Customer Service Week: Three Ways to Offer Exceptional Customer Service Online
October 7th – 11th is Customer Service Week. Most people don’t think of websites or social media when you mention customer service, but both of these mediums need to be included in your Customer Service Week initiatives.
One of my first professional jobs was working for Modern Healthcare – a Crain’s publication that was truly the weekly read for healthcare executives. The publisher at the time was Charles Lauer, someone that was considered to be one of the leaders in healthcare customer service. Each week, Chuck wrote a publisher’s letter in the magazine and you could count on reading something about how there is nothing more important than treating your customers right. It was something that he preached not only to the healthcare industry, but also to his own employees.
In the spirit of Chuck Lauer, I would like to offer you three ways to offer exceptional customer service online.
1. Respond to your customer’s comments/posts online – I know this sounds obvious, but you would not believe how many companies, big and small, do not respond to posts. From a simple “thank you” for a retweet to responding to a person’s post about a bad experience. It is remarkably simple to take an angry rant and turn it into a happy customer. All it takes is a personal response.
2. Offer customer’s a way to reach you in person – So many big companies have moved to automated telephone systems in which a computer quizzes the caller about their needs and then tries to route the call accordingly. While the intention was good, it only amplifies an upset customer’s frustrations. All too often on the web, companies hide phone numbers in an effort to route traffic through email or live chat. This is a huge customer service mistake. If you value your customers over operational efficiency (as every company should), offer your online guests an opportunity to reach you in the event of an emergency or problem.
3. Spend a day in your customer’s shoes – I think this is a great piece of advice to improve customer service both online and off. Go on your website or social media site and spend the day as a customer. Is your site easy to navigate? Can you find help when you need it? Is help offered quickly and is it human? If you find issues, fix them.
In the spirit of Customer Service Week, I invite you to look at your own company and ask, “Am I doing all I can to make my customers happy?” You can only expect your business to grow when you put your customers first.