Providing quality support to your customers can seem like a difficult thing to achieve as a small business, especially when larger firms have entire teams dedicated to this task. However, providing better customer support is easier than you think; anyone can do it. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Website best practice
Get ahead of the game by providing a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section or page on your website that anticipates the needs of your customers. This will save your customers time as they won’t have to search lengthily for the information they need. They’ll also take up less of your time with emails and calls asking questions because you’ve provided the answers on your website. Your FAQs should be well written and easy to understand. They should be concise; each answer should only address one question. To make navigation easy, categorise your questions in a logical way that makes sense to your business.
Include guides and useful resources
If you sell a product which requires an instruction manual or something similar, include pdfs of these on your website. This way your customer will easily have access if they misplace theirs. If you sell clothing, provide a size chart on your website. Whatever your product or service is, include the materials your customer might require on your website. Label them and make them easy to find, that way your customers are aware of the superior support you provide them.
Write a blog
A blog is a great way of providing customers with useful information. It’s a simple way to keep your customers updated about your products, services, and business. If you’re expanding the range of your product offering, for example, write a quick blog to inform your customers. Your blog can also include useful tips and advice that is relevant to your audience. If you sell men’s apparel, update your blog to give outfit suggestions or write a guide on pairing accessories for different events. If you provide a service, you could include case studies that detail how successful the service you provided is to different types of consumers. If you find that you are being asked about the same type of advice or topic, write a blog about that. Your blog should be an extension of your business that adds value to your customers. Include relevant pictures and make the content interesting. Your blog is intended for your target customer, so keep them in mind when you’re writing.
Social media best practice
Respond quickly and courteously
Even if you’re a one-man-band, social media is an incredibly easy way for you to provide support to your customers. People naturally contact companies via Twitter and Facebook to leave positive feedback as well as complaints. Although it can be tricky to find the right response to a comment from an unhappy customer, the key is to respond quickly and courteously. The worst thing you can do is antagonise a disgruntled customer by ignoring them! Even if you are unsure how to answer a question or are unable to resolve a problem straight away, respond anyway to let them know you are working on it.
Telephone best practice
Answer your phone!
It is shocking to see the amount of small businesses that provide a phone number on their website and then don’t answer it. This is the easiest way to lose customers. Even though you don’t answer the phone, your competitors will. Answer your phone and represent yourself in a professional manner.
Set up a personalised voicemail
Set up a professional sounding voicemail for the rare occasion in which you are unable to answer the phone. This should include your name, business, and a statement ensuring you will return the phone call as soon as you are able to. Then make sure you follow up with any potential customers whose phone call you’ve missed.
Email best practice
Emails should be professional and formatted traditionally. This means you include a greeting as well as a signature that reminds the customer of your name and company. Although this is common sense for most of us, it is surprising the amount of times I still encounter grammatically incorrect responses from small business with no indication of who I’m communicating with. An easy way to stay on top of this is to set up an email signature that automatically inserts at the bottom of your emails. If you often respond to emails on the go, set up an identical signature for your smartphone as well.
People are very impatient and this is no different for email communications. Answer emails quickly to keep your customers happy. If you are unable to respond within a few business days, send an email saying that you are experiencing higher volumes of emails than usual and that you will respond within X amount of days. Your customer will appreciate the update and it will reassure them that you haven’t forgotten about them.
The most important thing with customer support is to keep your audience and their needs in mind. This will help you focus your support in a way that is most effective for your business. And remember that word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools, so providing quality customer support is vital to keeping your business busy. Although these tips are simple, they will make a noticeable difference to your customers!