Customer service is very important for your online store. It also, however, takes huge amounts of valuable time. For both of these reasons, it is important to directly organise your customer service well.
Something you can do directly…
Start composing a good FAQ page. Make sure your product descriptions are lucid and your payment instructions clear. By doing so you will already have less questions.
There will always still be customers calling and e-mailing you. This is not strange as they often have a very specific question.
Let your customers e-mail you
Try to let your customers e-mail you as much as possible and call you as little as possible. You can answer your e-mails at a moment convenient for you (best is once per day) but the telephone may ring on the most inconvenient times. It may easily take 15 mintues before you are back in the flow of your work after a phone call. Phone calls are also highly inconvenient when on holiday.
Do not longer answer the phone yourself
Fortunately there is a solution for the “interruption” of telephone calls. There are services that answer the phone for you. They send you a notification of the phone call. You may call the customer back yourself on a time that is convenient for you.
Let the company that answers your call also ask the customer’s e-mail address. In case you are not in the possibility to call back you can e-mail them.
When I started my online store I used a phone answering service that cost me less than 50 EUR per month. When looking at how much time it saved me, that was an excellent deal! One company that is a good choice for internationally operating online stores is Regus, as they offer local numbers worldwide.
The customer service is of course of a lower level when using a phone answering service compared to answering the phone yourself. Therefore I have somebody working for me nowadays who can assist all clients perfectly and who can sometimes do some up-selling on the phone.
Obviously hiring a customer service employee becomes only an interesting option when you have enough sales and you can afford it. Before that time comes you can use a phone answering service, freeing you up for doing the marketing of your shop.
Extra tip: buy a smartphone with an unlimited data subscription. You can answer all e-mails on the go on your smartphone.
Chat feature for your online store
A great way for staying in touch with your customers which generates more sales AND is cheap or even free, is chatting. It is easy to implement a chat feature on your website. There are quite a number of reasons why I think you should install a chat feature:
- Your customers can more easily reach you
- It is faster to handle than a phone call (imagine for example explaining on the phone where a certain product is on the website versus simply sending a link via chat)
- People are more likely to start a chat than picking up the phone
- Even if clients don’t have a question now, they see you are approachable
- More sales because customers can (potentially) easily reach you
- Because people easily start a chat, you quickly find out what issues they have with the site