Customer Service – Marketing Extension
While it is true that consumers do not have to shop online it is equally true that many consumers like the convenience of online shopping and would continue to make it a part of their shopping experience.
If you, as an online business, can provide a quality product at a competitive price you have waged a significant battle in a much larger war.
An online business cannot conclude that simply because a consumer sought out their products and made a purchase that they can be reasonably assured this customer will return.
You spend a great deal of time and resources on front-end marketing, but surprisingly many online businesses are missing out on a key element of consumer retention – Customer Service.
This function in an online environment is different than brick and mortar counterparts simply because you are dealing with someone you will likely never see. However, the reason customer service is so important to online business is that it is an extension of your marketing activities.
If you were to break marriage down into the most basic marketing efforts you find that many men and women pour enormous amounts of time and resources into finding a spouse, yet once the ‘I do’ has been said, sadly for many, the marketing exchange is over. This should not be the case in marriage and it should not be the case in online marketing.
The same effort you put into gaining a customer is the same effort you need to put into keeping that customer happy and willing to return to your ecommerce site.
One of the ways to advance quality customer service is a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. This will help answer common questions before and after the sale. You should also make sure your customer can access contact information quickly from any location on your website. Make sure to answer all correspondence in a timely manner.
Comprehensive instructions are another means of quality online customer service. If your customer has a hard time completing a transaction, finding products or feeling as though they have missed some key element in the process it may signal a decrease in their personal trust factor, which equals fewer online sales.
Customers aren’t especially happy to conclude they have been subjected to a classic ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ scenario. No one likes to feel the only value they have is in the money they spend with a company.
You serve individuals with lives that are important. You convey a distinct lack of care when you treat customer service with casual disregard.