Article Marketing: 5 Top Customer Service Tips (Especially For An Internet Business)

For a business owner, customer service can be like marmite: you either love it or hate it. Customers can be both challenging and rewarding, but if you pay enough time and attention to your customer service, you can turn a nagging problem into an art form. However, when it comes to an online business, this becomes an even bigger challenge.

If your business is internet-based, you lack the face-to-face experience that can often help establish a rapport. You may be communicating with someone on the other side of the world, and time and distance barriers can put pressure on your business relationship. Communicating via text-based forms such as email and instant messaging can often make it more difficult to convey warmth and friendliness, so providing excellent customer service is a huge challenge.

With that said, I think it is possible for a web-based business to give great customer support. I’d like to share some of my strategies and observations in working with clients, and I welcome any insights that you have about doing online support in your own business.

Here are my top 5 customer service tips:

1. Individual Treatment

Your customers are people, not numbers – so treat them like individuals. Although templates can save you time, the personal approach makes for much better customer service, and only takes a few minutes longer. Use an autoresponder for holding emails, but try to always send a proper, hand-crafted reply.

2. Give Them What They Want

You know your business inside-out – so try to anticipate what they need. You’ll likely get the same questions again and again, so try to predict what your customer wants, and give it to them.

Steering your customers towards a helpful FAQ page can help with this, giving them the feeling of personalised service quickly and easily.

3. Encourage Questions!

Make your customers feel welcome to ask questions or contact you, no matter what the issue or inquiry. Being aloof is off-putting and can seem arrogant. Always give a friendly response to establish a rapport with your customers and make them feel appreciated.

4. Money Doesn’t Matter

Whoever you’re talking to, make sure you treat them with respect and courtesy – whether they’re paying you or not. Even if someone has seemingly no interest in ever becoming a customer, you should still treat them with the same interest and personal attention as a paying client. This improves your reputation overall, and may even lead to a sale.

5. Give Something Back

The best gift is one you’re not expecting, and the same goes for customer service. If you can give your customers something useful without them asking for it, you’ve just given them the best customer service experience they’ll ever have.

Every niche has its online community, so write articles that teach that community valuable information. By investing back into the community in this way, you are producing marketing material for your company, whilst giving your customers something they will love – for free! By sharing your knowledge, your customers will appreciate your insight – and really feel like they’ve got a bargain by benefiting from it.

What about you? Are you a small business owner who is hanging out in the customer support trenches? What are your strategies for providing excellent customer service?

And here’s a fun question: what is the best customer service experience you’ve ever had in your life?