A customer is anyone for whom you provide a service or sell a product and the names or terms customers are referred to may differ depending on your market. A customer may be called a client, a purchaser, a buyer, or even a student. A customer who has not yet made a purchase or exchange of service or product may be referred to as a prospect. Regardless of the terminology unique to your business the bottom-line remains the same: your customer if the lifeline of your business. The service that you as the business owner provides will have a direct impact on the success or failure of your online business and so it becomes critical to be sure that you always provide superior customer service. This is a part of building your personal brand.
In building your brand online your goal should be to be recognized as someone who goes over and beyond what is normally required to take care of their customers. I happen to like the term ‘over-deliver.’ No one usually complains if you over-deliver. This is the kind of reputation that will set you apart from the pack and make you stand out. On the other hand using underhand tactics and not keeping your promises is the way to go to experience the death of your business. Pete Blackshaw says it very well in the title of his book, Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World.
If you are in Direct Sales where you sell products, how do you package them? Just for a moment visualize the difference in the reactions of two women receiving the identical item in the mail. The first one got her product unwrapped in a padded brown manila envelope with a copy of her invoice. She’s satisfied as she really needed the product. Now picture the face of another customer. She received her product also in a padded brown manila envelope but the item was wrapped with gift-wrapping and tied with a pretty bow. Inside the envelope was the invoice but also a little card that said “Thank You for your purchase. You make my business grow” or something that’s uniquely you. Can you see the huge smile on her face? This is not just her order. It feels like a special gift even though she’s paying for it. Now which of these customers is likely to feel more special? Which is more likely to remain a loyal customer?
Your level of customer service will be challenged over and over, perhaps by the person who purchased an eBook, read it and decided they wanted a refund. How will you handle that situation? Even if you felt that this was the best eBook ever written on the topic, how you handle the matter in a positive way will demonstrate your desire to provide superior customer service. It will also demonstrate your authenticity and credibility.
While Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World
main focus is on large corporations, the guiding principles can and should be applied to solo entrepreneurs and small business owners who desire to establish trust, authenticity, transparency and demonstrate active listening and responsiveness in their online business.