Good customer support is an essential attribute of all businesses. Many customers see support as the most important factor when working with a particular business. If customer support is bad, your customers are unhappy and you will eventually lose their custom. If it is extremely good, your customers are more likely to do business again and are willing to pay a premium for the service you offer.
Here, at CodeRevolution, we try to offer the best support possible to our customers, as seen on our customer feedback and ratings.
However, for many businesses, customer support is difficult to do well. It is unfortunate that businesses must balance lowering costs and improving customer support. It is further unfortunate that many businesses choose to lower costs.
For small businesses, there are some simple ways that customer support can be improved without hiring lots more staff and spending lots on money of technology.
1. Respond to e-mails within 60 minutes (if you are in the office).
When I send an e-mail to a business, it is often because I have a problem. If I have a problem, I cannot move on until it’s resolved. Unfortunately, many businesses take an extremely long time to reply to e-mails.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you should solve a customer’s problems in 60 minutes. But, I do believe you should make effort to respond to the customer within 60 minutes of receiving an e-mail. Let them know you have received their query and let them know what you are going to do about it.
Try to avoid sending one of those automatic, stock e-mails, too. All those tell customers is that some cold-hearted computer, somewhere, has received an e-mail. Rather, try to send the following information:
- Who has read the e-mail (name, e-mail and phone number, please);
- Has it been forwarded to somebody; who?;
- How long, roughly, will it take to respond?
2. Check back; see if everything is okay.
So you think you’ve found a solution to a customer’s problem? Why not send an e-mail 24 hours later and ask if their issue was resolved. This allows you to provide further assistance if it wasn’t. Further, it allows you to gain critical feedback so you can improve the response the next time the same issue arises.
3. Provide a phone number to a person—a real person
I do not mind dealing with e-mail and the occasional automatic phone menu. What I do not like, however, is not being able to reach a real person when I need to. This problem is particularly present with online businesses: many online businesses provide little phone support or make it very difficult to access. If your online business is selling something, ensure your support phone number is written on every web page.