Better Online Customer Support

Customer satisfaction has been the Holy Grail for retailers. Social media and has a whole new meaning to customer satisfaction. Unleash friends arrive, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends on an unprecedented scale. It is the word of mouth on steroids.

The social web has also made customer support a collaborative effort that provides new tools of online community that allow customers to find their own answers and help each other. While self-help forums and the community can be an integral part of the total support package, online marketers should not overlook the power of direct participation when it comes to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Here are some of the main forms of an online store may look to increase levels of satisfaction through customer service.

1. Be useful

The first tip may seem obvious, but can easily be forgotten in customer service today. It is important to realize that is available does not equal useful. It is not enough simply to have someone available to answer a live chat or telephone.

The quality of each of the interaction. Modern consumers are busy, not to mention the possibility of alternatives to choose from hundreds of other stores. Customer Representatives should be driven to help customers, answer questions and solve problems, not just focus on parameters such as waiting time and the rate of rotation.

It is also a great policy to engage proactively to customers who are in need of assistance. For example, if a person is at rest on the same page as the average payment, or a visitor still jumping through three pages of products, knowledgeable online marketers can start a conversation to help a customer when more needed.

2. Be honest

Transparency is the letter of the social web. Each customer service representative should strive to be open and honest in every conversation. If a mistake is made, the customer should feel comfortable to admit error. If the answer is not available, it is okay to say "I do not know" and create a well-defined plan of action to find the answer. It is also okay to say no, for example, a customer who has an unrealistic expectation of delivery time. More promising will only lead to disappointment, frustration and road rage.

3. Over-delivery

Customer service representatives should seek to offer more than one answer. Consider surprising your customers with a gift, free shipping upgrade, discount of privileged information, etc. A simple offering can go a long way toward solving a problem customer and repair a damaged relationship. Of course, bonus gifts not only should be reserved for dissatisfied customers. Surprising new customers and loyal to unexpected gifts and are more likely to spread the word about your great experience.

4. Being an expert

Each customer support interaction is an opportunity for a company to be an easy guide and advisor to its clients. If a customer enters a brick and mortar store, you can instantly tell the difference between knowledge and uninformed sales associate. This interaction often shapes the quality of the entire shopping experience. The same is true in virtual stores. Each person responsible for answering the phone or live chat to an online store must be updated with the latest products and services. Each service representative should serve as an essential resource for customers.

5. Keep it simple

All aspects of your website and purchase process should be built around customer needs. The least friendly place, less customer satisfaction will be. Critical information such as pricing, shipping and easy return to find. Above all, keep your website updated to reflect exactly what the customer is about to receive.

6. Offer Easy Returns

According to StellaService, a company that controls the online customer experience, companies committed to a policy of easy return has high marks from customers. In addition, a customer-friendly return policy improves the brand without necessarily leading to a greater number of returns.

Online marketers can certainly increase levels of customer satisfaction by facilitating the return process. It also offers better support pre-sale (in the form of the product pages live chat and useful) can be instrumental in reducing the need for profitability in the first place.