Tag Archives: Customer Service

How to Improve Your Customer Service in Real-Time

Between apps, social media profiles and websites, consumers today have high expectations for customer service. You’ll often hear of customers choosing a business over another because they have an easy to navigate web presence, they are easily found online, or simply because the website is aesthetically pleasing. But another aspect they’ll consider? Real-time customer service, whether it’s through easy online scheduling or a live chat with a representative.

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Category: eBusiness | MyWebsite & Apps
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How Adding LiveChat to Your Website Can Improve Customer Satisfaction

by Olga Kolodynska

What is the most important thing in customer service for you? For 44% of online consumers it is having a live person answer their questions while they are in the middle of an online purchase.  Moreover researchers show, customers are willing to pay more for products if the company provides a great customer service. So why not provide a LiveChat on your website to improve your customer satisfaction?

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Category: MyWebsite & Apps
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A Support Ticket System Improves Your Customers’ Experience

One of the most effective ways to stay on top of customer service requests is through the use of an online support ticket system: it manages everything from the customer’s initial contact to the final step where their question is answered or issue resolved to all parties’ satisfaction.

osTicket is a free and open-source customer support ticket system, packing in all the functionality you could possibly need. You can add it to your 1&1-hosted website via the 1&1 App Center.

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Category: MyWebsite & Apps
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10 Online Customer Service Mistakes that are Crippling your Business


In order for a company to be successful, great customer service is a necessity. Both for businesses and in the eyes of consumers, customer service has the power to completely mold the reputation of a business. However, customer service has grown far past the idea of a simple smile or warm “hello” on the phone. The role of the Internet has changed the game for businesses wanting to stay on top.

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Category: Net Culture
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Three Elements to a Social Customer Service Strategy

If you operate a social media presence for your business, you may have noticed that some of your customers have turned to those channels as a means of finding answers to questions. Because of how easy it is to communicate through these social platforms, more and more businesses have found it necessary to develop a social customer service strategy. In today’s article, we will outline some of the most common elements to this type of strategy as you develop a plan for your business.

Monitor Conversations. Depending on how large of a scope of your social media presence is, this can be managed in a handful of different ways. For smaller organizations, it might be possible to manually check on each of your social channels periodically and respond to each comment without investing too much time. However, as your social community grows, you might want to think about investing in a team of social support personnel, or one of the several paid monitoring solutions that exist.

Respond to all types of comments. As your customers reach out to your business on Facebook, Twitter, etc. you will begin to see a range of positive and negative comments. Some businesses tend to only focus on one type, depending on what their communication goals are. For instance, they may choose to only thank customers for positive comments and ignore those that are upset; or they may try to rectify complaints without thanking the more positive customers. Don’t ignore any large segment of your audience. Use the opportunity to turn a negative response into a positive experience, and to encourage your positive commenters to keep reaching out.

Respond efficiently. For one, you want to answer your audience as fast as you can helpfully respond. Don’t leave a question hanging unanswered for several days, because in that time your potential customer could have switched to one of your competitors for a faster response. Evaluate each comment you receive, craft your response carefully, and respond in a timely manner. Additionally, if there is a request that requires a longer response, or a response that includes private customer information, ask the commenter if you can talk to them in a more private medium such as email or phone.

Photo Credit: ©istockphoto.com/stratol

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Category: Tips
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Using Social Media for Customer Service

Actively listening to conversations on social media is essential for customer service. Using social media for customer support is not the ideal situation, but is necessary in today’s digital world. Customers will often turn to your small business Facebook page or Twitter whether they have had a negative or positive experience. We discussed last week how to monitor your social media accounts for mentions, here is some information on how to respond to those posts.

In either case, you must respond to every customer who reaches out to your business through social media. This is necessary because it makes customers feel important and shows that you are not ignoring them. By responding to their status or post you are letting them know that you hear their voice. Try to respond in a timely manner.

When you reply, use a tweet or public post at first and then ask the customer to follow up with a direct message. This gives you the opportunity to be transparent while not disclosing the entire conversation. You probably can’t solve every customer issue in 140 characters.

Another important aspect to responding to customer support tweets is to be personable. Say thank you to customers for their input and apologize when necessary. You don’t want your response to seem automatically generated or robotic. Use your voice and a unique response for every person. End your tweets with your name to make the experience more personal.

By responding to customer complaints through social media, it gives your business transparency. Potential customers may see that your business is having some problems but they will recognize that you are taking the proper steps to fix the issue.

Customer service through social media allows your business the opportunity to give your customers a voice, insight on how to improve, and information to plan for the future.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/atakan

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Category: Tips
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Cater to Your Online Customers

As a small business owner, you most likely know the best ways to cater to your customers in a store front or office, however, online shoppers are unique, and may require an adapted and specialized approach. If you feel like you aren’t making the best effort to cater to your online customer base, follow these tips:

Effective Website Design – Today’s consumers are more connected than ever before and they expect websites to be optimally designed. Ensure that your website is easy to use and organized. It is important that anything a customer is looking for can easily be found, so keep descriptions detailed but not too fluffy or wordy when describing products.

Customer Service – Creating a personal and genuine experience for every customer is still a priority online, but you have fewer opportunities through your website or social media profile to show your customer service expertise. If customers present you with questions, comments, concerns or complaints, it is important to address them immediately and work towards a solution. If you present a well-rounded customer service approach to your business, clients will notice and come back again for the same treatment.

Utilize Email – Give customers the option to sign up for email newsletters on your website and when placing an order. You can utilize their email addresses for email marketing, news, sales and events. However, avoid sending multiple emails in one week. Always provide an easy opt-out option as well.

Social Media – Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter contribute to how your business is viewed online. Set up your profiles on social media with the same detailed information that is present on your website. Use social media to form a personal connection or relationship with your community of customers. Genuine interaction is the quickest way to give customers a positive perspective of your business.

Update Often – Failing to update your business website frequently could deter customers from visiting the site again in the future. It is important to show customers through your online presence that you are dedicated and constantly working towards a better product or service.

Payment Methods – You want the payment process to be as easy and painless as possible. Offer multiple payment options for online ordering.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/andrewjohnson

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Category: Tips
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Encourage Positive Reviews for Your Business

Last week we posted an article about managing your online reputation. No matter what kind of business you operate, if you have a presence on the Internet, there will be users talking about you. It is important to monitor the conversations about your brand, and it is also important to know how to respond to and prevent negative feedback.

One of the best ways for preventing negative feedback is to encourage positive reviews from your happiest customers. In this new mobile era, customers rely on online reviews before making a purchase decision more than ever. If a customer searches online for one of your products, a positive review could take them that final step before deciding to give you their business. Your happiest customers might create positive reviews without any encouragement. But besides your most loyal following, how can you get positive reviews?

Don’t be afraid to ask. It can never hurt to simply ask your customers to leave a positive review. If you manage an online store, this can be a very simple process. For example, after a customer orders something from your website, include a link that invites them to write a review for that product. Even if only a fraction of your customers follow through on it, that is still more than you started with. The only time it can hurt to ask is if you do it too much, for example through email, where customers may consider it spam.

Publish your customers’ reviews. There may be third-party websites that also have reviews for your business, but a good way to show your customers that you care about what they have to say is to allow reviews on your own website – even the negative ones. If there are negative reviews, you can reach out directly to alleviate any problems that a particular customer has, and future customers will see that you work hard to make their experience more enjoyable.

Use social media. As more and more small and medium businesses are establishing social media pages, more and more customers will start turning to them to see what other users are saying. Make sure you are monitoring the conversations about your brand in social media, and if you come across someone saying positive things, ask them if they would like to write a more official review. As always, if there are negative comments, you would want to reach out to those customers as well.

Customer reviews can go a long way towards establishing a positive online reputation, or course-correcting an existing negative reputation. Take advantage of the good things customers have to say about your business –and correct the negative things – and you will attract more customers.

Photo Credit: © isyste – Fotolia.com

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Category: Tips
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Three Rules of Reputation Management

As a successful business owner, you know that the internet can be a great way to get in front of your target audience and eventually increase your revenue and improve the bottom line. With the advent of easy-to-design websites, and more and more social networks popping up every year, the opportunities to communicate with your audience are more numerous than ever before. Obviously this has its benefits from a business communication standpoint, but it is important to understand the drawbacks as well. For how simple it can be to market to and communicate with your audience online, it can be just as easily used against you in the form of negative comments and damaging your reputation. The best way to avoid gaining a negative reputation online is preventing one as best as possible, and learning how to understand negative feedback. Follow these three rules with regards to your online reputation.

The best way to sustain a positive reputation for our business is to do your best to manage a respectable business to start with. No business owner plans to produce a poor-quality product or service, but it can still happen. Evaluate your company’s product line, and especially its customer service department. Are there shortcomings that need to be addressed? The best way to avoid negative feedback is to solve your customers’ issues before they even have them.

After ensuring that you have done everything you can to build a solid and reputable brand for your business, learn how to take advantage of each online outlet, and be prepared to spend some time responding to customer inquiries. Even the best companies receive complaints from time to time, but it is how those complaints are dealt with that affect the overall reputation. Don’t just simply ignore or delete the hard questions: respond, apologize if necessary, and be proactive in solving your customers’ problems. Even if they initially had negative feedback, the fact that you’ve helped them can change their mind.

Stay ahead of your potential business problems as much as possible. If you sell a product that can have confusing set-up or maintenance issues, create content for your website or social media channels that can provide answers when your customers inevitably start looking for them, for example in the form of an FAQ page or video tutorial.

Much of the negative feedback that a business receives is due to the lack of support for their issues. By doing your best to provide them with the information they need, your small business will garner more respect from the audience, and a greater reputation for future customers.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/bholland

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Category: Tips
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