a massive help for more simple admin issues like difficulties logging in, lost passwords, etc. They can also be helpful in dealing with affiliates as well not just customers.
However, it’s crucial to remember that you should always personalize your template emails to the person you are responding to and this includes addressing them properly, adding/removing sentences and so on.
There’s nothing worse than receiving a generic, seemingly automated response to a specific question!
b) FAQ Videos/Guides
For repeated questions over time I create either FAQ sections in my product download areas or even tutorial videos as well.
It might seem like a bit of work at the time but creating FAQs really delivers passive rewards over time. In fact, I think even found out about this idea originally from The 4-Hour Work Week!
3. Nightmare Customers
Over the years I’ve worked in a number of client facing roles: Guitar teacher, filling station attendant, helpdesk representative and in McDonalds.
Let me tell you, it doesn’t matter whether you are running a lemonade stand or an online business, you WILL have problem customers from time to time.
Of course, sometimes customers have a genuine grievance – maybe you messed up. In these cases, and also when any customer isn’t as happy as they could be, I’ll always try to correct that in any way I can.
However, there are some people who:
- Never say please or thank you
- Abusive (or bordering on) in their emails
- Never grateful for any offers you make to help them
- Just generally mess you around
In my different niches I’ve probably sold to well over 5,000 customers since I started in 2010 and I’ve experienced these extreme cases maybe around 5-6 times.
So as a percentage it is small but when it happens to you (if it hasn’t already), you WILL remember it, trust me!
It doesn’t matter how good your product is, how you offer to help, how timely and genuine your responses are you can never do any good with these kinds of people. So it’s crucial you don’t get sucked into a pointless “vortex of doom” with these guys…
What I do myself and recommend is:
i) First try to help and if that doesn’t work then…
ii) Refund them, whether they asked for this or not
iii) Delete them from your subscriber list
iv) Email them politely and inform them of this, ask them not to do business with you again and wish them well for the future
Never, ever, ever, however big the temptation is, ever, lose your temper in your email.
Don’t even be mildly sarcastic! It might feel good to retaliate at the time but it’s never a sensible idea, regardless of the circumstances.
Instead just be firm and polite.
Any remember, their rudeness might be directed at you but to be honest yesterday it was probably someone else either online or some poor assistant in the supermarket. And tomorrow it’ll be another person.
So as hard as it sounds, don’t take it personally!
Instead, just keep overdelivering with content and products and your best to look after your customer base.
Any juicy customer experience stories you would like to share? Either providing as the provider or the customer? Would love to hear your thoughts below…. 😉