April 20, 2024


Profitable business

Offline Businesses – Use Online Services to Improve Customer Service

3 min read

Customer management systems, customer service systems and customer retention programs abound in the offline world, yet most offline businesses can still improve all 3 areas through effective customer service policies online. And best of all, offline businesses of all sizes can train employees to handle the online customer service opportunities or hire outside firms that specialize in this area.

Giving customers almost instant access to the product information they need is simple online, using sites like Twitter and Facebook. An employee monitoring these services, or even checking them every 10 or 15 minutes can respond almost in real time. Start giving every customer and targeted lead the web address of your social media accounts, asking them to use the private messaging features on these sites for contacting you. If yours is one of the thousands of small offline businesses using the Internet, consider adding a computer just for this function – then rather than interrupting your workflow, or that of an employee, a simple glance at that monitor from time to time will tell you if there’s a customer service enquiry to be handled.

Further, give clients and potential leads a place on your online properties to join your email list – keeping in regular contact with existing clients will keep you top of mind for them and go a long way towards customer retention. Don’t use this email list for hard-sell marketing, or you could lose more customers than you retain. Instead, use it to keep them up to date about what’s going on within your organization, new information about products and services within the industry, any new regulations that may affect them or their businesses, etc. Use your email list to put a human face on your business – never forget that people prefer to do business with people, not companies.

Are you considering bringing in a new line, or improving or updating your current product line? Use your online connection to your clients and prospects to involve them in the decision-making process as well – not only will valuing their input help with customer retention, but it’s also an excellent way to warm them up to the new and/or improved products you’ll be marketing soon.

Do you sell products that come with users’ guides or operating manuals? Have those copied into a text format and create downloadable PDF files from them. Making those available online will not only make things smoother for your existing customers who misplace the originals, but will also benefit those who purchase your products second-hand – an important target market you want to impress with your customer service to help encourage them to buy their next model directly from you.

If you’ve been in business for more than a few days then you already know that customer service can make or break a company’s reputation, and that customer retention is far more profitable than customer churn. Word of mouth advertising about your company, good or bad, is going to make the rounds online at some point, and fairly frequently as your company grows. While you can’t control word-of-mouth advertising, you can certainly help tip the scales in your favor with effective online customer service strategies and help reduce or eliminate the need for damage control by using these online customer service techniques to head off potential problems and keep your customers – and keep your customers coming back time and time again!

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