If you’re running a business, your website is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Your website is your digital storefront, allowing customers from all over the world to see what you have to offer, no matter what time it is or how far away from you they are.
More than this, though, it’s a way for you to provide excellent customer service and ensure that your customers come away from interactions with you completely satisfied. Forging excellent relationships with your customers is the key to running a successful business in a competitive market.
Ask for feedback
No matter how many user experience (UX) experts you enlist to help you design your website and your customer journey, you just can’t beat actually asking your customers what they think if you want to provide excellent service.
It’s not enough to simply offer the option for customers to leave feedback; you need to actively seek it out. For example, email your customers and request feedback from them, and offer them an incentive such as a prize draw for responding.
It’s also important that you ensure the feedback you receive is useful. There are a few things to bear in mind to be sure of this:
- Be specific. Asking customers to provide feedback on a specific thing, such as speed of response or the quality of a certain product, is more useful than a general ‘how are we doing’ because you’ll have enough responses on the same topic to gain valuable insight.
- Be relevant. Be sure to ask for feedback within a reasonable time after a customer has dealt with you. Asking for their opinion 6 months later isn’t likely to get much response, and even if it does, it won’t necessarily be helpful.
- Accept negative feedback. Negative feedback is actually more useful than positive feedback, even if it isn’t as nice to hear! You can use negative feedback to help you make changes to improve your service, so if customers are providing it to you, then see it as a gift. On the other hand, if customers are asked for feedback and report issues that are never addressed, they won’t feel inclined to help you again in the future, so you must make use of feedback, positive and negative. If possible, be sure to respond to feedback individually so that customers know you are listening to them.
Create a community
Using your website to create a community around your brand is one of the most effective ways to keep your customers happy.
Having a community will create brand loyalty because the people who are part of the community will feel as though they are actually a part of your brand. If they feel as though they are part of your brand, they are unlikely to go to a competitor!
Additionally, a community provides a space for discussion and the generation of ideas, which can be a valuable resource. Plus, depending on who ends up being part of your community, it can end up being an excellent PR opportunity.
The first step to creating a community is making sure there is a space for it on your site. You could create a forum, for example, or make use of social media platforms.
Allowing customers to either immediately answer their own queries, or having someone available to answer them, is important.
90% of customers said that an immediate response was an important part of good customer service, and immediate was defined as 10 minutes or less by 60% of people.
Think about ways to allow customers to self-serve, for example, an FAQ database, as this will decrease the load on your customer service staff. However, you should also ensure that they can get hold of someone about issues within a reasonable time frame.
Add a chat window
75% of millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen-Z (born between 1995 and 2015) avoid phone calls because they find them time-consuming.
They are also unlikely to be happy with an email response that takes a day or two to arrive, as immediate responses are so important.
The best solution to both of these issues when providing excellent service on your website is to use a chat window.
Chat windows allow people to ask their questions and receive answers immediately without making a phone call. As a business, you have a few options for who the customer is actually chatting with.
Of course, you can employ customer service staff to man the chatbots, which allows customers to talk with a real person in real-time. Alternatively, you could use AI software designed to answer common queries and learn about your business as it goes.
One of the best things you can do to provide good customer service is to be clear. Make sure that your website is easy to read and navigate by using minimal text and plenty of white space.
It’s also important to be clear about things like shipping times and procedures for complaints so that customers always know where they stand.
Customers are much more likely to come back to a website that they found clear and easy to use, so it’s worth spending some time on this.
There are many reasons to offer free shipping, aside from the fact that customers nearly expect it from retailers at this point, and it’s considered good service.
Recent studies have shown that offering free shipping may increase revenue and encourage new customers to place orders.
You can also use free shipping to increase the average size of orders from your customers. Offering free shipping for orders over a certain value encourages people to order more than they might have otherwise. If this happens across multiple orders, the value increase is significant.
It’s also thought that offering free shipping helps to cultivate loyalty, as people will come back to a site multiple times if they know that their order will be shipped for free. It’s seen as part of providing a good deal and good service, so it’s worth making this part of your offering.