Customer Service & Support Articles

Your Online Business Must Be a Customer Service Rock Star

by Christophe Primault
Published on 9 March 2012

One of the coolest things about the interwebs is that it is instantaneous. You can look for and find pretty much anything at the touch of a finger.

And in your business, you can serve customers without being in the same place they are - your customer could be half way around the world. That's really good for small business. It provides many opportunities for growth that weren't available just a few short years ago.

But it also means you need to have a good method for your customers to reach you if something happens. The whole nature of the web today drives us to impatience. If we can't get something we want right now, we're ready to move on to someone who can provide that for us. That is critically important when customer service issues occur.

Silence Is Not Golden When It Comes To Customer Service

Recently a major email marketing service provider had a long service outage (6 - 8 hours) where several thousand web savvy small business owners were affected. Since we've all bought into the saying "the money is in the list," this was a really big deal for plenty of people.

Of course contacting the company was not an option because the website was completely down, so customers did the next best thing and hopped on the key social media channels - Facebook and Twitter - to see what was going on. And there was complete silence. No postings about the issue or comforting words from the company that they were on top of it.

This simply won't cut it in today's demanding world. People posting to the company's social media profiles were irate, with most just pleading to get a status. That's really not much to ask of a company that exists to serve others. The fallout from this misstep will likely be huge.

Be Prepared For The Worst

The more your business depends on the cloud to serve customers, the more opportunities you might have for something to go wrong. It may never happen, but being prepared is the best case scenario.

If it does, communication will be key to your success. A good rule of thumb is to use the Triple T method.

  • Tell it all - explain the facts about what happened, don't speculate
  • Tell it fast - get your message out quickly and often
  • Tell the truth - don't lie or be evasive

Make sure each team member knows their role in the process and has the appropriate tools to carry out their responsibility.

What do you think is important in this type of situation? Please share in the comments.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user The Daring Librarian