With a pandemic sweeping the globe and social distancing guidelines in place, people are shopping online more. They want to stay out of stores and they have more time on their hands.

Having more time means they’re also taking more time to make carefully informed decisions about where, when, and how to spend their money.

A promise is only as good as the people behind it. When it comes to top-tier customer service, consumers know it when they see it, and they won’t settle for less. There is no end to the list of statistics that back up the importance of this and the role it plays in earning a return customer. 

With a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, you can lean on being polite and exchanging pleasantries when people come into a shop. If there’s a problem, you can encourage people to come back and take care of it.

It’s more challenging with online stores, which are by their very nature less personal. And yet, it is vital to create as much of that high-touch connection as possible. That means focusing intently on customer service.

At its best, customer service can be transformative. It can turn an otherwise bad experience into a great one, and it can turn customers—no matter how upset, disappointed, or frustrated—into brand advocates. At its worst, it can be the death of any business.

Word-of-Mouth Spreads Quickly

Building and nurturing relationships with customers will ultimately help grow your business. It’s always better to be proactive than reactive. Follow up with your customers and ask them for feedback.  A simple survey can not only gauge their experience, but it can also open up an opportunity to correct something that went wrong. 

Monitor what is happening online. Posts, reviews and comments on social media are capable of amplifying and spreading word of mouth faster than a wildfire. From blog sites to complaint boards, if a bad review or public airing of grievances goes viral, the damage to a brand may be irreversible if it isn’t handled properly. Such situations can send companies scrambling to produce an authentic apology or using resources on damage control instead of a marketing campaign and neither is appealing.

Customer Service Is Your Customer’s Last Resort

Consumers contact customer service representatives in order to resolve a problem—not to argue. In fact, a recent study indicates over 85% of consumers will bypass a business altogether and go straight to their bank to resolve any issues. This means if your customers are calling you, you are one step ahead of the game already. If a customer complains to the bank, it can result in a chargeback, which can disrupt your business. 

If a customer contacts you, then you have the opportunity to not only avoid a chargeback but to take it one step further and build customer loyalty.  It’s important to grasp the upshot of this: Those who do contact you provide a window into how to improve your services, better meet their needs and increase the value you can offer. No amount of money or market research will present you with more accurate data.

Two Ears and One Mouth

It’s simple – you have to listen in order to learn. Give your customers something to rave about, not rage about. When customers share their stories with us, they’re not just venting. They’re giving us valuable insight into how we can make our customer experience better. This is precisely why the best customer service teams know how to listen first and then work together to solve the problem.

Top-tier customer service is not just a best practice anymore. It’s what customers demand. Companies that are committed to quality customer care will continue to rise above the rest, while those who don’t will be left behind.

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